Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
April 22, 2020
John Wilson, chair of The Chamber's Board of Directors and President and CEO of the Wilson's Group of Companies, stands with family members outside the company's office. "From our family to yours, stay safe and healthy. We will get through this together," Wilson says.
Dr. Henry calls on businesses to find a way to open
There is new optimism among some of the businesses that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. BC's restaurant industry met today for the first time to talk about how they can get back to business. The discussion was prompted by comments from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Monday.

"I think there are lots of innovative ways that we can have in-restaurant dining that protects both the staff and people coming in," she said.

The B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association gathered industry representatives to start the discussion.

"It's hope. It's real hope. Psychologically, the fact that we are even able to talk about opening right now is very positive," BCRFSA president Ian Tostenson told the CBC. "Now there is some clear indication that there's hope, and that's probably the best news we've had in a long time."
Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps as they discuss how the city has helped citizens and businesses during this crisis. This series is designed to help navigate our way through the ever changing environment related to the global pandemic.

About the Series:

As part of The Chamber's commitment to getting businesses back to work, Chamber CEO Catherine Holt is hosting experts and government officials. This is your opportunity to get answers on pressing issues and the information you need to help you manage through these unprecedented times. For previous fireside chats, click here.
Tues., Apr. 28 | 11:30am-12:00 noon
Tune in to   Facebook Live
Please check our   Events Calendar   for   other events and updates on tools and suggestions to get through to the other side.
Tourism industry facing dire losses due to COVID-19
Destination Greater Victoria has created an infographic that illustrates how dire the situation is for tourism businesses in the region.

As many as 22,500 jobs and $1.4 billion in economic activity will be lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to DGV, governments could also lose $375 million in tax revenue over the next 10 to 14 months.

The sectors expected to be among the hardest hit include transportation, accommodation, food and beverage, attractions, retail and arts and entertainment.

The Chamber continues to work with DGV to advocate for federal and provincial financial assistance for the hard hit tourism sector.
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
Applications open today for federal start-up funding
Applications open today for a federal fund designed to help businesses that don't qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The Innovation Assistance Program is being administered by the National Research Council.

Among the qualifications, organizations must "plan to pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes in Canada."

The fund will help tech companies, specifically start-ups, that have inconsistent revenue and risk not being able to carry on with their work because of the pandemic.
Online Wage Subsidy Calculator
The federal government has a new online calculator that allows employers to determine how much funding they can expect from the Canada Employment Wage Subsidy program.

Federal help for charities
Yesterday, the federal government announced funding for charities that are struggling to carry on with their mandates. The Emergency Community Support Fund will help national organizations quickly channel funding to local groups working with vulnerable people.
Saanich votes to carry on with Citizens' Assembly
On Monday night, Saanich council voted against a motion to cancel the Citizens' Assembly process and re-allocate funding for other purposes. The Chamber congratulates Saanich for showing leadership during these difficult times by carrying on with this important initiative. The Citizens' Assembly process was given a strong mandate by voters and will help provide objective data needed in the coming years.

Saanich also decided to cut the increase to property taxes to 2.4%, after already reducing it to 3.74% from an initial proposal for a 7.4% increase.

The Chamber will look at how business property tax rates compare in every municipality in Greater Victoria and will publish our findings in an upcoming edition of BizNews.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Focus shifts, but opioid crisis hasn't gone away
The anniversary of a tragic death is a reminder that Greater Victoria is facing more than one provincial health emergency. The opioid crisis has claimed more lives than the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues to devastate individuals, families and our community.

The Chamber continues to call for amendments to the Infant Act so families can better help children trying to manage potentially addictive treatments. The need for change was brought to light by the parents of an Oak Bay teen who died of an accidental overdose in 2018. The Infant Act allows children to consent to medical treatment without telling their parents, as long as a health-care provider supports the treatment and the child understands any potential risks and benefits. However, using opioids to manage pain is difficult, even for adults, and is one of the causes of the opioid crisis that threatens our community.
International Chamber looking for global solutions
The International Chamber of Commerce and the World Health Organization have launched a worldwide survey to develop a framework for managing the economic and human consequences related to the pandemic. The survey takes about five minutes, and you can participate here.
Chamber Savings Update
During these unprecedented times, The Chamber is proud to provide savings for our members through our comprehensive Benefits Program. These benefits include discounts on home office supplies, business services, insurance and much more.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, our benefit partners are updating their services, including:
  • Automatic 50% premium reduction for dental, and 10% premium reduction for extended health benefits though Chambers Plan. Mental health resources are also available for you and your children. 
  • Increased savings through UPS shipments: UPS now provides 50% off small package shipments, and up to 75% on shipments over 150 pounds. 
  • For those requiring certificates of origin, The Chamber is also pleased to announce a contact-less pickup option. Please contact for more info. 
Let us know about updates to your hours or services
We've created a webpage to help your customers keep track of updated hours and services as a result of COVID-19. If your changes are not yet listed, email  to have your information added.

Click on a category below to find innovative ways our members continue to serve Greater Victoria.
Connecting employers with employees today
The Chamber is proud to have featured over 200 jobs on our Job Board since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. We continue to offer this service free of charge to employers using the code SUPPORTYYJ.

The Chamber is receiving recognition for this program internationally and are working with various organizations to encourage other chambers and associations to help local essential service providers and employees get connected.

If you have any difficulty posting, please email We will get back to you ASAP on the next business day.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Thanks to our friends at H2 Accelerator, we have a new ad campaign you'll see online. It encourages out-of-work locals to pitch in at businesses that need help.
Stay connected with The Chamber's Virtual Events
Virtual Networking Breakfast
Grow valuable connections from the comfort of your own home, and interact with a diverse group of professionals. Participants are invited to join us in developing business relationships during these extraordinary times.
Virtual Fireside Chat
Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps as they discuss how the city has helped citizens and businesses during this crisis. This series is designed to help navigate our way through the ever changing environment related to the global pandemic.
Thurs., April 23 | 9-10 AM
Members Around Town
National Volunteer Week

This week (April 19 – 25) is National Volunteer Week. Visit Volunteer Victoria or Oak Bay Volunteer Services to learn how you can give back to your community during these turbulent times. Visit our Job Board as well for volunteer opportunities across Greater Victoria .

Volunteer Victoria: member since 2019
Oak Bay Volunteer Services: member since 2000
Hotel Zed workspaces

Hotel Zed is offering affordable, self-contained workspaces to help remote workers stay productive. With free coffee and tea provided, these workspaces are available for $60 per day , and utilize industry-leading sanitization efforts. 
Accent Inns | Hotel Zed: member since 1992
HarbourCats on Zoom

The Victoria HarbourCats are hosting their first online hot stove tonight at 6 pm. This event gives fans a chance to discuss baseball with players, coaches and owners from the comfort of their own homes.
Join the call here .
Victoria HarbourCats: member since 2012
American Express changes

American Express has adjusted many of their merchant polices to support businesses. These include:

  • Raising contact-less payment options to $250
  • Extended dispute response time
  • Removing non-validation fees 

For a full list of changes, click here .

American Express: member since 2019
TOPSOIL Micro-Gardens

With new edible micro-gardens , TOPSOIL is providing fresh food straight to your patio. To help people grow their own food, TOPSOIL is delivering containers filled with pre-planted produce that are ready to harvest. Orders are required by May 1, with the choice of 4 delicious types of vegetables .

TOPSOIL - Innovative Urban Agriculture INC: member since 2020
Online learning

Interested in taking an online class to learn a new skill? Camosun College is offering online classes in Business , Health & Wellness , Supply Chain Management and many other diverse categories. Visit their website to discover an exciting and informative learning opportunity.
Camosun College: member since 1981
Law firm posting bulletins

Roper Greyell LLP has created informative news bulletins to help employers understand available resources during the COVID-19 crisis. The bulletins provide insights into employment and labour law in Canada, as well as direct links to government updates.

Roper Greyell LLP, Employment + Labour Lawyers: member since 2011
Walk for Alzheimer’s

IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s will take place May 31 entirely online this year. Participants are encouraged to walk around their yard, house or even their living room to recognize family members and friends affected by dementia. Visit the Alzheimer Society of B.C ’s website to learn how to participate. 

Alzheimer Society of BC: member since 2019
IG Wealth Management: member since 1993
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