Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
February 17, 2021
"Each of these businesses have a unique story to tell on how they overcame challenges and went the extra mile to ensure that, despite facing adversity, their business continues to thrive.”

The Chamber’s 2021 Greater Victoria Business Awards will be broadcast at 6 pm, May 15, on CHEK TV.
Celebrating Chamber Week! Feb. 15-19, 2021
February 15 - 19, 2021 is Chamber Week. This is an opportunity for Members to celebrate community and build relationships in Greater Victoria.

Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #ChamberWeekVicBC and by tagging @VictoriaChamber / @ChamberVictoria.
Special thank you to our Chamber Week sponsor: Rogers Media - Jack 103.1 & Ocean 98.5
Esquimalt plastic ban approved by the province
The Township of Esquimalt has joined the group of BC municipalities that have banned single-use plastics. On Monday, the province approved Esquimalt's bylaw along with bylaws from Surrey, Nanaimo and Rossland.

The City of Victoria and District of Saanich have already had their proposed bans approved by the province, which has jurisdiction over environmental matters. The Chamber was instrumental in helping Victoria and Saanich work with businesses to ensure their bylaws complimented practices in place due to consumer demand. We also worked with Esquimalt and other municipalities in the region to make sure regulations were seamless across borders.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Township of Esquimalt: Member since 2020
Rule change helps schools facing fiscal challenges
Recognizing the challenges of continuing to offer opportunities for post-secondary education during a pandemic, the provincial government will allow schools to run deficits for the next two years. Post-secondary institutions are required to get government approval before incurring an annual deficit. A temporary change to the rule allows the schools to use available surplus to maintain operations. The University of Victoria and Camosun College are among schools pre-approved for deficits.

Having a trained workforce will be key to economic recovery, and The Chamber supports this initiative to help post-secondary schools continue with their missions.
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
Camosun College: Member since 1981
Langford tops list of most resilient cities in BC
A strong public sector and consistently low cases of COVID-19 helped Vancouver Island place six communities in the Top 10 Most Resilient Cities in BC, according to BC Business Magazine.

The City of Langford ranks No. 1 overall for its continued growth during the pandemic, with high volumes of residential home sales, housing starts and one of the youngest populations in the province. The move to employees working from home was another factor in Langford's favour, giving communities outside urban cores more points than in previous polls. Cities that rely heavily on tourism were typically farther down the list this year.
City of Langford: Member since 2019
Funds still available for national grant program
A program offering $5,000 grants has reopened applications to help Canadian businesses cover the costs of personal protective equipment, office space adjustments or e-commerce development.

The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund was initially announced in October, but money is still available. The program is administered by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce though businesses from any province can apply.

Businesses that have already applied for the funds can email to determine the status of their application.
BC Business Recovery Grants still underused
Tomorrow, when The Chamber hosts BC's Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, Ravi Kahlon, one of the topics will be how can more organizations access the province's Business Recovery Grants? Uptake has been slow on the program, which offers grants up to $30,000 for any business in operation for 18 months that have experienced a 30% loss of revenue since May. Tourism operators are eligible for up to $45,000 in non-repayable funds under the same criteria.

According to reports, as of this month, only $12 million of $300 million allotted for the program has been delivered to businesses.

See below for more information on how to sign up for tomorrow's Business Restart Series with Minister Kahlon.
Connect with Provincial Ministers
Three virtual events this
February and March
Three of the most important issues facing our membership and region will be addressed over three weeks as The Chamber hosts these high-profile provincial ministers. Book your ticket today.
Thank you to TD Bank Group for sponsoring the following events:
What will economic recovery look like after the pandemic?
As we emerge from the fog of the pandemic, find out how government is refocusing relief efforts to make sure no one is left behind.

Join Chamber CEO Bruce Williams and the Hon. Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, to hear about what is being done to ensure an inclusive economic recovery across B.C.
Business Restart Series:
Thurs., Feb. 18 | 12 - 1PM
BC's plans to address homelessness
Since the beginning of the pandemic, affordable housing and homelessness have become some of the most pressing issues facing our region.

Be a part of the discussion as Chamber CEO Bruce Williams talks with Hon. David Eby, BC Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, about the province's 10-year housing plan and actions being taken to house the homeless.
Tues., Feb. 23 | 12 - 1 PM
BC's plan for transportation in the Capital Region
Hear from Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure on what's coming down the road in Greater Victoria including priority infrastructure projects, the South Island Transportation Plan, transit improvements, green transportation initiatives and more. 
Business Restart Series:
Tues., Mar. 2 | 12 - 1 PM
Loans for highly-affected businesses widely available
Starting Feb. 15, more financial institutions are able to accept applications for the federal governments Highly Affected Sectors loan program. The funding provides low-interest loans between $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs. The money is guaranteed by the government through the BDC, and is intended to help tourism and hospitality businesses — sectors hit the hardest by the pandemic.
Business Development Bank of Canada: Member since 1976
Rapid-testing urgently needed as first-line defence
The nature of pandemics is that they cross borders and create challenges for jurisdictions around the world. So, while The Chamber fully supports the made-in-BC approach of our Provincial Health Officer, we also believe we can benefit from looking at solutions tried elsewhere.

On Feb. 2, The Chamber co-signed an op-ed that ran in the National Post that called on Canada to embrace rapid testing along with contact tracing.

"This strategy involves:
  • using tests that deliver results in minutes to find positive cases and isolate them quickly;
  • testing high-risk and asymptomatic individuals;
  • implementing effective contact tracing to quickly identify those who may have been exposed to COVID-19, so they, too, can be rapidly tested; and
  • supporting a layered approach, which includes maintaining physical distancing and protective measures like masks, hand-washing and new safety protocols in stores and workplaces.

Frequent testing with antigen tests can be scaled up quickly, in order to detect contagiousness and help cut the chains of infection. Indeed, some countries have tested their entire populations in days using this approach, while others are launching campaigns to test millions daily. In contrast, Canada currently administers barely 70,000 daily PCR tests, which deliver results in days, rather than minutes."
Thank you to our Chamber Champions!
Learn more about how these organizations are championing the work of The Chamber.
What does local mean to you?
Our #ChamberLocalVicBC campaign aims to help individuals understand what local means on a social, economic and community level. We're asking our members to answer this question with a quote about what makes their business or organization local.

We hope you will help us amplify these stories as we work with resilience to bounce forward out of this pandemic.

Contact Thomas Zeran to share your story.
Follow this campaign on social media with the hashtags:
#ChamberLocalVicBC #UnderstandLocal
The Chamber has always supported local business. From our founding in 1863, we have helped Greater Victoria's economy thrive by serving as a unified voice for enterprise.
Lifestyle Markets: member since 2015
The Natural Hair Salon: member since 2021
Prince of Whales Whale Watching: member since 2002
Newport Realty: member since 2006
Ride the Glide - RTG E-Bikes Inc: member since 2012
Brown's The Florist: member since 1981
Mayfair Optometric Clinic: member since 1996
CHEK News: member since 1971
Sheringham Distillery: member since 2018
Luxe Home Interiors: member since 2004
Make everyday Family Day

Families across Greater Victoria braved the cold this long weekend, many enjoying a relaxing holiday indoors. With spring just around the corner, it’s a great time to experience our region's many safe venues and local shops:
With the snow starting to melt and the sun starting to shine across Greater Victoria, flowers are starting to bloom! Be sure to participate in the 46th Annual Greater Victoria Flower Count taking place Mar. 3 – 10.
Chamber Job Board

The foundation of any great business is creating a strong, reliable staff. Finding and fostering talent is fundamental to sustainable growth, and The Chamber is here to help support this endeavor.

This Chamber Week, we want to ensure that great employers are getting connected with talented individuals across Greater Victoria. If you currently have an opportunity to hire a new staff member, now is the perfect time to use The Chamber’s job board.

From now until Feb. 19, Use the code CHAMBERWEEK2021 at checkout to receive 20% off your next job post!

Learn more about how to post on the job board here. ​If you have any questions about posting, please email
Member News
Themis introduces a living wage rate

Themis Security has implemented a living wage rate for all staff. Instead of the provincial minimum wage of $14.60 an hour, Themis Security staff will receive a minimum of $19.40 (before any extended medical benefits). Living wage is determined by the wage needed to be able to meet all basic expenses after taxes and other deductions are taken into account. 
Themis Security Services: member since 2020
Best historic hotel

The Fairmont Empress has been named best historic hotel in the Americas by Historic Hotels Worldwide. The Empress won this honour for its timeless elegance and memorable experiences, operating as a luxury hotel for more than 100 years.
Fairmont Empress: member since 1962
VICA Awards

The 2021 Vancouver Island Construction Association Awards are currently seeking nominations for contractors, subcontractors and other construction industry professionals who have achieved excellence. Nominations are open until April 30.
Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA): member since 1986
Mount Work expansion

The Capital Regional District has bought 12.1 hectares of undeveloped land to expand Mount Work Regional Park. The parcel, purchased for $760,000, is comprised of second-growth Douglas fir trees and rocky bluffs.
Capital Regional District: member since 1993
A Breakfast to Remember

The Alzheimer Society of BC hosts its Breakfast to Remember on March 4. Featuring Chris Hadfield as keynote speaker, the virtual breakfast will raise awareness and funds for dementia research. Read more in the recent article by Douglas Magazine. Stasia Hartley, chair of the Victoria Breakfast to Remember organizing committee, describes the importance of the event.
The Alzheimer Society of BC: member since 2019
Douglas Magazine: member since 2004
Surf and Stone launch new editing service

Surf and Stone Studios has launched their new video editing service. Customers are now able to upload their own videos and have the footage professionally edited, colour graded and more. Surf and Stone Studios will also provide free videography tips in the coming weeks.
Surf and Stone Studios: member since 2021
Camosun Co-Op Student of the Year

Camosun College has selected their Co-op/Internship Student of the Year. Dylan Kaplan, a Bachelor of Business Administration student, received this distinction for his work with his employer overseeing the creation of a communications toolkit, launching a journal newsletter, as well as onboarding new members. Congratulations Dylan!
Camosun College: member since 1981
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