Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
June 23, 2021
Nominations now open for the 2022-2023 Board
Each fall, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce holds an election for new board members. Each board member is elected for a two-year term with staggered renewal dates. This year, four (4) board positions are up for election and we're looking for great nominees like you.
Our influential board works with decision-makers at all levels of government to support our region’s businesses and maximize the value of membership with The Chamber.

Click here for key dates, the nomination process and the voting procedure. Download your application, including a request for a bio and photo for the election ballot — as well as a form to gather your nomination supporters. Additional questions can be directed here.

Nominations close Thursday, July 29 at noon.
Data shows economic recovery underway
Rather than let perception become reality, we need facts and data to help all of us make better choices for our communities and economy.

Last Friday, The Chamber partnered with the City of Victoria and the Downtown Victoria Business Association to release a series of data sets showing positive signs of economic recovery, especially in downtown Victoria.

“The increase in the number of film permits and the value of construction are good indicators of how attractive Greater Victoria is to people wanting to do business here,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. “We see in the data that people are returning to typical levels of activity. We also know there is tremendous pent-up demand to visit our region and for locals to get back to dining inside, going to the movies and theatre and attending concerts and sporting events. We’re ready to go, as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

The information shows that going downtown is a safe and vibrant option as we emerge from pandemic restrictions.
Downtown Victoria Business Association Member since 2007
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Including Indigenous businesses benefits all of us
On Monday, The Chamber celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day on social media, and we continue to look for new ways to support Indigenous-owned businesses in Greater Victoria.

Next week, we will announce a special initiative to help more Indigenous businesses benefit from being part of our region's business community. The Chamber is committed to being an inclusive organization and making sure we live up to our vision of being the region’s most diverse and influential business association.
Coalition demands urgent action on cruise ships
The federal government needs to be loud and clear about how the $4.3 billion cruise industry will be able to get back to business in Canada. The Chamber is part of a coalition of industry and community leaders calling for a roadmap showing how and when cruises can resume and get back to contributing to Canada's economy. The cruise industry employs 17,000 people in BC whose livelihoods could be at risk if government doesn't act quickly. Cruise lines and passengers are already planning trips in 2022, and they need to know that Canada will be open for business.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and The Chamber are concerned that lobbyists in the United States will succeed in removing the requirement for cruise ships to stop in Canada when travelling between Washington State and Alaska. The US government has temporary suspended the requirement during the pandemic because of Canada's restrictions on cruise. However, the lack of a clear plan could lead to the change becoming permanent.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: Member since 2003
It was this group's lucky day at Spinnakers Brewpub when Chamber CEO Bruce Williams picked up the tab, courtesy of Vancity live on The Upside with CHEK News.
Enjoy the upcoming sunshine with the Greater Victoria Picnics & Patios contest!
Do you want your next patio outing paid for? From now until June 30, visit a participating #PicnicsPatiosVicBC restaurant on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for your chance to have your tab picked up by one of our community partners! Courtesy of our contest sponsor Vancity.

The Chamber is proud to work with our partners — BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, City of Victoria, Destination Greater Victoria, Downtown Victoria Business Association — as we continue to show support for the hospitality industry and take a moment to savour delicious food and drinks across the region.

Learn more about this initiative and find great local restaurants here
BC Restaurant & Food Services Association (BCRFA): Member since 1996
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
Downtown Victoria Business Association: Member since 2007
City asks for input on Government Street refresh
What will the future hold for one of Greater Victoria's most iconic streetscapes? The City of Victoria is inviting the public to help shape Government Street, which looks much the same as it did 50 years ago. The time-worn benches, aging traffic signals and mature trees are nearing the end of their useful lives. The need to upgrade provides an opportunity to ensure the popular tourism spot meets the needs of the region for the next 50 years.

The first of three phases involves gathering public input for a design concept that will be shared with the community in the fall. The concept will be refined and go back for more public feedback in January 2022 before a final concept is presented to City Council.

The deadline for the first phase is July 11. You can submit ideas and images at
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
BC's plan to help Island businesses bounce forward
Chamber CEO Bruce Williams hosted Hon. George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Hon. Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, to discuss helping all British Columbians live healthy and productive lives.
Support for local business high, Interac survey finds
Interac recently released results from a Canada-wide survey seeking to "better understand trends related to the post-pandemic recovery."

Half of Canadians said they were willing to pay more to support small businesses rather than an online-only retailer, and the pandemic has accelerated adoption of digital transactions.  A few highlights:
  • 58% of British Columbians are shopping more at local retailers to support local businesses.
  • During the pandemic, there has been a 43.2% increase year-over-year in the use of e-Transfer
  • 3 in 4 British Columbians agree being in control of spending makes them feel more optimistic about their financial future.
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
A chat with the Base Commander
One of the largest employers in this region is largely unseen. With 6,500 employees and a local spending impact of $611.3 million, they are a driving force. They are in fact an Armed Force and a division of the Department of National Defence.

In the latest Chamber Chat, hear details of CFB Esquimalt from Base Commander Captain (Navy) Sam Sader
CFB Esquimalt: Member Since: 1979
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Are you looking for your next opportunity in event management?
The Chamber invites you to lead our team and help build out 60 to 80 events annually as our Events Manager.

The Chamber’s Vision is to be the region’s most diverse and influential business association. We are committed to being an inclusive workplace, building a respectful team that values the diversity of the people we hire and serve.

Days at The Chamber are lively with lots of variety in both projects and opportunities to grow your skills and network. For more information on what we’re looking for in our next Events Manager, click here.
Updating relationships in your new Member Portal
Keeping your employees engaged and up to date in the new Chamber Membership Portal has never been easier!

Next time you login to your Member Portal, click on the relationships tab to see which members of your staff are currently related to your organization.

From here you can add/remove profiles, choose who has editing privileges, who receives Chamber newsletters, invoices and more. You can also update your employees email, phone number, or other personal information by scrolling over to the Actions tab and clicking “Edit”.

If you have any questions about your new Membership Portal, please contact Thomas at [email protected].
Member News
Victoria Native Friendship Centre receives house as donation

The Victoria Native Friendship Centre was bequeathed a large property in the District of Oak Bay. The house, donated by 85-year-old Marion Cumming, is one of many properties donated to Indigenous groups across Canada by Cumming and her late husband Bruce. Oak Bay hasn't announced how the property will be used, but ideas include for an artist in residence or board retreat space.
Victoria Native Friendship Centre: Member since 2019
District of Oak Bay: Member since 2021
Outside the Lines

We the West Basketball Festival has begun a court mural project at Horner Park in the District of Saanich. The court, being created with support from You Move Me, is the first of 10 murals that will be completed across the CRD this summer. The murals aim to brighten public spaces while instilling a love of basketball in residents. 
We the West Basketball Festival: Member since 2020
Corporation of the District of Saanich: Member since 2019
You Move Me - Vancouver Island: Member since 2016
Capital Regional District (CRD): Member since 1993
Annual scholarship for Indigenous youth

For the month of July, Cold Comfort Ice Cream is collecting 5% of sales from their Can Canteen walk-up window to go towards an annual scholarship for local Indigenous high school students. The fund will be available year-round for donations.

Cold Comfort Ice Cream: Member since 2017
Oak Bay Marine Group appoints new CEO

Brook Castelsky has been appointed as the new CEO of the Oak Bay Marine Group. Castelsky — an employee of Oak Bay Marine Group for 21 years — spearheaded projects related to hospitality and tourism. He previously oversaw international development in the Bahamas, and served as COO of the Oak Bay Marine Group for six years.
Oak Bay Marine Group: Member since 1969
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you
Affordable condos on the rise

A proposal for two residential buildings by Mike Geric Construction has cleared public hearing. The development is planned for the edge of Elk/Beaver Lake in the District of Saanich.

Plans call for 242 condos, with 43 sold at 15% below the appraised value to create more affordable options for the local workforce. The 11-storey condominium could start construction as early as next year.
Mike Geric Construction Ltd: Member since 2017
Mike Geric Construction Ltd: Chamber Champion since 2021
Corporation of the District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Leading a new lagoon layout

The City of Colwood has unveiled new development plans for the Esquimalt Lagoon. Featuring a small craft dock and improved walkways, the plans have a focus on improving connections between the lagoon and Royal Roads University.
The 10-year project will be reviewed at the next public council meeting on July 12.
City of Colwood: Member since 2020
Royal Roads University: Member since 1996
2021 Gustavson Brand Trust Index

The University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business has released the 2021 Gustavson Brand Trust Index, an in-depth analysis on how Canadian consumers perceive well-known brands. This year, TELUS was rated as the most trusted Telecoms/Cable company, Fairmont was the most trusted hotel and Best Buy was the most trusted electronics company.

Overall, Costco Wholesale has been ranked as the sixth most trusted brand, while Canadian Tire was ranked as the 10th most trusted brand in Canada.
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2021
TELUS Communications | TELUS Business: Member since 1962
TELUS Communications | TELUS Business: Chamber Champion since 2020
Fairmont Empress: Member since 1962
Best Buy – Uptown: Member since 2019
Costco Wholesale Langford: Member since 1998
Canadian Tire Hillside: Member since 2018
Welcome to our newest Member!