February 8, 2023
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria!
Chamber CEO Bruce Williams stands above the sign that welcomes guests to the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce office on Fort Street. The sign, originally crafted more than 100 years ago, is back in place after undergoing gentle repairs. Thanks to Garside Signs and Displays for revitalizing this iconic artifact and thanks to Graphic FX Signworks for gently putting it back up in time for The Chamber's 160th anniversary tomorrow.
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Throne Speech prioritizes housing, safe communities
The tradition of a throne speech is a chance to embrace the pomp and ceremony of our form of government as well a chance to hear about the priorities are for legislators as they get back to work.

The speech, delivered by Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin, promised help for British Columbians struggling with higher costs as well as plans to increase housing supply, improve health care and make communities safer.

"I was at the speech and it was good to hear directly from our elected officials about how their priorities align with chamber members," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "We'll keep working to make sure the voice of business is heard, and I'm looking forward to seeing the provincial budget when it comes out on Feb. 28."

A few of the throne speech highlights included:
  • increasing homes and services near transit hubs
  • investing in new hospitals, a new medical school, better cancer care, substance treatment and recovery services
  • getting violent offenders off the streets
  • expanding low-cost clean-energy solutions.
Government House: Member since 2020
BC moves to make Sept. 30 a provincial stat holiday
The Chamber supports the provincial government's effort to make National Truth and Reconciliation Day on Sept. 30 a statutory holiday.

"We know statutory holidays directly impact employers but, to their immense credit, chamber members have said they believe in honouring the resilience of Indigenous communities in the face of intergenerational trauma," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said, noting the solemn tradition of wearing orange shirts on Sept. 30 has helped raise awareness of Indigenous issues. "Taking action on reconciliation is in everyone's best interest as we build a more inclusive economy."

The province announced the proposed legislation yesterday, though many collective agreements in BC have recognized the federal holiday since 2021.
Harris Green proposal would add 1,500 homes
A transformative housing development is going to the City of Victoria for approvals this week. The proposal for Harris Green Village includes 1,500 suites and more than 100,000 square-feet of commercial and retail space.

The neighbourhood, adjacent to downtown Victoria, is considered an up-and-coming-area of the city. The proposal by Starlight Investments goes to Public Hearing on Feb. 9, for council to consider an amendment to the Official Community Plan and rezoning for 1045 Yates St. and the 900-block, as well as a development permit for Phase 1.

"We know our region needs housing supply and this is a significant opportunity to create much needed rental homes in an area that has a lot of appeal," said Chamber CEO Bruce Williams, who is speaking at the hearing via video on behalf of the need for housing.
Starlight Investments: Member since 2023
Starlight Investments: Chamber Champion since 2023
City of Victoria: Member since 1863
Public sector stability vital to region's economy
The Chamber's top advocacy priority for at least the last five years has focused on helping employers find and keep workers. It's a complex problem that affects many layers of our economy. Housing, child care and affordability are key and real progress is being made to find solutions.

However, everyone who cares about our region's long-term prosperity should be concerned about a proposal that could upend a cornerstone of Greater Victoria's economy. The province is being pitched a plan that could mean fewer public sector workers downtown, and potentially see jobs shipped out of our region.

“The fact that people living anywhere in B.C. can apply for these jobs means that yes they can stay home and work that would create some prosperity in other places but it doesn’t help the circumstance here when the economy has largely been framed around government workers working downtown in office buildings,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told CHEK News.

The Chamber is urging the province to consider the full implications the proposal would have on the stability of BC's capital city. Speaking to the Times Colonist, Williams said "there is a long-standing synergy" between many family-supporting businesses that have been built to service government workers.
“The public sector is a ­cornerstone of our economy and communities depend on that ­stability,” Williams said in in the article.

The Chamber is listening to our members about how their business could be impacted by this plan, which contrasts with federal government efforts to increase productivity in its workforce by having employees back in office more often.

Share your thoughts with The Chamber at [email protected].
Next week is Chamber Week!
February 13 - 17, 2023 is Chamber Week. This is an opportunity for Chamber Members to celebrate community and build relationships in Greater Victoria.
Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #ChamberWeekVicBC and by tagging @VictoriaChamber.
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Chamber Week Webinar
Attracting, Developing & Engaging Talent: The Changing Workforce
Join The Chamber and Royal Roads University on February 16th for a panel discussion on responding to changing workforce realities.

In this session, we will explore trends and developments that are shaping today’s workforce and how businesses can more effectively attract, develop, and engage talent.
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Make sure to register even if you are unable to attend. Everyone registered will receive the recording.
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March Emerge Connector
You're invited to the first ever Emerge Connector. Make authentic connections and have a great time, all in one inclusive, casual and fun event. Come for the connections and stay for the game. Cheer on your Victoria Royals as they battle against the Prince George Cougars in one of their last games of the season.

Casual networking in the Molson Fan Deck Club Lounge will take place before the game from 5-7pm. Complimentary premium club game tickets will be provided to the first 75 Emerge Connector guests, with additional tickets available at a discounted rate of $20 for family and friends to join you for the game.
March Business Mixer
Join us for cocktails and community. This vibrant, after-hours business social event provides an excellent opportunity for members and future members to meet face-to-face, establishing or renewing valuable business relationships. Join us for an evening of hors d'oeuvres and refreshments at our March Business Mixer hosted by Amica Senior Lifestyles (Amica Jubilee House)
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Feb. 14: Getting rail back on track on the Island
Join The Chamber for a discussion on Feb. 14 with the Vancouver Island Transportation Corridor Coalition and Island Corridor Foundation on the work done towards identifying the need for, and public interest in, reinstating Island Rail Service.
"The provincial government is quickly approaching a critical decision point and must provide an answer on the future of the Island corridor by March 14," said coalition representative Paul Robinson, noting that reinstating Island rail service could help the Island's tourism economy and get more vehicles off the roads. "VITCC believes that rail is, by far, the most equitable mode of ground-based transportation as there are no age, health, ability, income impediments, and no requirements for vehicle operator ownership, licensing, and associated expenses."

The Chamber will be leading the discussion on rail as part of our role in The Island Chamber Advocacy Alliance, connecting business across the Island.
This free, virtual event is open to members of Chambers across Vancouver Island.
Island Corridor Foundation: Member since 2020
Pro Chamber: Local Love this Valentine’s Day
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, finding that perfect gift may seem like a daunting task.

Luckily, Chamber members are here to ensure you have a romantic day while supporting local businesses:

  • Buy a bouquet of flowers to brighten someone’s day.
  • Spend a night away from home relaxing in a local hotel or spa.
  • Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner with your sweetheart. Order from a restaurant or choose a home-cooked meal. Be sure to pair with a nice bottle of wine!
  • Have a delicious ice-cream date and enjoy the refreshing flavours.
  • Sign up for a dance class and express yourself in new and exciting ways
  • Make a handcrafted note or small gift.
  • Surprise someone with box of local candy (or enjoy a box for yourself).
Does your business have a special Valentine’s Day offer that you would like to share with fellow Chamber members?

Submit a General or Member to Member offer on The Chamber’s website here.

More than ever, it’s important to show love and kindness to one another. Whether you’re spending the day with a special someone, or taking the opportunity to pamper yourself, The Chamber wishes you a happy Valentine’s Day!
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Healthy Habits and Fostering Inclusion
Active living is good for our physical and mental health, and — as you’ll find out in this Chamber Chat — it’s also a valuable tool for building diversity and inclusion.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams speaks with Kabir Hosein of Sport for Life about the benefits of staying active.
Sport for Life: Member Since 2019
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Find the perfect match for your team
Now is the perfect time to strengthen your professional relationships.

If you’re looking to grow your team this February, find the perfect match on The Chamber’s job board.

Attract the best workers by posting a 30, 60, or 90 day job listing. Tap into the Google Jobs Network and candidates that are eager to work for a Chamber member.

As an exclusive member benefit, use the code INTRO2023 at checkout to receive a free 30-day listing.

If you have any questions or need help uploading your job, please email [email protected]
Member News
Nooner Shaggin’ Wagon for Feb. 14? Oh, behave!

This Valentine’s Day, if you’re hoping to make a fun memory, look no further than Hotel Zed’s Shaggin Wagon. For $69 you and a guest can enjoy three hours in a 1978 Chevy G20 and enjoy “the most shag carpet you've ever seen in a van”.
Exciting promotions like this are commonplace for CEO Mandy Farmer, this year’s Chamber Award of Distinction recipient.
Accent Inns | Hotel Zed: Member since 1992
GVHA announces next CEO

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has announced their next CEO. Robert Lewis-Manning, who joins the team in March, brings more than 20 years of experience in global marine transportation and building high-performing teams. 
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: Member since 2003
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International mag votes RBC best bank in Caribbean

RBC has been named as the Caribbean’s best private bank by Global Finance Magazine. RBC earned the title of best private bank in The Bahamas, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. RBC received the accolade from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts.
RBC Financial Group - Commercial Financial Services, V. I. South: Member since 1962
RBC Financial Group - Commercial Financial Services, V. I. South: Chamber Champion since 2020
Dumplings for a good cause

For the third consecutive year, Dumpling Drop is donating $1 from every bag of dumplings to the Alzheimer Society of BC. this February. The company was created after one of its founders, Toom, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 62. Toom’s neurosurgeon highlighted the benefits of fine-motor activity, thus rolling dumplings became a full-time endeavor.

Dumpling Drop: Member since 2021

Alzheimer Society of B.C.: Member since 2019
Douglas Magazine features Chamber's Vice-Chair

For the February / March issue of Douglas Magazine, Chamber board vice-chair Christina Clarke is featured on the cover. Clarke is recognized for her work as the new Executive Director of the Indigenous Prosperity Centre, an initiative created by the South Island Prosperity Partnership. Clarke has served on The Chamber’s board of directors since 2018.
Douglas Magazine: Member since 2004
South Island Prosperity Partnership: Member since 2017
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