Thank you to everyone who attended the June Business Mixer last night! An extra big thank you goes to the Victoria HarbourCats and Wilson's Group of Companies for hosting everyone at Wilson's Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park. See the photos here.  
We want to hear about your challenges with EHT
Businesses across BC paid their first installment of the Employer Health Tax on June 15. The Chamber has expressed concerns to the provincial government that, as is, the EHT is bad for business. The tax's threshold for business payrolls is $500,000, which is much too low. There is also a second tier for employers with payrolls above $1.5 million, creating a cliff effect that forces tough decisions about growing a business. Some employers have said they will curtail staff hours and avoid hiring employees to avoid a tax hit.  
In 2019, the province is also charging business the EHT even if they pay MSP premiums. And while, The Chamber supports phasing out MSP, the implementation of the EHT has placed an unfair burden on many small businesses.
How has the EHT affected your business? The Chamber would like to hear from you as we continue to work on advocating to the Minister of Finance for changes to the EHT.
Send your comments to Jim Zeeben at
Chamber News
Summer Social Series
Prodigy Group July Mingle
July Business Mixer
37th Annual Dinner Auction Gala
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events

Pipeline revenue to fund clean energy projects
As expected, the federal government has once again approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline project.
The project had been on hold since the Federal Court of Appeal ruled last summer that the original process did not have adequate consultation with First Nations and that more work was need on an environmental review.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce applauded the decision, citing $73 billion in benefits to Canada over 20 years. However, the national body was also cautious about the potential for additional delays.
Victoria mayor Lisa Helps issued a news release saying many people have expressed strong opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline because of concerns about the impact that increased tanker traffic would have on the long term ecological and economic health of our coastlines.
The federal government said it is proposing new measures to curb any impact on Southern Resident Killer Whales. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to use every single dollar the federal government earns from the pipeline to fund green energy projects.
The Chamber is working with our community partners to host a federal candidate listening session on September 11 at the Victoria Conference Centre.

This will be a great opportunity to express our concerns and visions to the future MPs for Greater Victoria. To read more about some of the issues facing Greater Victoria, check out the latest issue of Business Matters magazine. 
Savour the summer as you enjoy a carefully curated four-course dinner prepared by House of Boateng, and paired with Sheringham Distillery spirits, in the idyllic lavender fields at Bilston Creek Farm. See the menu here.
Sponsored by:
Take it up a notch and join us for a limo ride the re courtesy of L.A. Limousines.
Wed, July 3 | 6-9 pm        
Bilston Creek Farm  
4185 Metchosin Rd.  
The Summer Social Series transports you to a new location where you will enjoy a memorable evening of connecting over great food and local wine, beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic options. Purchase tickets to the series here 
Victoria deserves better than populist tactics
Message from Chamber CEO Catherine Holt   
This article originally appeared in the Times Colonist June 15.
I would like to add to the growing concern in this community about the populist tactics of City of Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt from the perspective of business and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
I like to think people eventually get fed up with leaders who stir up negative emotions and pull them into artificial camps to make false choices. We expect all local politicians to look beyond their echo chambers, listen to a diversity of voices, and make informed decisions in the best interest of our city and region.
Read Catherine's full column on populist tactics and how it relates to municipal politics in Victoria .  

Defining affordability Victoria's strata housing proposal
The City of Victoria will decide June 27 on a proposal that will require new residential strata developments of 60 units or more to make as many as 20% of units "affordable." 
Victoria councillors made the decision last week after receiving a consultant's report that said requiring anything more than 10% of new units to be affordable would be the tipping point that would discourage developers from investing in new buildings.
However, council opted to ask for 20%, but include an option for developers to make the case for between 10% and 20% based on the financial viability of the project.  
Projects with fewer than 60 units seeking rezoning for additional density would have the option to contribute to municipal reserve funds that support affordable housing and local community amenities.

The Chamber reached out to city staff for a definition of affordable, and here is what staff said: 
"Generally, the monthly housing costs for housing to be considered affordable does not exceed 30% of total household incomes, including utilities and other strata fees or other charges. The proposed inclusionary housing policy includes options for both affordable rental and affordable home ownership, with the following affordability targets:
"For affordable rental units, a partnership with a non-profit housing provider and/or government agency would be strongly encouraged with the affordability set at the levels listed below:
"For affordable home ownership, a partnership with a non-profit organization and/or government agency is required, with affordability remaining flexible to align with existing or new programs.  
  • The unit purchase prices should (reflect) the city's moderate household income targets of $55,000 to $85,000 per year depending on unit size.
  • Units will be owner occupied as secured through legal agreements.
  • Owners will be income tested to verify eligibility.
  • The city retains long-term benefits, either in the form of restrictions on resale, or the collection of community amenity contributions upon resale as part of BC Housing's Affordable Homeownership Program.
  • Records of ownership and resales reported to the city upon request."
Members Around Town

HarbourCats retire jersey 
The Victoria HarbourCats have retired former pitcher Claire Eccles' number in a ceremony Monday night before Victoria's 5-3 West Coast League baseball victory over the Bend Elks. The native of White Rock, who became the first female player in WCL history, will also join the Ring of Honour along the main grandstand of Wilson's Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.
Victoria HarbourCats: member since 2012  
Oldest brewpub
Spinnakers Brewpub & Guesthouses is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2019. As Canada's oldest brewpub, it was ahead of the curve as it took about two decades before the craft beer trend started to take off.  
Spinnakers Brewpub & Guesthouses: member since 1990   
Union Club's new President 
The Union Club of British Columbia has announced that Grace Van den Brink is its new president, making her its first woman president in its 140 year history. Van den Brink joined the Union Club in 2003. Her contributions include service on various subcommittees, General Committee (board) member and as Vice President.
Union Club of British Columbia: member since 1995  
VIATEC Awards Winners
The Victoria high-tech sector has announced the winners for the 19th annual VIATEC Awards. Winners were revealed  June 14. VIATEC's Member of the Year went to former Chamber Board member Sang Kiet-Ly of KPMG, and the Product of the Year award went to Limbic Media.
VIATEC : member since 1991  
  KPMG: member since 1962 
  Limbic Media: member since 2012 
Summer schedule  
BC Ferries is bringing back midnight sailings this summer as the corporation ramps up for its busiest season. Adjustments to schedules begin Friday, June 21 , and include 6am starts, hourly sailings and midnight departures from Swartz Bay on June 28, August 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30.   
BC Ferries: member since 1983     
Yeehaw! Join us for a fun evening of gourmet food, cold drinks, great music and good times. 
Featuring gourmet appetizers, BBQ sliders, mac n' cheese and pie chef stations catered by Food For Thought Catering. Quench your thirst with local BC wine, craft beer and non-alcoholic cocktails. Kick up your boots with some line dancing.
Sponsored by: 
Thu, Sept 5 | 6:30-8:30 pm      
The Roundhouse at Bayview
80 Saghalie Rd.   
The Summer Social Series transports you to a new location where you will enjoy a memorable evening of connecting over great food and local wine, beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic options. Purchase tickets to the series here 
Victoria's retail bag prices rising July 1
Victoria's plastic bag ban will have been in effect for a full year as of July 1. That date also marks the regulated increase in the cost that businesses must charge customers for alternatives to plastic bags.  
Stores currently must charge 15 cents for paper bags and $1 for a reusable checkout bag. Those fees, required to be stated on sales receipts, jump to 25 cents for paper and $2 for reusable bags after this month. Businesses retain the revenue from bag sales. 
Also, don't forget, Victoria's next Climate Action Acceleration Town Hall is June 21.
The town hall runs from 9 am to noon at city hall, and will focus on Low Carbon Mobility. The meeting's intent is to collect public comments related to barriers and opportunities faced by the transition away from fossil fuel heating, transportation fuels and other greenhouse gas sources.
Work begins on southbound bus lanes 
Making it easier for commuters to  travel in and out of downtown Victoria will help employers struggling to attract and retain workers. The Chamber welcomes news this week that construction is starting on Douglas Street to create southbound lanes dedicated to moving buses and cyclists.  
Travelling by bus needs to be convenient and faster for it to truly be a viable option for workers outside the core. The northbound bus lane has reportedly reduced commute times by 12 minutes, and the southbound lane is expected to shave a similar amount of time off.

"Priority bus lanes help get people to where they want to go faster than in a car," Claire Trevena, B.C.'s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said in a news release. "We expect the two-way continuous corridor between Fisgard Road and the Highway 1-Burnside Road overpass will encourage more people to use transit and, in turn, help reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions."
The estimated cost of the project is $16 million, with $11.1 million coming from the provincial government and $4.9 million from the federal government.
Interested in running for the Board of Directors of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce? Find out everything you need to know at this information session facilitated by our Board Executive.
The Chamber works together to build good business and great community. It is our vision to be the most diverse and influential business association in the region.
Tues, Jul 9 | Noon-1:00 pm      
The Chamber
100-852 Fort Street
Click here for key dates, the nomination process and the voting procedure. Additional questions can be directed here.
Our Place continues fight against opioid crisis
HeroWork is helping Our Place Society expand its Therapeutic Recovery Community in View Royal by adding capacity for 50 people, putting in an arts-and-crafts area, doubling the size of the dining room and adding a food-production area so program participants can grow their own food. The improvements will add about $650,000 worth of value to the centre.
The Chamber advocates for Safe Community as a necessary foundation for doing business every day. Chamber CEO Catherine Holt wrote a column in the Times Colonist applauding the work done by Our Place to build a Therapeutic Recovery Community for Greater Victoria.  
You can learn more about the need to find solutions to addictions on June 20, when Our Place presents the premiere screening of A Just Society, a locally filmed documentary that explores Vancouver Island's opioid crisis. Admission is by donation.
A panel discussion will follow with BC's provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, filmmaker Nick Versteeg and Our Place CEO Don Evans.
HeroWork: member since 2019  
Our Place Society: member since 2010 
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