This Thurs, June 8 from 5-7 pm join Prodigy Group for their June Mingle at Whole Foods' restaurant Fin & Pearl. Sign up here!
Breaking News -
Chamber Win on CASL

Punitive damages for emailing that were scheduled to start on July 1st are now suspended.

The Canadian Chamber and BC Chamber had been advocating that CASL be immediately amended to remove the most damaging aspects of the law and be replaced with a more effective law that protects Canadian businesses' ability to communicate and compete in the global digital economy.

Today, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains announced that the Government of Canada will indefinitely suspend implementation of the private right of action provision in Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). The Private Right of Action Provision would have allowed individuals to take legal action against any company which sent them an email they did not want to receive, without proof of damages.

CASL created a provisional period of 3 years where consent to receive commercial electronic messages was deemed to be implied where there was an existing business or non-business relationship. This ends on July 1, 2017 at which point this consent expires. In addition, July 1, 2017 also marks when CASL's "private right of action" comes into force and allows individuals to personally seek damages against business and organizations for spam.
Chamber News
YYJ Eats
Summer Social Series
Business Mixers
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Fort Street Bike Lanes
The updated designs for the proposed protected bike lanes along Fort Street are scheduled to be presented to City Council on June 8 at the City Hall Chambers, starting at 9 am (you can also watch an online webcast of the meeting). 
As both the voice of businesses and a Fort St. business, The Chamber has been part of the City of Victoria's public engagement and stakeholder consultation for this project.
"We will continue to pass on members' concerns and feedback to the City, and help our members stay up-to-date on downtown bike lanes," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. To provide direct feedback to the city, email

Below is a summary of Catherine and Chamber Chair Al Hasham's most recent meeting with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
Mayor Helps on Fort St. Bike Lanes

Chamber Chair Al Hasham and CEO Catherine Holt met with Mayor Helps Wednesday to ask some questions on behalf of Chamber members.  Here's a summary of the meeting:

Chamber:  The Pandora Ave. bike lane has just been opened and businesses, vehicles and cyclists are still adjusting to it.  Could you delay the start of the Fort St lanes until we learn more about the impact of the Pandora lanes and what can be improved?

Mayor Helps: The City wants to get the full 5.2 km network in place so we can achieve a mode shift.  People are not going to move from their car to a bike until they feel they can safely travel around the downtown. So we are not going to delay completing the full network.  

We have made many changes to the Fort Street design to respond to loading/unloading, parking and other business and vehicle requirements. The engineering staff has been as attentive as possible to making it work for everyone along the street.  

For example, I will be proposing an amendment to the plan tomorrow to spend the money required to narrow the sidewalks in the 600-block of Fort Street to preserve an additional 8 parking spots, as requested by businesses in that area.  

Chamber:  Why is Fort Street the preferred location for the bike lane?  Other streets are wider or have less traffic or fewer businesses.

Mayor Helps:  We chose Fort Street because it has less traffic than Yates Street.  Our consultants provided a rationale for the location of the network, which I'll share with you. [ here ]

Chamber:  There is a lot of construction and disruption in traffic in the downtown right now.  If the Fort Street bike lanes were delayed wouldn't that avoid adding to the disruption?

Mayor Helps: We want to achieve the mode shift by getting all parts of the network in place as quickly as possible. Also, the longer we wait the more expensive the project will become.  I agree that there is a lot of construction at the moment and it does affect traffic. Users of Pandora Street are affected by two major construction projects and the bridge construction, that disruption is not caused by the bike lanes.    

Chamber:  What has been the experience of businesses on Pandora Ave. so far regarding the bike lanes?

Mayor Helps: There has been a 50% increase in bike traffic in the morning and, of course, a 100% increase in the evenings as the lane going out of downtown is new.  I've had no negative comments from businesses. One business told me they've had a noticeable increase in customers even though they lost parking spots and were initially very concerned they would lose business.  

Chamber:  What happens next?

Mayor Helps:  We will discuss the plan for Fort Street on Thursday at Committee of the Whole and make a decision at the Council meeting that evening about going to tender for the project. I want construction to start before September. 
Mark Mawhinney
Investment Advisor, Odlum Brown Limited 

What is new with your business?
For the 18th consecutive year, we have been recognized as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies by Deloitte.
How are you involved with The Chamber? I'm a Board director and member of the executive and Chair of the Policy and Government Affairs Committee. What's your favourite Chamber event? Policy Committee activities - great people committed to improving the policy environment for the benefit of our members. Who is your role model or has had the biggest influence on your life? Undoubtedly my father. Tremendous legal career while still being a wonderful father, mentor and friend. What's something people don't know about you? I raised $250,000 to fund a lecture series at UBC's Faculty of Law in my father's name as a thanks to him for being a great dad.

More about Mark - and additional Member Snapshots - can be found inside the May Business Matters.    
Odlum Brown Limited: member since 2004

Patching Up Policing
In Tues's final workshop on VicPD's Community and Business Survey Project, participants  were asked specific questions about the survey and its results
"The top concerns of businesses were listed as drug activity, homelessness and mental health, all areas that are not criminal, but for which we expect police to intervene," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "We need the provincial and federal governments to help our police forces respond to the changing nature of their work. They are keeping the peace in a whole different way now. We need more mental health and addiction treatment services to help carry the load."
The Chamber's policy resolution Safe Communities and Strong Economies - Supporting Policing in BC, asks the province to create common governance and funding models to ensure consistent standards of policing for all municipalities.
"This resolution properly recognizes the challenges associated with our patchwork policing model in BC, particularly here in Greater Victoria," said Del Manak, Acting Chief Constable with the Victoria Police Department. "The current model unfairly places an increased burden on our officers policing the region's only downtown core, and leaves the taxpayers in Victoria and Esquimalt in the position of having to bear full responsibility for policing costs that should be shared regionally."

Last Fri, the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council's (VIATEC) annual awards honoured Greater Victoria best and brightest in tech.

Congrats to our Chamber member winners:
Checkfront - Company of the Year (50+ employees)
Kim Krenzler, RevenueWire - Leader of the Year
Hyas Infosec - Startup of the Year
Scott Phillips, Starfish Medical - Colin Lennox Award Technology Champion
RevenueWire - VIATEC Member of the Year

The theme was Tiki Time Travel - think steam-punk time travel with South Pacific flare. Click here for a full list of winners and here to see the photos. 
VIATEC: member since 1991    
Starfish Medical: member since 2009 
Checkfront: member since 2015 
RevenueWire: member since 2008 
Hyas Infosec Inc: member since 2016 
Keep your most important asset - your people - healthy and well taken care of with the Chambers Plan - the most popular and affordable employee benefits plan in Canada for small business. Click here for more information.
Chamber Members - #Social

Any one who has interacted with a Chamber member knows that we're a very social group. And we're only getting more social - in fact our directory listings boast over 3,900 different ways to connect with our membership.

Over 56% of our members have Facebook on their directory listing and 47% of our members have Twitter. Those are just two of the choices out of the 14 different social media channels available to you for your listing in our directory. The latest two options include: Trip Advisor and Houzz. Are you up to date?

Make sure you take advantage of these options to increase your online presence, improve your SEO and market your business. The best part - besides it being free - you don't need to be a web guru to update your listing. Simply login at The Chamber or send us your social media links and we'll update for you.

Help Shape Greater Victoria's Future

Board of Directors
If you are a Chamber member and want to contribute to the Greater Victoria business community, consider serving on The Chamber's 2018 Board of Directors.

Representing Greater Victoria's business community, The Chamber Board is one of the most influential community boards in the region. Board members oversee the many services The Chamber provides, work with other business leaders, and influence critical issues facing businesses in Greater Victoria.

"Our board represents the increasingly diverse face of Greater Victoria businesses," said Chair Al Hasham. "Help shape the direction of the region's largest and most broadly-based business advocacy group - let's work together to get business done."

Register for the Board Election Information Session on Tue, July 12 or click here for details including key dates, the nomination process and the voting procedure. Or email Peggy Kulmala, Manager of Policy and Public Affairs.  
Members Around Town

Victoria Vision Eye Care bid a fond farewell to the Counting House after 33 years and have opened there new clinic located on the ground floor of the brand-new Escher building. Congrats on your new digs!
Victoria Vision Eye Care: member since 2015
Paul Hawes has been appointed Tourism Victoria's new Chief Marketing and Distribution Officer. Paul brings a wealth of international experience having also worked with Destination Canada and an extensive knowledge of inbound marketing and digital platforms, with a focus on conversion. 
Tourism Victoria: member since 1988    
Victoria Cool Aid Society's first ever Homecoming Gala raised a total of $93,000 Saturday, May 13 at Ship Point. The money will be used to support a variety of programs such as the Casual Labour Pool, volunteer training for dozens of local agencies, housing, emergency shelter, the Downtown Community Centre, dental care and other support services. 
Victoria Cool Aid Society: member since 1976  
Chamber on the Go
Last week, spinning your wheels took on a more positive connotation as CEO Catherine Holt, Graphics and Communications Coordinator Kate Masters, Membership and Marketing Coordinator Emara Angus and Operations Manager Cheryl Wirch-Ryckman all participated in Bike to Work Victoria!

Catherine and Account Rep Peter Miles even had a bike vs car face-off. They both started at Catherine's house, with Peter taking the win by 30 seconds.

But the biggest win was seeing Emara and Cheryl ride their bike in this week as they're not regular riders like Catherine and Kate. We hope to see you both continue!... and Cheryl, you might need a new bike!

Way to go team! Click here to see more photos.
Welcome to Our Newest Members! 

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