Chamber CEO Catherine Holt, fourth from left, stands alongside Chamber members for a photo with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, sixth from left.
Federal Finance Minister connects with members
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau visited The Chamber's boardroom yesterday to hear from the region's business leaders about building a more competitive Canada.
"The Chamber was pleased to host Tuesday's roundtable conversation with Minister Morneau about issues that affect our members," Chamber CEO Catherine Holt said. "A wide array of topics were covered. The need to attract and retain workers at all skill levels was at the top of the list for both the Minister and many business leaders."    

The Department of Finance issued a statement after the meeting, noting it was a part of a series the Minister is holding across the country.

It was another opportunity for The Chamber to connect members with senior decision-makers at the national and provincial levels, following our luncheons this spring with B.C. Premier John Horgan and the Bank of Canada Governor Stephen S. Poloz.
Chamber News
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Summer Social Series
The Business of Cannabis
Business Leaders Luncheons
Business Mixers
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UVic mechanical engineering student project noticed by Tesla
Simon Park, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Victoria, developed a capstone project called the Caboost, an electric-assist bike motor. The project was one of three winners of the Open Innovation Challenge put on by the South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP), netting a $15,000 investment in its development.

With the funding from SIPP, Park and his team of engineering students achieved a milestone in the Caboost's development, creating what they call the "smart control system," which automatically pushes the bike depending on how the cyclist is riding.

Thanks in part to the Caboost, Park has been accepted for an eight-month internship at Tesla headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., where he'll be moving in September.

UVic: member since member since 1976  
SIPP: member since 2017 
With an aging workforce and near zero unemployment rate - the demand for skilled trades workers has never been higher.

Hear Tom Sigurdson, Executive Director of BC Building Trades, talk about the future of the trades industry in British Columbia and the impact of the new BC Infrastructure Benefits Inc.
Sponsored by
Tue, Sept 25 | 11:30 am-1 pm 
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt St.

Province not doing enough to ease child care crunch
When the Provincial Government's 2018 Budget announced plans to create new child care spaces and train more early childhood educators, Greater Victoria's business community applauded. However, the government's efforts have not been enough and as reported in the Times Colonist, the number of available child care spaces in our region is going in the wrong direction due to the high cost of space and the lack of workers.
The Chamber advocates for accessible and affordable child care as a key requirement for attracting and retaining a much needed workforce. We participate in a working group chaired by Mayor Lisa Helps. This group asked the province to invest in training more child care workers, creating more spaces for kids in need of care and making sure those spots are affordable.
It's now clear the government's plan, though well intentioned, needs to be accelerated.
One solution, proposed by Camosun College, is to make early childhood education a focus for recruiting international students to train at BC post-secondary schools.

Members Around Town
Motor Sport gathering
The GAIN Group is hosting the Motor Gathering at the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit this Sun, Aug 26. The family-friendly event will be showcasing an array of classic, unique, modern and custom cars and motorcycles from all over Vancouver Island (and beyond!). Last year's Motor Gathering raised more than $174,000 in cash and over $180,000 in in-kind donations for charity. This year organizers are hoping to surpass those numbers. 
GAIN Group: member since 1972   
Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit: member since 2018 
The Big Squeeze    
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Victoria is hosting the  Big Squeeze, Victoria's first lemonade stand competition. On Fri, Aug 24 and Sat, Aug 25, teams will set up a lemonade stand and sell lemonade by donation to BBBS. Each business creates its own unique recipe. BBBS children and mentors will act as judges and come around to each business on the day of the event via Alpine Limo and L.A. Limousines to taste test all the different lemonades. The judges will award the trophies for Best Tasting and Most Creative Recipe at the end of each day.    
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS): member since 2000
Alpine Limo: member since 2008 
L.A. Limousines Inc.: member since 2013 
Swan Lake boardwalk replacement project 
The new boardwalk construction project at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Society is nearly complete. Phase II of the project has taken place over several stages with the first being the removal of the existing boardwalk during the months of June and July. Last week, the first float was craned onto the lake and paddled into place. The new float will be secured to Phase I of the boardwalk project installed in the fall of 2015.   
Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Society: member since 2014 
First stores open in Mayfair expansion 
Mayfair Shopping Centre's $72-million transformation is taking a significant step forward with this month's opening of Sport Chek, Saje Natural Wellness and a new, bigger Aritzia store at the rapidly expanding shopping centre. The expansion will add about 100,000 square feet of retail space to Mayfair, bringing the shopping area to 520,000 square feet, creating room for about 20 new stores. 
Mayfair Shopping Centre: member since 1963         
End of Summer Soiree

Join us on the last official weekend of summer for a fun evening of luxury vintage cars, custom cocktails, gourmet food and good times!

Featuring signature cocktails by Nimble Bar Co., craft beer from Twa Dogs Brewery and catering by Toque Catering.
Sponsored by :
Fri, Sept 14 | 6:30-9 pm  
Secret Venue 
Two pick-up locations will be sent to attendees to take a shuttle to our secret venue location courtesy of  
Wilson's Transportation Ltd


Expanded bus service a win for business
We need to make taking the bus convenient if we want Greater Victoria commuters to choose transit as a viable way to get to work. Adding more bus service will help accomplish this.
The Victoria Regional Transit Commission is providing $730,000 and the province is contributing $384,000 to fund 10,000 extra hours of bus service. Four new buses and two new routes will be operational Sept. 4, just in time for the start of a new school year.
The new routes provide much needed links for residents, including better access to Victoria International Airport and improved connections between Camosun College's Interurban and Lansdowne campuses.
The funding is available in part due to an increase in gas tax from 3.5 cents per litre to 5.5 cents per litre, announced in the 2018 Provincial Budget.
The Chamber has been an advocate for using gas tax for better regional transit as a solution to traffic congestion and parking challenges faced by employees and their employers. This news is another step in the right direction for business in Greater Victoria.
Greater Victoria hotels continue healthy growth
Chemistry Consulting has released its latest newsletter on the state of Greater Victoria's tourism industry. The sector continues its impressive performance, with 25 of the 40 hotels reporting to Chemistry indicating they reached a 90% occupancy rate this June. With global tourism growing at a frenetic pace, international travel looks to have returned to pre-9/11 levels.
Chemistry's numbers show the occupancy rate for Victoria and Nanaimo was up about seven per cent in June 2018 over the same month last year. Great news for Greater Victoria and Vancouver Island, and the many Chamber members that contribute to the tourism economy.
Chemistry Consulting: member since 2006 
This is an excellent opportunity for members and prospective members to establish or renew valuable business relationships while enjoying the lovely setting of the University Club in summer.   
Sponsored by:
Thu, Aug 23 | 5-7 pm
3800 Finnerty Rd.
Stay safe out there
A Chamber member submitted this image of the forest fire near Fraser Lake. Firefighters from Greater Victoria have joined the battle where needed this summer. 
BC has declared a provincial state of emergency  as hundreds of wildfires burn across the province with more than 40 on Northern Vancouver Island . With our region covered in smoke and the air quality at a cautionary level , it's important to take steps to protect your health and the health of others.
  1. Exercise indoors. Avoid anything strenuous outdoors when the air quality is bad to avoid breathing it deep in to your lungs.
  2. Keep your air pure. Close your windows and use an air purifier in enclosed spaces if possible.
  3. Plan activities indoors. Visit an art gallery, museum or check out the casino, an escape room, the butterfly gardens, or the shopping mall.
  4. Be careful with fire with cigarettes and open flame. Monitor and extinguish everything diligently.
  5. Have an emergency preparedness plan for your business.
With winds expected to pick up off the Pacific tomorrow, Greater Victoria residents should get some relief from the smoky haze that has socked in most of the province. While this is welcome news for our region, the bad news is smoke from the coast will be blown back into the Interior. That could worsen the exceptionally difficult situation for residents and firefighters who face ongoing air-quality advisories.  
Stay safe out there! And a big thank you to everyone fighting the forest fires, including many firefighters from Greater Victoria.
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