Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
June 30, 2021
Starting July 1, we can begin to experience the end of the pandemic. The provincial state of emergency is over, and many of the restrictions that have defined life for the past months are no longer in place.

"Immunization is the key to stopping the spread of COVID and variants," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "However, we still need to exercise patience and kindness with each other. Some of us will take time before feeling truly safe, and we need to respect that. If a business requires you to wear a mask, it's easy to do so and show support for each other."

The Chamber also encourages everyone to make sure they book their second vaccination appointment. We can't risk the work done so far by not getting fully immunized as soon as possible.

Check out this week's Chamber Chat for more on what businesses need to know about requiring masks, and how to ensure the safety of your employees and customers.
Message from the CEO: Chamber launching program to include more Indigenous-owned businesses
On the cusp of Canada Day, I would like to share news with you. As of our Board Meeting yesterday, The Chamber has a plan in place to craft next steps in Economic Reconciliation. There was an acknowledgement that our mission of "working together to build good business and great community" isn’t possible until it is true for all.

One of the roles of The Chamber is building relationships between businesses, between communities and across governments. First Nations have not had full access to the economic prosperity we have created in their traditional territories. It is beyond time for this to change.

We have a multi-pronged approach to provide Indigenous-owned businesses with a voice and support through The Chamber. Over the next several months we plan to:
  • strike a Task Force with a focus on Indigenous inclusion and participation in The Chamber community. We are fortunate to have a strong Indigenous leader already on our Board and Executive in Christina Clarke, but we need a diversity of voices and guidance to direct us on what is most needed to assist business in the Nations; 
  • work with the Canadian Chamber on issues that create an unfair regulatory environment, such as barriers to access working capital; and,
  • provide a five-year program of reduced rates – beginning with a free first year – to make it easier for any business with 51% Indigenous ownership to be a part of The Chamber. The program will be fully rolling out in September.

As an organization founded in 1863, we are part of the history of our community. Regrettably, we need to acknowledge that means we share responsibility for the suppression of Indigenous peoples. Our next steps are to move forward together in a positive direction.

We will be putting together the Task Force in the next month or so. If you are interested or would like to recommend someone, please reach out to me.

We thank you for being part of The Chamber and for being part of a change for the better.
Bruce Williams, Chief Executive Officer
Canada Day a time to reflect, plan for better days
Canada Day is different this year. As we celebrate the best of our country, we are also facing up to a history that is shamefully distant from the Canada we want. Looking into our dark past is difficult. There is a sense of sorrow at a time when we are used to celebration.

The Chamber is committed to carrying as much burden as we can to try and correct the mistakes of the past. It's the right thing to do, and we encourage all Canadians to help lift the weight that has far too long been put on Indigenous people.

Millions of us have arrived on this land since 1867, escaping oppression or seeking a chance to build better a better life for our families. We can no longer ignore that part of the cost of those new opportunities came at the expense of the people who were already here.

This Canada Day, let's again embrace the best of what it means to be Canadian. We can open our arms, our hearts and ears. Reconciliation will take time. We must be patient and we must build into our lives the changes necessary for a better, more inclusive future.
Nominations now open for the 2022-2023 Board
Each fall, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce holds an election for new board members. Each board member is elected for a two-year term with staggered renewal dates. This year, four (4) board positions are up for election and we're looking for great nominees like you.
Our influential board works with decision-makers at all levels of government to support our region’s businesses and maximize the value of membership with The Chamber.

Click here for key dates, the nomination process and the voting procedure. Download your application, including a request for a bio and photo for the election ballot — as well as a form to gather your nomination supporters. Additional questions can be directed here.

Nominations close Thursday, July 29 at noon.
Plans for RapidBus service to West Shore announced
A new rapid transit bus will begin running between the West Shore and downtown Victoria in the next three years, BC Transit announced today.
The Victoria Regional RapidBus Implementation Strategy was created from 2020's South Island Transportation Strategy. After the first "RapidBus" route is established, the plan is to add the service to the Saanich Peninsula and the University of Victoria.

The goal of RapidBus is to provide an option for commuters that is faster than driving, while also being comfortable and reliable.

Efficient and convenient transportation is a key advocacy priority for The Chamber as a way to connect more people to potential employers in the region.
BC Transit: Member since 1999
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
What employers need to know with masks no longer mandatory
People refusing to wear masks throughout the pandemic have caused added stress to the general public and to the front line employees who must manage their defiance.

In the latest Chamber Chat, CEO Bruce Williams speaks with WorkSafeBC about the management of this issue, and Charlotte Salomon, partner with McConnan, Bion, O'Connor & Peterson, who speaks about the legality of it all, health regulation vs law.
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
WorkSafeBC: Member since 2006
McConnan, Bion, O'Connor & Peterson: Member since 1976
Are you looking for your next opportunity in event management?
The Chamber invites you to lead our team and help build out 60 to 80 events annually as our Events Manager.

The Chamber’s Vision is to be the region’s most diverse and influential business association. We are committed to being an inclusive workplace, building a respectful team that values the diversity of the people we hire and serve.

Days at The Chamber are lively with lots of variety in both projects and opportunities to grow your skills and network. For more information on what we’re looking for in our next Events Manager, click here.
Take time to reflect this Canada Day

Innovative partnerships and updated traditions will help people in Greater Victoria celebrate Canada Day, while reflecting on the values of our country and the work still needed to ensure it is inclusive for all.

The Times Colonist is organizing a live Indigenous Canadian Flag featuring photos of Greater Victoria residents. Provided by The Flag Shop, the design was created by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Curtis Wilson.

Around the region on Canada Day, the City of Victoria will host a broadcast focused on Canadian history with guidance from local Lekwungen people. The Town of View Royal will distribute free red maple tree kits and buttons. You can also tune in to CHEK News on July 1 at 8 pm for a pre-recorded musical performance from the Mary Winspear Centre.

We hope this Canada day gives you and your family a time to reflect, and the opportunity to support the great local businesses that make up our communities and country. The essence of being Canadian is we are stronger together.

The Chamber offices will be closed on July 1st and 2nd.
Member News
Seed and Stone opens in downtown Victoria

Seed and Stone, a cannabis dispensary in partnership with the Songhees Nation, has officially opened their first downtown Victoria location.

Located at 901 Gordon St., the space was designed by Western Interior Design Group Ltd. to create a welcoming, nature-focused space featuring Indigenous designs.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam cut the ceremonial ribbon (pictured above).
Songhees Nation: Member since 2017
Western Interior Design Group Ltd: Member since 2013
Slam dunk for the Olympic qualifiers

In great news for fans of live events, spectators will be allowed at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, hosted by We The West Basketball Festival, starting July 1.

With 10% capacity, ticket holders will be able to watch the games in person at Save On Foods Memorial Arena, while adhering to social distancing protocols. Fans are also able to watch the games live in the Strathcona Hotel.

To help you celebrate, Whistle Buoy Brewing Company has created a Nick Nurse Pale Ale to honour the much-heralded Team Canada and Toronto Raptors head coach.

We the West Basketball Festival: Member since 2020
Whistle Buoy Brewing Company: Member since 2019
Strathcona Hotel: Member since 1961
Evo coming to Victoria

Evo Car Share is launching in Greater Victoria this summer. The service allows users to pick up and drop off an Evo vehicle within 20 kilometres of downtown, as well as a special zone for Camosun College Lansdowne students. Starting Aug. 1, anyone with a drivers license will be able to register for use of the ride-sharing services.
Camosun College: Member since 1981
Evo Car Share: Member since 2021
Orca Spirit supporting residential school survivors

Orca Spirit Adventures is offering 25% discounts on all tours on Canada Day, with proceeds from sales going to the Indian Residential School Survivor Society. The money will help provide physical, emotional, and spiritual growth/healing through culturally based values. Use CANADADAY21 at checkout to claim the discount.
Orca Spirit: Member since 2011
Flower Power

Poppies Floral Art is expanding to meet an extraordinary increase in online orders. Throughout the pandemic, owner Andrea Walker says her store has seen a 200% increase in web orders, leading to a 30% overall increase in sales. A new location won't have a retail storefront, and will focus on production to serve people who order online.

Read more about Poppies’ expansion in Douglas Magazine.
Douglas Magazine: Member since 2004
Poppies Floral Art: Member since 2006
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you
Welcome to our newest Member!