Dan Dagg of The Chamber,  Mina Haghighi of Futurepreneur CanadaMinister Catherine McKenna,
Catherine Holt of The Chamber
Chamber hosts federal ministers
Last Friday, Feb. 8, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau addressed a sold out breakfast, sponsored by PwC Canada . Minister Morneau and Chamber CEO Catherine Holt engaged in a conversation that covered the state of the economy,  housing affordability and money laundering.
Minister Morneau was candid about the trials of working with the U.S. under the Trump administration, and how Canada could be impacted by Brexit.
On Monday, Feb. 11, The Chamber hosted a luncheon sponsored by Futurpreneur Canada, with federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna. After a short speech, McKenna and Chamber CEO Catherine Holt talked about different approaches to taxing pollution, why we need to speak clearly about the risks of climate change and the opportunities for business to lead through innovation.
On Tuesday, Minister McKenna announced a $1.25 million investment over five years in the University of Victoria's Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium.
Click here to see the photos from both Federal Minister events.   
The Chamber also planned to host Federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard on Tuesday, Feb. 12, but the winter storm prevented Minister Jonathan Wilkinson from travelling to Victoria. The luncheon will be rescheduled to March.
Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
February Business Mixer
Prodigy Group March Mingle
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events
Hear Premier John Horgan speak on his government's vision for the Province of British Columbia as well as regional priorities.

Table sponsorships available. More information here.
Sponsored by: 
Tue, Feb 26 | 11:15 am-1:15 pm 
Victoria Conference Centre
720 Douglas St.  

Record snowfall reflects 'global weirding'
This week's snowfall set a record for the
Swan Lake
month of  February in Greater Victoria. The amount of snow and its duration resulted in local school districts cancelling classes for an unprecedented three days in a row.
The impact on the economy is also undeniable due to closed businesses and workers unable to travel to their jobs. The loss in productivity is difficult to measure, though the snowstorm did serve to amplify our region's ongoing struggle with adequate child care resources and transportation options.
The record-setting weather can also be seen as an example of how unexpected conditions are becoming the new normal around the planet. A report published yesterday by Nature Communications includes an interactive map that shows how the climate is forecast to change in North American cities by 2080.
Climate scientists have started to change their language, using the term 'global weirding' rather than global warming, to better reflect what people are actually experiencing.  In this column in the Times Colonist, Chamber CEO Catherine Holt advocates for using more accurate language to describe what is happening to the climate in order to motivate and foster change.  
Members Around Town
WIN adds new donation centre
Victoria Women In Need Community Cooperative (WIN) is relocating its WIN Resale Shop Donation Centre to 555 Ardersier Rd. and are celebrating with a grand opening party on Mar. 1. There is lots of parking making it perfect for one-stop drop for donations of housewares, clothing and furniture. All four of WIN Resale Shops at Westside, Pandora, Cook St, and Langford will continue to operate normally.  
Victoria Women In Need Community Cooperative: member since 1998
HarbourCats management consider Nanaimo 
The ownership group of the Victoria HarbourCats told the West Coast League (WCL) it wants to place a team in Nanaimo, playing out of Serauxmen Stadium. Under league rules, groups can own more than one team as long as each club sets up different baseball operations departments to maintain fairness and competitiveness. This requires an expansion arrangement with the WCL, a user group agreement for Serauxmen Stadium and working with the City of Nanaimo to target a 2020 or 2021 start.
Victoria HarbourCats: member since 2012  
Dragon's Den auditions hit Victoria 
Dragon's Den is calling all aspiring entrepreneurs to present their business pitches for a chance to be featured in the next season. Producers will hit Victoria on Mar. 7 from 10 am-5pm at the Parkside Hotel & Spa in search of the best business ideas in need of a Dragon investment. Read the audition cheat sheet to perfect your pitch.  
Parkside Hotel & Spa: member since 2013  
Workforce housing solution a work in progress
Employers and employees will be heartened by recent efforts to make housing more affordable in Greater Victoria.

The No. 1 concern The Chamber hears from our members continues to be the difficulty employers are having attracting and retaining workers.

The City of Victoria has stepped up with a   $750,000 increase to its affordable housing reserve fund, which will be available at a rate of $10,000 per bedroom to help non-profit housing providers offer lower rents.

"It's a priority for just about everybody. It's a priority for the Chamber of Commerce. It's a priority for Tourism Victoria. It's a priority for VIATEC," Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps told the Times Colonist.
In Langford, a 132-unit housing development was recently completed for people with low to moderate incomes. Residents will be able to move into Millstream Ridge on March 1. The project was funded by the $90 million Regional Housing First Program, a partnership between the federal, provincial and regional governments.

Thirty units are for people who can live independently with supports, 37 are affordable rental units and 65 units are available at near-market rental rates.  
On Feb. 23, the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness is hosting a   town hall in Esquimalt to address the region's housing crisis.

City of Victoria: member since 1962
Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness: member since 2012

March Business Leaders Series
This series features informative breakfast or luncheon presentations by business, government and institutional speakers on various topics.   
BC Ferries has a lot on the go for 2019. For more information on the future of Swartz Bay and on BC Ferries' plans to evolve our coastal ferry system, come to this lunch!  
Sponsored by:
Wed, Mar 6 |11:30 am-1 pm 
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt St.

South Island Prosperity Index Update
The South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) Prosperity Index was developed in 2017 to measure indicators like employment, education, governance, affordability, and innovation. Come and hear what those indicators tell us about 2018.

Tue, Mar 12 | 11:30 am-1 pm  
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt St.
Throne speech promises to make BC more affordable 
The provincial government outlined its goals for 2019 yesterday in the throne speech read by Lt. Gov. Janet Austin.
There was a familiar theme as the speech focused on the struggles of working families. This year's speech stated twice how difficult it is to "get ahead" (the same phrase was used three times in the last throne speech).
The government promised to take action to make housing and child care more affordable. As well, there are plans to improve the oversight of payday loans, cell phone service and the resale of concert and sports tickets. The government is also keeping BC Ferries' rates frozen.
The speech announced that BC will be getting its first poverty reduction strategy, as well as legislation ensuring universal affordable child care.
BC will also introduce legislation implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Not surprisingly, there was no mention of the Employer Health Tax (EHT). Somewhat confusingly, the speech claimed that BC will eliminate MSP premiums this year. However, that change isn't scheduled to take effect until Jan. 1 2020. Meanwhile, the EHT kicked in this year, creating a one-year overlap that The Chamber has declared to be onerous for employers who currently pay MSP for staff. 
We'll find out more specific information about how the government plans to deliver on these promises on BC Budget Day, Feb. 19.
Eby aims to cut costs at ICBC by limiting use of court experts

BC Attorney General David Eby has announced changes to cut back on what he says is the excessive use of experts who drag out court cases.  
In 2017, an investigation by the Globe and Mail found the assessments of motor vehicle injuries, provided by doctors in Ontario and BC, cost $240 million.
That investigation is cited as one of the reasons Eby is changing BC Supreme Court civil rules, effective Feb. 1 2020, to encourage earlier settlements. Vehicle injury claims have increased by 43% in the past five years, while the increased use of experts has contributed to a 20% increase in ICBC's litigated injury settlements over the last year, says the government.
ICBC is expected to take a loss of $1.18 billion this year.
Freedom Mobile launches in YYJ 
After The Chamber's breakfast with Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Paul McAleese, president of Shaw's wireless division,
alongside Minister Morneau, announced Shaw is expanding Freedom Mobile's network to include Victoria and Red Deer, Alta.      
Freedom Mobile's launch in these markets comes after significant investments to upgrade and expand their network, including the ongoing deployment of Extended Range LTE 700 MHz spectrum which began in October 2018. This year, Freedom Mobile will be expanding to a total of 15 new communities in BC, Alberta and Ontario, providing 1.3 million more Canadians with wireless options.
Shaw: member since 2010  
This is an excellent opportunity for members and prospective members to establish or renew valuable business relationships.  
Thurs, Feb 21 | 5-7 pm
Hosted by PARC Retirement Living at the Royal Theatre 
805 Broughton St.

WorkBC improvements
Changes to WorkBC will offer better services for people who need support to re-enter the workforce, access training opportunities and find good jobs.

Service improvements under the new model include:
  • increasing the number of WorkBC centres to 103 locations, up from 84
  • moving to an outcome-based funding model that makes people's success in the job market a priority for service providers
  • extending eligibility for specialized WorkBC services to anyone who has paid into employment insurance (EI) for five of the last 10 years and removing EI eligibility barriers
  • See the complete list here.
WorkBC centres are operated by not-for-profit, for-profit and public organizations that specialize in employment services. More than 150 organizations deliver WorkBC services in BC, supporting more than 50,000 people each year. The Work BC locations in Victoria are administered by GT Hiring Solutions.

GT Hiring Solutions: member since 2006
Family Day activities
Family Day is just around the corner. Exciting news,  the BC Province has funded free activities around BC in celebration of Family Day on Monday, Feb 18. Here are some activities   happening around town:
Join us in enjoying all that Greater Victoria has to offer - arts and entertainment, attractions, great food and bevvies, a little shopping, that lingering home project, or even planning a last minute getaway .

The Chamber office will be closed Monday, Feb. 18.
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  

Chamber Name Tags
In response to members' requests, The Chamber has redesigned the name tags Chamber members can purchase. We increased the prominence of your business name while keeping your name clearly visible.

Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber Name tags? Email us to order yours today.