February 16, 2022
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
Chamber Week is an opportunity for Chamber Members to celebrate community and build relationships in Greater Victoria. Find out how we're celebrating.
Good news as feds, province lift restrictions
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce welcomes news from the federal and provincial governments that will boost business in our region.

“I’m not much of a dancer. However, I think many of us are doing a little jig — either in our mind or literally — upon hearing this news,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. “The sun is shining a little brighter and the birds are singing a little sweeter today. We are all ready to soar after a long winter of doing what we needed to keep each other safe. Let’s keep moving forward and respect each other as we find our footing and our own pace as we begin to step a little lighter.”

The federal government’s announcement on Tuesday will make it easier for visitors to travel to our destination and enjoy all of the attractions, goods and experiences we have to offer. Starting Feb. 28, fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Canada from any country will face easier testing requirements. As well, Transport Canada will allow international flights to return to more Canadian airports starting Feb. 28.

Also, BC’s Provincial Health Officer has updated the timeline for easing restrictions in British Columbia. This is great news for the events industry, fitness centres, dance clubs and organizations such as sports teams that depend on ticket sales.

The province is lifting capacity restrictions on gatherings and events; exercise and fitness; and bars, clubs and restaurants as of 11:59 p.m., Feb. 16.

For now, business will still be required to have COVID-19 Safety Plans. As well, masks and the BC Vaccine Pass are still required in indoor public spaces.
ICBC launching online insurance renewals
Some big changes are coming to the auto insurance industry in BC. On Monday, ICBC announced that customers with policies expiring on or after May 1, can renew online. The system will actually be available March 17 for people who want to renew early.

Also starting May 1, drivers will no longer need to display an updated insurance decal on their licence plate. BC is expanding the Automated Licence Plate Recognition program, which helps law enforcement detect unlawful, unlicensed and uninsured drivers.
Reminder to have your say on federal budget
How do you think the federal government can help Canada's economy remain robust and resilient in the years ahead?

Now is the time to engage with federal decision makers, who are looking to the business community for help understanding the private sector's challenges and opportunities. The Chamber is preparing a submission for pre-budget consultations. We're also working with the national chamber network to amplify the voice of business.

Let us know what you think by emailing before Feb. 18, or answering a questionnaire by Feb. 25.
Last chance to register!
February Virtual Business Mixer to the Arts
The Arts and Entertainment industry gives energy and passion to life here in Greater Victoria. Throughout the pandemic, these organizations have continued to innovate and provide us with memorable experiences and unique performances during difficult times.
Join us to support and celebrate arts and entertainment! Connect with a diverse group of business leaders and make valuable connections from the comfort of your own home.
Let us help you stay connected. You choose who to meet and when to wander to the next table chatting with business professionals like yourself, establishing or renewing valuable business relationships.
Sponsored by:
Thurs., Feb. 17 | 5-6 PM | Online
What's ahead for Budget 2022
A conversation with BC Finance Minister Honourable Selina Robinson
As British Columbia looks to the future, hear from the Honourable Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance for British Columbia, on plans to provide additional supports to
business and families and implementing new initiatives as we make our way towards economic recovery.

Minister Robinson will provide an overview of the recently unveiled budget and an update on the state of BC’s economy. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear directly from the province on how the 2022 Budget will impact your business and your family.
Network with other attendees from 11:30 am - 12 pm and hear from Hon. Selina Robinson and Chamber CEO Bruce Williams on Budget 2022 from 12 - 1pm.
Sponsored by:
Wed., Feb. 23 | 11:30 AM - 1 PM
Virtual via Airmeet
Supported by:
Media partner:
Mark your calendar for March events
Return to In-Person Events - To Your Health

We will be taking the appropriate precautions as directed by the current PHO to protect the health of all of our guests and staff supporting the event. Please review our COVID-19 Safety Protocols before attending to understand how we can work together to keep everyone healthy.
Save the date!
March Business Mixer
With a little bit of the luck o' the Irish we look forward to welcoming you back to in person events with our March Mixer (fingers crossed). 

We have a few ideas in the works for this event, so register today to save the date and check back often! You can bet there will be a green theme in honour of St. Patrick's Day, with some fun and of course mixing mixed in.
Thurs., Mar. 17 | 4:30 - 6:30 PM
Location TBA
Create new connections
Member Networking Breakfast
The Chamber Member Networking Breakfast is a must-attend event for new and existing members. Facilitated by The Chamber, attendees will connect with nearly everyone in the room. Try it out for yourself and grow your business!

After breakfast and casual networking, The Chamber Team will take the floor to facilitate introductions and organize guests into roundtables. At each roundtable, guests will have a chance to introduce themselves and their businesses in a 60 second elevator speech; once everyone has had a chance to connect, it's time to meet an entirely new group of people at a different roundtable.
New fund supports restart of major business events
With recently announced dates for returning in-person events to full capacity, tourism businesses can begin work on attracting major business events and conferences in our region. To help, the province recently announced the Business Events and Conferences Restart Fund, which will provide up to $5 million this fiscal year and up to $3 million next year to help restart business travel.

The money will help destination management organizations, such as Destination Greater Victoria, which will be able to submit proposals to access the new funds.

The province also announced $1.3 million to fund dedicated human resources specialists for two years to attract more workers to the tourism industry.
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
Innovation key to new affordable homes for sale
Innovation led by business is helping create more than 100 affordable homes that will enable people to live, work and invest in our region. A partnership between BC Housing, Chard Development and the provincial government has reserved 104 units from the Haven project in the 1100-block of Johnson St.

Qualifying buyers must have a combined household income no greater than $118,440 for homes with fewer than two bedrooms and an income no greater than $168,310 for homes with two bedrooms or more. Buyers will be required to make the home their primary residence for the first five years.

BC Housing will administer a no-interest, no monthly payment second mortgage for all 104 buyers to support their purchase.

“As a long-standing, family-owned developer, we take our role in the fight to improve housing affordability seriously,” Chard Development president and CEO Byron Chard said in the news release.
BC Housing: Member since 2021
Chard Development Ltd: Member since 2008
Controversial Skilled Trades Act becomes law
The provincial government has passed legislation bringing in the controversial Skilled Trades BC Act. The hope for the plan is that it will address critical labour shortages, but there are some serious concerns being voiced by industry.

The current plan is focused on skilled trades certification that "will require people to register as an apprentice or be a certified journeyperson to work in one of the 10 initial mechanical, electrical and automotive trades."

Good intentions are admirable but there are structural issues that likely need to be addressed if the program is to succeed. We need more investment in trades training so there are spaces available for people who want to learn skilled trades.

And the business community needs to be included in the conversation so that innovations being used by industry are part of the strategy. We all share the goal of building up our skilled workforce and don't need inefficient bureaucracy to impede progress from being made.
Clarification: View Royal adds two new councillors
The Town of View Royal voted Feb. 2 on increasing the size of its council from five to seven. The addition will add about $44,000 in annual costs, or about 0.2% to the municipality's budget. Mayor David Screech was in favour of the extra seats, saying they will allow for more diversity on council. The motion passed by a vote of 3-2.

An incorrect headline was used in an article on this story in last week's BizNews. We apologize for any confusion we may have caused.
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Unique Issues on Vancouver Island
All businesses on Vancouver Island face unique challenges, but communities across the Island have their own economic issues particular to their region.

This Chamber Chat looks at those unique Island issues with Comox Valley Chamber CEO Dianne Hawkins and Greater Nanaimo Chamber CEO Kim Smythe.
Special thanks to our series sponsor:
Black Excellence in Greater Victoria
In honour of Black History Month, The Chamber would like to highlight two of our Board Directors who have accomplished incredible feats in their industries: James Gatsi and Richard Micheals.

We asked James and Richard for their insights on the following topics of Black excellence. The Chamber is proud to have a diverse staff, board of directors, and membership, and we believe amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups is essential to building good business and great community for all.
James Gatsi is a passionate entrepreneur originally from Harare, Zimbabwe, and his background is in information technology services. He is an alumni and former employee of the University of Victoria. Today, he is the founder and CEO of CL Web Developers.

Black representation is important to business here in Greater Victoria because…
  • "Black people have contributed so much to Victoria's community since its founding in 1858. Now more than ever Black entrepreneurship is flourishing, and we need to make more opportunities for Black communities to thrive here."
As a Black business owner, I pride myself in…
  • "Sheer determination. It's a blessing and curse, but I wouldn't be here otherwise. From what I know, most Black entrepreneurs start their business journey with no capital investment or family investment."

We can do more to celebrate Black excellence by…
  • "Supporting Black businesses and community organizations. If you don't do anything else for Black History Month, donate and reach out to Black-led community organizations. They are already doing so much to celebrate and foster Black excellence in our community."
"Richard Michaels is the president of MACCRIM Solutions - Land Development Consultants Ltd, a land development consultant company specializing in assisting investors, developers and landowners to facilitate and create a vision of well-planned, sustainable, land-use developments.

Black representation is important to business here in Greater Victoria because…
  • “Small businesses and entrepreneurs have been long-time wealth builders for generations. By supporting more Black-owned businesses, you can help create more opportunities for meaningful savings, property ownership, credit building, and generational wealth for black communities in Greater Victoria.”
As a Black business owner, I pride myself in…
  • “Knowing why my work matters and understanding the importance of my contributions by helping my clients in achieving successful outcomes.”
We can do more to celebrate Black excellence by…
  • “Providing Black businesses with platforms of visibility. Supporting black-owned companies only happens when we know about them and make it a point to feature them too. A simple yet impactful action is to patronize black-owned small businesses and share the businesses with your social circles, friends, family, and cohorts. The more people who are aware of the opportunity to buy from a hardworking black-owned business, the better. Also, listen or read The 1619 Project by the New York Times.“
Events Around Town for Black History Month
February marks Black History Month and a chance to learn more about the stories, struggles and accomplishments of Black Canadians. Here's a look at some events happening around Greater Victoria.
What will your Random Act of Kindness be?
Thursday, Feb. 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day! We all could use some extra positivity in our lives, and The Chamber would like to encourage you to make a positive impact wherever you go.

Looking for ideas? Follow a few of these tips inspired by The Victoria Foundation
  • Buy coffee for the person in line behind you either in-store or at the drive through.
  • Bake cookies for your coworkers with ingredients from a Chamber member grocer
  • Donate food, money supplies to a local non-profit
  • Donate books to the library
  • Let your staff leave work a little early.
  • Leave a positive google review for a great local business

Looking for more ways to brighten someone’s day? Download the Random Acts of Kindness Day Poster From The Victoria Foundation and spread kindness in your community. Children under the age of 12 also have the opportunity to colour-in this image to win a $50 gift card and a $100 donation made in their name to a registered charity of their choice.
Celebrating our Chamber Champions
Showcase your industry in 2022

Find the best talent in your industry with The Chamber’s job board.

When you post your next job, be sure to add your "industry type" to ensure your job can be found by the right candidates. The list of industry types are constantly being updated, and can be modified to highlight any industry. Don’t see your industry listed? Send us an email!

Also remember to add a specific category for the job in the position title. From Admin and HR to Marketing and Comms positions, you can see all 14 categories here.

If you have any questions about the job board or need assistance posting, email
Member News
CIBC launches Black Entrepreneurship Program

CIBC has launched a $15-million business loan program created for Black entrepreneurs. The Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) provides loans between $5,000 and $250,000 to Black business owners across the country. The program is designed to allow for more generous loans and amortization periods to ensure inclusive access.
CIBC - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: Member since 1962
CIBC - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: Chamber Champion since 2020
New CEO at Royal BC Museum

The Royal BC Museum has announced Alicia Dubois as their new CEO. Dubois, who starts Feb. 28, has years of experience with developing cross-cultural initiatives in companies across Canada. Her experience as an executive, including her work as co-chair of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, are qualities the board hopes will help lead the museum into the future.
Royal BC Museum: Member since 1994
Listen to an NHL pro

Connect Hearing has added an NHL All-Star to their roster. Darryl Sittler — whose long career included time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings — is taking part in an awareness campaign to reduce the stigma of hearing loss. Sittler visited Connect Hearing when he started experiencing hearing loss, and now wants Canadians to know the importance of getting routine hearing tests.
Connect Hearing: Member since 1980
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you
Sports Rent sold to new owners

After 32 years, Sports Rent has been sold. Shelley Jones and Doug Woodrow purchased the business from Bill and Sarah Tinney. Sports Rent has provided Greater Victoria with thousands of skis, snowboards, bikes and more over the years. The business will will continue to provide equipment to outdoor enthusiasts.
Sports Rent: Member since 1989
DVBA receives online upgrade

The Downtown Victoria Business Association has unveiled their new website. Created by DesignCoast Creative, the website has been in development for more than six months. The site features upgraded navigation and an introductory video on the homepage.
Downtown Victoria Business Association: Member since 2007
DesignCoast Creative: Member since 2019
Empress achieves spotlight for romance

Although Valentine’s Day has come and gone, you can celebrate one of the world’s most romantic getaways right here year-round. The Fairmont Empress has been ranked among the world’s top 25 Most Romantic Hotels. The list, featuring hotels from 18 countries across four continents, recognized the Fairmont Empress for its coastal luxury, elegance and extraordinary setting.
Fairmont Empress: Member since 1962
Local books for kids across BC

Russell Books has teamed up with Parametric Pro Consulting to help young readers across BC get the learning supplies they need. More than $2,000 worth of children’s books were collected during the initiative, which will benefit elementary schools throughout the province.
Russell Books: Member since 1999
Parametric Pro Consulting: Member since 2020
Member to Member discounts
Members can post Coupons and Discounts free of charge here.
Welcome to our newest members!