2016 Greater Victoria Business Awards Winners
Nominations will be closing soon for the 2017 Greater Victoria Business Awards. Spread the joy, nominate a deserving business - it only takes 2 minutes!
Downtown Parking Woes
If you think it has become harder to find parking downtown over the last couple of years - you're right. Victoria has seen a loss of almost 30% in public parking, not including City-owned parking stalls, due to downtown building construction. That's 1,600+ fewer stalls - and growing.   

One of the tensions is the all-day parking demand from commuters versus the hourly demand by people using downtown services. They are competing for scarce spots and the downtown needs them both.
Some changes that would help include the construction of a dedicated bus lane from the Westshore to downtown by the Provincial Government; greater public use of off-street spots in private buildings; the requirement that any new building that includes retail space provides off-street parking for customers; the addition of bike parking stalls to accompany the new bike lanes; and maybe even a new parkade or two.
"We need to develop multi-faceted parking strategies that accommodate the needs of commuters, downtown residents, commercial vehicles, shoppers and visitors. They are all critical to a successful downtown," said Catherine Holt, Chamber CEO. "The Chamber will continue to work closely with the City of Victoria and related stakeholders to ensure local business interests are heard and that new approaches are used."

If you are a Chamber member with a solution you would like
to propose, please contact Policy Manager Peggy Kulmala.
Chamber News
Opportunities and connections
Chamber Events
Marketplace Mixer
It's 2017 - What's Changed in Social Media
Prodigy Group Mingles
Business Mixers

Manjinder Benning
Owner and Director, Limbic Media  

What is the best perk of your job? Getting to use cool interactive lighting technology whenever I want. What is the best part about doing business in Greater Victoria? Oh man, everything about this city: the people, the tech community, the bike ride to work, the ocean, the trees. Best team-building moment or program you've ever experienced? Drunken karaoke.  What is your business proudest of? The culture and love that we all have together as a team, we rally around art-technology. Do you believe in aliens? Yes, statistics say so. Where can we find you on the weekend? In the studio making tracks for my EDM project 'Distant Grand' and playing with my daughter. Where do you like to eat in Greater Victoria? My wife's restaurant, Be Love. If you had a superpower what would it be? To love without judgement.  
More about Manjinder - and additional Member Snapshots - can be found inside the January Business Matters.  

Say "No" to Taxing Health Benefits

The federal government is considering taxing employer-paid health and dental benefits. In addition to hundreds or thousands of dollars that would be added to Canadians' tax bills, it also means that many employers will no longer provide coverage to employees.

When a similar tax was introduced in Quebec, 20% of employers dropped health and dental benefits for employees. Studies suggest the removal of this tax benefit across the board could result in a decrease of 50% of small firms who will be able to offer health benefits.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has provided a template e-mail here for you to send to the Minister of Finance and your local MP whose name and e-mails can be found here.
Know an Outstanding Business Person?
If you do, nominate them for the 2017 Business Person of the Year Award!

This award honours a person that:  
  • is the founder, owner, CEO, President or Senior Executive of a company(ies),
  • exhibits business leadership and vision,
  • displays a significant commitment to the success of both his/her business and the region as a whole,
  • serves as a positive role model or mentor for other business people, and
  • demonstrates a commitment to the community.
Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2016 Business Person of the Year finalists below.  

Winner: John Wilson, Wilson's Transportation Ltd.
Finalist: Ken Kelly, Downtown Victoria Business Association
When are Short-Term Rentals OK?

With the provincial election looming as well as another booming tourism season unfolding, there are an array of short term rental-related policy discussions unfolding in Greater Victoria.
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce is presently active in two separate - but related discussions.
The first is "home sharing" rentals, which can help homeowners monetize their unused space, and help add capacity when tourism is booming.
"Our concern is that short term residential rentals do not fall under the tax, health and safety or insurance laws and regulations as do other accommodation providers," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt in January Business Examiner. "Having such activities operate outside of the regulatory umbrella not only exposes renters and rentees to risk, but creates unfair competition, disadvantaging traditional accommodation providers."
The second discussion is about "commercial short-term rentals" - private accommodation not occupied by the owner and used full-time as a short term rental unit.
"With our booming economy, high demand for labour, and virtually non-existent vacancy rate, we can't afford to have our rental inventories eroded by commercial short-term rentals," added Catherine. "These commercial rentals are also unregulated and compete with our traditional accommodation providers, which magnifies and complicates the issue."
The Chamber will work with local governments and Tourism Victoria to explore ways to protect our rental inventories and help level the playing field within the accommodation sector.  
Investing in Ocean Sciences at UVic

The federal government  will invest $46 million over five years in Ocean Networks Canada, a world-leading ocean sciences facility located at the University of Victoria.

The group is a pioneer in ocean observatories that stream live data 24 hours a day to researchers across the country and around the world. The growing network of observatories in the Strait of Georgia, along coastal BC and in the Arctic allow scientists to study deep-sea ecosystems, plate tectonics and tsunamis.

The facility says the observations collected by researchers have wide-ranging applications in areas including climate change, earthquakes, pollution, port security and shipping. President Kate Moran says human pressures are impacting the ocean at an ever-increasing pace and understanding the change is vital to ensuring a sustainable future.

University of Victoria: member since 1976
Keep your most important asset - your people - healthy and well taken care of with the Chambers Plan - the most popular employee benefits plan in Canada for small business. Click here for more information.
New VP at Royal Roads University
Cheryl Eason has been appointed Royal Roads University's  vice-president and chief financial officer, effective February 27, 2017. Cheryl brings to the position more than 25 years of financial management experience with 15 years at an executive level.

A Royal Roads University alumna (MBA 2011), Cheryl joins Royal Roads University from the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the United States. As chief financial officer, she directed CalPERS financial accounting and reporting for a pension fund of more than $300 billion, an operating/capital budget of $1.8 billion and 2,800 employees.

"Cheryl's exceptional track record and wealth of experience in the public and private sectors will be a tremendous asset to the university," says President and Vice-Chancellor Allan Cahoon. "We are very pleased to welcome her back to Royal Roads."

 Royal Roads University: member since 1996 
Connect with emerging and established members of Greater Victoria's business community at the Prodigy Group January Mingle. Not sure? Check out the photos from the last Mingle to see what its all about.

Thurs, Jan 12 | 5-7 pm   
3195 Douglas St.

Welcome to Our Newest Members!

Be a Part of The Chamber Team
The Chamber is seeking a dynamic, self-motivated person to join our team as an Account Representative. This position is responsible for new member sales and working with existing Chamber Members .

The successful candidate will work in a fast-paced, dynamic environment with considerable scope to achieve Chamber membership objectives. The role demands an above average understanding of the needs of small business, the pressures that businesses experience and how best The Chamber can assist and help businesses grow.  Click here for more information or to apply

Chamber Name Tags
Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber name tags? Email Reception to order yours today.


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