Last Thursday's Business Mixer with Destination Greater Victoria was a great way to kick off 2019! Thank you to everyone who came and a big thanks to the beautiful new Victoria International Marina . Check out the photos here.  
Confusing EHT roll out indicative of poorly planned tax
The Chamber is hoping the provincial government fixes its short-sighted plan to overtax BC businesses when the 2019 budget is announced on Feb. 19.
Until then, business owners will need to deal with the new headache that is the Employer Health Tax.
The EHT officially kicked in on Jan. 1, but many employers are still unsure about the rules around the new tax. The fact the province is still collecting MSP Premiums confuses the rollout of the EHT even more.
As with the speculation tax, the EHT requires you to register with the province. The deadline is May 15, if you are required to pay in installments. For the province's explanation on who must pay installments, click here.
The Chamber continues to advocate for changes to the tax (or, better yet, for it to be scrapped altogether).
The province has so far chosen to rush into implementing the EHT, but, with word that the 2019 budget will reveal a larger than expected surplus, we're hopeful that government will take a fresh look at this tax. How about removing the double taxation in 2019?  
If you have any questions or want more information on The Chamber's efforts to fight the EHT, email Jim Zeeben.  

Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
February Business Mixer
Prodigy Group February Mingle
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Upcoming Chamber Events

Chamber stands up for business at budget town hall
Last Wednesday, The Chamber appeared before Victoria City Council at the 2019 Budget Town Hall.
This was an opportunity for the mayor and council to hear from the public before the city adopts its final budget in February.
The Chamber encouraged Victoria's new councillors to take the time to listen and understand the perspective of business, and the importance of making decisions that encourage investment and a strong regional economy. We specifically asked council to reduce the high rate of commercial property taxes. Business should not pay more than residents for the same services. 
You can watch entire the Town Hall here.
To jump to the presentation by The Chamber:
  • Chamber Chair Dan Dagg starts at 18:40
  • Chamber CEO Catherine Holt starts at 25:00
The secret's out ... privacy is good for business.   
Hear from BC's Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy as he highlights the importance of privacy management for BC businesses and officially launches a new suite of digital products to help BC organizations understand and more easily manage their customers' personal information.
Sponsored by:
Thurs, Mar 7 | 7:30-9 am    
The Union Club of British Columbia
805 Gordon St.

Saanich working to better engage community
Business surveys and a new campaign to engage the community will help the District of Saanich develop a better understanding of priorities for the municipality.
Shaping Saanich is a new initiative that will help council and municipal staff with their financial and strategic planning. The concept grew out of a 2018 engagement campaign called Your Say, Your Way, and will help the municipality communicate more effectively with taxpayers.
Shaping Saanich is an opportunity to provide input for next year's budget. For the 2019 budget, Saanich is planning a series of presentations starting next month. Learn more here.

The District of Saanich: member since 2019
AG extends portal for tips on money laundering 
BC's Attorney General is extending the deadline for the public to share anonymous tips through an online portal, after new information suggests the scale of money laundering in BC is dramatically higher than previously believed.
AG David Eby, who spokes about BC's efforts to fight money laundering at The Chamber's Business Leaders Luncheon on Nov. 7, told the Canadian Press this week he was startled to find that the RCMP and federal government were aware of potentially billions of dollars in cash being laundered. Not only is the amount of money much higher than believed, but the lack of response from the feds is concerning.
"The question I ask myself is why am I reading about this in an international report instead of receiving the information government to government," Eby told CP. "It's those information gaps that organized crime thrives in and we need to do a better job between our governments."
Chamber applauds regional transportation strategy launch
The Chamber applauds the announcement that the City of Victoria is taking the lead on transportation solutions that will help the entire region over the long-term.
On Thursday night at the Victoria Conference Centre, the City hosts the launch of Go Victoria: Our Mobility Future. The event starts at 7 pm, with doors open at 6 pm.  
The Chamber encourages businesses to register for this event and help develop a better strategy for moving people around the region. The guest panel at the launch includes the Senior Director of Transportation Policy for Lyft, Lilly Shoup.  
A regional transportation strategy has been an ongoing advocacy priority for The Chamber. We're encouraged the City of Victoria has heard our concerns and is taking action to develop long-term city-wide strategies.
We're also excited about the opportunity to host Provincial Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena at our Jan. 30 Business Leaders Luncheon. Note that this event is almost sold out, so please purchase your ticket today if you hope to attend.

City of Victoria: member since 1962

Lyft: member since 2017
An alternative route to the Malahat highway?

Find out what's coming down the road in Greater Victoria including transit improvements and green transportation initiatives.

Almost sold out!
Wed, Jan 30 | 11:30 am-1 pm  
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt St.
Sponsored by:

Help SIPP by signing the Smart Mobility Manifesto
The South Island Prosperity Project is a finalist to win $10 million to help create a multimodal transportation plan for Greater Victoria. SIPP is asking everyone who believes Greater Victoria needs shorter commute times, less traffic congestion, less automotive emissions and easier and more affordable transportation options for the entire region, to sign and share a Smart Mobility Manifesto.
"It's all about the #FreedomToMove!" says SIPP's Director of Engagement Bruce Williams. "Help us create a legacy of better and more innovative transportation for the whole community -including speeding up the availability of ride hailing like Uber and Lyft."
You can sign the Smart Mobility Manifesto here.
South Island Prosperity Project: member since 2017 
Members Around Town
Western Forest Products sells share to Huu-ay-aht First Nations 
Western Forest Products has sold 7% ownership interest in its Port Alberni forest operation to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations for $7.2 million. The deal includes Tree Farm License ( TFL) 44 and other associated assets and liabilities. The shared vision of Huu-ay-aht and Western includes a framework for reconciliation and working together to revitalize the Alberni Valley forest sector. That means increased participation of area First Nations through tenure ownership, employment and business opportunities, sustained domestic manufacturing, increased training, effective marketing and value-added product innovation, and strong environmental stewardship.  
Western Forest Products: member since 2016 
Agile non-profits
In the fall of 2018, The Chamber participated in  an Agility Roundtable  facilitated by Grant Thornton which focused on how charities and not-for-profit organizations (CNPOs) have faced shifting market forces that are altering the way they operate. Grant Thornton has released a report about the roundtable to share the ideas.
Grant Thornton: member since 1973      
Fairmont Empress Career Fair 
The Fairmont Empress is holding a job fair tomorrow, Jan, 24 from 9 am-12 pm to fill 100 positions. Named one of 2019's Best Places to Work in Canada by Glassdoor, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is known for its extraordinary reputation, culture and employee satisfaction, with higher than 4 star ratings on Glassdoor and Indeed employee reviews. 
Fairmont Empress: member since 1962
Freezin' For A Reason
The Victoria Police Department and Saanich Police Department are participating in the 2nd annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge on Feb. 17. The police officers will join business leaders and members of community organizations to brave the frigid waters of Willows Beach. To learn how your business can participate click here.  
Victoria Police Department: member since 2008
The Corporation of the District of Saanich: member since 2019
Call for 2019 Business Awards Judges  

If you're interested in becoming an 2019 Greater Victoria Business Awards judge please contact Events Manager Christine Lewis.

You must be available for a full day of judging on Feb. 13 and cannot be associated with any nominees.
The world of social media is constantly changing. The Chamber has once again partnered with Social Media Camp to bring our members the 2019 Social Media Series. Book all three seminars and save!

Tomorrow! Limited tickets left.
In this seminar, we will review the expected social media trends for 2019, what they mean to you and how to leverage them most effectively.
Thu, Jan 24 | 2-4 pm   
The Chamber, 852 Fort St.
Learn the importance of growing a quality network on LinkedIn, three ways to increase your visibility and stay 'top of mind' without being spammy.   
Thu, Feb 28 | 2-4 pm   
The Chamber, 852 Fort St.

Explore how you can leverage social media to provide a personalized experience for your customers.  
Thu, Mar 28 | 2-4 pm   
The Chamber, 852 Fort St. 
New Canadian Food Guide on the Menu
Is your new year's resolution to eat better? Canada just released the new Canadian Food guide with substantial changes to what should make up your meal plan. 
  • More plant-based options, less meat
  • More home-cooked meals, less eating alone
  • Focus on proportions of your plate, less on serving size
  • Choose water over juice and soda
And with great food sources from our member grocery stores and meal prep services you can't go wrong with taking the plan in hand and making some great new choices.
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  

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