Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
August 12, 2020
Chamber Advocacy
BC Ferries eligible for government relief funds
The Chamber welcomes news that BC Ferries will receive emergency funding from the provincial and federal governments.

BC Ferries provides an essential link to Greater Victoria and The Chamber supports efforts to ensure the service continues without having to drastically increase fares.

The money will come from the Safe Restart Agreement, announced July 16 as part of a cost sharing plan that will also help transit systems.

"We look forward to working with the Province to learn details of the Safe Restart Agreement," BC Ferries President and CEO Mark Collins said in a news release.
BC Ferry Services: Member since 1983
Chamber experts help members understand CEWS
Chamber members had plenty of questions for our experts during yesterday's Business Restart Series on Demystifying the Wage Subsidy.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams hosted Matthew Hohnsbehn, liaison officer at the Canada Revenue Agency, and Kris Wirk, partner at Dusanj and Wirk, to speak about the benefit and tax implication of government relief programs.

A recording of the presentation is available at a cost of $10 for Chamber members and $25 for non-members.
The CRA also released an updated online tool this week to help employers calculate what they qualify for under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
Saanich seeks more info on ambitious Uptown plan
The District of Saanich is continuing to explore a longstanding plan to create a municipal hub along the Uptown Douglas corridor.

On Monday night, Saanich council asked staff to clarify a few items before sending the proposal to public hearing. The plan looks at the potential use of a 155-hectare area for the next several decades. The goal is to make the gateway to Greater Victoria's core a catalyst for housing, transportation and economic development. Saanich Mayor said he expects staff to report back with their findings next month.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Canadian Chamber offers ideas to advance economy
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has submitted its ideas to the federal government for driving the economy forward as the country emerges from COVID-19 restrictions.

In a pre-Budget submission, the Canadian Chamber has listed recommendations that reduce regulatory burden, rethink taxes, encourage innovation and get Canadians back to work.

A total of 33 recommendations aimed at promoting private-sector growth and competitiveness are being presented to the federal government to consider ahead of its critical 2021 Budget.
Construction and real estate industries stay strong
As parts of Greater Victoria's economy emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, there continues to be good news from the construction and real estate sectors.

The Vancouver island Construction Association says the value of building permits is on the rise after an initial slowdown caused by the outbreak of the pandemic.

“Victoria’s residential building construction investment spending surged in May to $163.49 million following a pandemic-related contraction in April,” Rory Kulmala, CEO of the Vancouver Island Construction Association, said in a news release.

“Despite the significant impacts of COVID-19 on our economy, the construction sector has remained active and has demonstrated its resiliency in these uncertain times. We will continue to be a key element towards our economic recovery”

As well, a report by Colliers International shows that commercial vacancy in downtown Victoria has increased slightly to 5.9% from 5.1% for the first three months of 2020. The difference is attributed to two provincial ministries moving their offices to a new complex in James Bay. The impact of COVID-19 has been nominal, the report found. However, the rate could increase as more leases are up for renewal in the months ahead.

Housing starts have also been strong, with more homes being built this July than the same month last year. The numbers announced Tuesday by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reflect the fact the construction industry has been able to keep working safely throughout the pandemic.
Colliers International: Member since 1984
Vancouver Island Construction Association: Member since 1986
Reminder to apply for layoff extension by Aug. 25
Employers who laid off staff in the spring have until Aug. 25 to apply for an extension beyond 24 weeks, when layoffs are considered permanent and require severance be paid out.

The Chamber asked the provincial government for the extension as we've heard from many of our members who are are facing a prolonged wait before they can recall staff.

There had been concern that forcing layoffs to become permanent would trigger an expense that would hurt the chance of restarting for some businesses. The loss of trained employees would also be difficult to overcome.

The two-step application requires 50% support from the employees and the completion of an online application.
As economy restarts, ICBC ending COVID measures
A number of measures introduced by ICBC in response to COVID-19 are set to expire next week. ICBC brought in the temporary measures on April 23 to help people dealing with economic uncertainty.

On Aug. 20, the following measures will end:
  • waiving of $30 insurance cancellation charge
  • suspension of fleet vehicle insurance
  • allowance for unlimited deliveries by drivers in non-delivery rate classes.

"Customers are now re-insuring their vehicles at higher than historic levels," said a statement from ICBC, which encouraged customers to "talk to their broker to ensure they are properly insured, including those people who are using their vehicle for the delivery of food or medical products and services."
Getting you back to business
Just announced! Virtual 5 Chamber Business Mixer

Join us for the fourth annual joint mixer with the Greater Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, WestShore, Sooke Region and Esquimalt chambers!

This vibrant, after-hours business/social event provides an excellent opportunity for members and prospective members to meet virtually, establishing or renewing valuable business relationships. Attendees will be sent a list of topics to choose from for our breakout rooms, as we rotate through virtual rooms hosted by all five chambers.
Wed., Sept. 23 | 5-6pm
See you tomorrow morning!

Share wins and challenges and connect with business professionals at this free event for members-only with the Prodigy Group.

Highlight your business in a 60-second elevator pitch. Hosted on Zoom, participants have the opportunity to connect in small breakout rooms.

Each breakout room lasts 10 minutes with a total of three switches during the one-hour event — that's more than 15 possible connections!
Spread the love! Pick up coffee or some baked goods before the breakfast to support a fellow Chamber Member.
Thurs., Aug. 13 | 8-9am
Chamber job board
If you're an employer looking for your next great hire, make sure to post your career opportunities on the Chamber job board.

The job board is an exclusive benefit of Chamber membership.

If you have any difficulty posting, please email We will get back to you within one business day. We know how important hiring the right person can be.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Current Job Listings:
It's time to focus on your mental health this summer
This summer, take care of your physical, mental, social and nutritional health as we enjoy warmer weather. For the month of August, The Chamber will be suggesting ways to take healthier steps during a truly unique summer.
Your mental health is as important as your physical health, but is often overlooked. Ensure you take time for yourself and focus on things that give you joy.
Stay connected with friends or family by ordering takeout and enjoying a physically distanced picnic. While the weather is still nice, enjoy food and drinks at a Chamber Member Patio with a close friend. If they live in different city, chatting on the phone or through a video chat is a great way to stay connected to a loved one.
Take time to relax. From yoga classes to enjoying a park or beach in the CRD, give yourself a moment to catch your breath and unwind. If you have a furry friend, pick up some pet toys and have a fun time together.
Minimize your stress by taking time for yourself. Whether that’s discovering a new hobby or taking a weekend trip to explore Vancouver Island, make sure your happiness is a priority in your life.
The BC CDC has provided mental health resources that include information for children, post-secondary students and heath-care workers. If you’re not sure what resource is most helpful for you, take the anonymous Mental Health Check-In Assessment from the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Dr. Bonnie Henry has highlighted the importance of mental health, and how staying connected is extremely important during this time. While continuing to follow provincial health protocols, take a moment to breathe our fresh Vancouver Island air and remember to keep your mental health in mind.
Patio Season is in full swing in Greater Victoria! Use this handy checklist to discover patios with incredible views, delicious food and cold drinks to enjoy on a hot day.

Before heading to a Chamber member patio, ensure they are open by visiting the Chamber Member Service Update page or by contacting them directly.

Take a photo of yourself completing the Patio Checklist, and tag us with @victoriachamber and #YYJPatioChecklist for a chance to be featured on our social media channels. Stay safe and support local this season.
Members Around Town
Take to the skies

Air Canada is revamping its Aeroplan Loyalty Program this November, providing consumers with more flexibility to travel. The program will eliminate fuel surcharges, allow consumers to use points towards any Air Canada flight, and provide families the option to combine and share points to use towards a trip. Elite Aeroplan members will also be able to share priority boarding and lounge access with family members even if the cardholder is not flying on the same trip.
Air Canada: member since 1962
Peer into the past

Fan Tan Alley has unveiled a Chinese Canadian Museum Pop-up Exhibit that recognizes the importance of the Chinese community in Greater Victoria. As the city has Canada’s oldest Chinatown, the exhibit, which was established with a partnership with the Royal BC Museum and the Salient Group, gives visitors a chance to “peer into the past.”
Royal BC Museum: member since 1994
Salient Group: member since 2017
A raw approach to fitness

Annex Fitness has launched Annex Raw, a pop-up spin studio at Uptown. The facility offers 22 bikes with spin classes every day of the week and adheres to strict health and safety protocols. Virtual classes are still available through the Annex app.
Annex Fitness: member since 2019
Shape Property Management – Uptown: member since 1983
Magnolia No. 1 in Canada

The Magnolia Hotel and Spa has been ranked the top hotel in Canada by With more than 3,500 “excellent” reviews, the hotel provides guests with a luxury experience blocks away from the Inner Harbour.
Magnolia Hotel and Spa: member since 1998 
Is your business implementing new strategies or innovative ways of connecting with consumers?

Win a date night!

Have you seen the Urban Smiles branded BC Transit bus driving around Greater Victoria?

If you take a photo of yourself with the bus and tag @urbansmilesvictoria or @urbansmilescolwood, you will be entered for a chance to win a date night at Earls Victoria and movie passes to Cineplex Odeon. Contest closes Sept. 15, and every photo you enter gives you a chance to win.
Urban Smiles Victoria: member since 2012
Cineplex Odeon Victoria Cinemas: member since 2014
BC Transit: member since 1999
Earls Kitchen & Bar / Earls Victoria Bay Centre: member since 2010
Pacific FC hits the pitch

The Pacific Football Club is competing in The Island Games, kicking off Aug. 13 in PEI. Pacific FC, part of the Canadian Premier League, is taking part in an eight-team tournament at the University of Prince Edward Island.
Pacific Football Club: member since 2019
TC book drive a big success

The Times Colonist 2020 book drive was an overwhelming success last Saturday, with tens of thousands of books being donated.

The event used space at Ogden Point from the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. Donated books are being sorted and purchased by Russell Books to support the Times Colonist Literacy Society.
Times Colonist: member since 1961
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: member since 2003
Russell Books: member since 1999
Welcome to our newest members!