City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps addresses Chamber members at the 2017 AGM.
Join us on May 1st for our upcoming AGM & Mayoral Address sponsored by Bayview Place. Hear about recent Chamber wins, 2018 advocacy priorities, the 2017 Year in Review and listen to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps' annual address to our members. Sign up now - only 10 tickets left!
Win for business as Victoria moves to balance tax rates
The City of Victoria is voting tomorrow on tax rates for 2018, and The Chamber is encouraged that the Mayor and Council have acknowledged businesses cannot be expected to keep paying significantly higher rates than residents.

At the April 19 Committee of the Whole meeting, Council voted 6-2 to limit the property tax rate increase for business to 1.1%, and 4% for residents.

"We're all in this together and I think this is a balanced approach," Mayor Lisa Helps said at the meeting.

The increase translates into an extra $75 for the average business property ($585,000), and $94 for the average residential property ($743,000).

"The Chamber is concerned about the tax rate for business being many times higher than that for residents," says Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "We are equally concerned that not addressing this inequality will translate into higher tax rates for business each year, as residential property values increase relative to commercial property values."

There is still work to do with Greater Victoria's other municipalities but the City of Victoria deserves applause for making a better choice for business.

City of Victoria: member since 1962 
Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
AGM & Mayoral Address
Premier John Horgan Luncheon
Governor of the Bank of Canada Luncheon
Member Networking Breakfast
YYJ Eats
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
Event Photos
The Chamber supports call to amend Infant Act
On behalf of our members, The Chamber wishes to express our heartfelt condolences to the parents of Elliot Eurchuk, and we strongly support their call for amendments to the BC Infant Act.

Elliot's mother Rachel Staples, also a Chamber member,  wants the Act to be changed to allow parents to play a role in their child's health care. The Infant Act allows children over 15 to consent to medical treatment without telling their parents, if a health-care provider supports the treatment and the child understands the potential risks and benefits. However, using opioids to manage pain, as Elliot was, is known to be difficult even for adults. Elliot died on April 20 from a suspected accidental overdose. His parents shared his story in an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of opioids and the added risk created by the Infant Act.

One of the Chamber's advocacy priorities is Safe Communities and we agree with Elliot's parents that the Infant Act needs to be amended so families can better help children trying to manage potentially addictive treatments. This is another step that can be taken to fight the opioid epidemic affecting our community. The Chamber is interested in hearing a public response on this issue from Island Health.   
Join the Greater Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, WestShore, Sooke Region and Esquimalt Chambers to hear Premier John Horgan speak on his government's vision for the Province of British Columbia as well as regional priorities.
Sponsored by:
Tue, May 15 | 11:15 am-1 pm 
Crystal Gardens , 720 Douglas St.  

The Chamber's New Co-op Student!
The Chamber is pleased to welcome Thomas Zeran as our new Events Assistant. He will be working on getting donations for the 36th Annual Dinner Auction Gala and assisting on other events throughout the summer.

Thomas has recently completed his third year of studies at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at UVic, focusing on a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a specialization in International Business. Apart from education, Thomas has a passion for night photography and hiking, and is frequently exploring Vancouver Island in his free time. In the fall, Thomas will be studying abroad in Aarhus, Denmark.

Thomas is extremely excited to start his role as an Events Assistant, and is looking forward to working with our members. Feel free to connect with Thomas at the next Chamber event, on LinkedIn, by email or phone at 250-953-6684 to discuss donation opportunities.  
Hippest in Canada
According to MoveHub's "Hipster Index" Victoria is Canada's hippest city and is ranked 88th in the world. Kelowna is the second most hip city in Canada, coming in at 114th globally.

MoveHub came up with its findings by comparing the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo parlours, vintage boutiques and record stores per 100,000 residents in 446 cities in 20 countries. Topping the list was the English seaside city Brighton and Hove, which edged out Portland, Ore. Salt Lake City was third and Seattle fourth.

Province announces rental zoning, closes pre-sale condo loophole
The Province announced Tuesday plans to better track who is buying pre-sale condos to ensure they pay appropriate taxes if they sell their units before they are built.

"For too long, people who resell condos before they have been built have been inflating real estate prices, without necessarily paying taxes on their gains," said Carole James, Minister of Finance. "We are making it fairer for people who want to buy a condo, by making sure those who flip pre-sale condos are paying their fair share."

As part of the same announcement, the Province introduced new tools for municipalities that will allow them to create zones that are exclusively for rental housing.

"Victoria is a renter's city and, as such, purpose-built rental housing represents a key element of the City of Victoria's Housing Strategy," said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. "The ability to use the power of zoning to support the maintenance, expansion and revitalization of this vital housing form offers us an important tool in meeting our affordable housing goals."

Members Around Town

The architect behind PARC  
Rainer Müller, founder and chairman of PARC Retirement Living, was recently profiled in Business in Vancouver. PARC employs roughly 250 throughout its four retirement communities in North and West Vancouver and Burnaby, which provide 531 independent living suites. Rainer discusses the challenges with finding appropriate properties, infusing the latest technology into PARC's retirement homes and more. PARC is planning another four retirement communities scheduled to open between 2019 and 2024 in White Rock, Victoria, Kelowna and Coquitlam. 
PARC Retirement Living: member since 2016
Rising star award 
CPHR BC & Yukon celebrates leaders who inspire above-average professional people practices and is pleased to introduce the finalists for the 2018 Professional Awards. Tierra Madani, Human Resources Manager at Vancouver Island Brewing, is a finalist for the Rising Star Award
   Vancouver Island Brewing: member since 1993 
CPHR BC & Yukon: member since 2016
Top 20 under 40 
A big congrats goes out to Kyara Kahakauwila, from L.A. Limousines Inc. who placed in the top 20 at the Top 20 under 40 Awards ! Kyara helped to grow L.A. Limousines Inc. from six cars in 2000, to 20 cars today. She also developed Luxury Wine Tours Inc., adding another layer of client experience to the company.
L.A. Limousines Inc.: member since 2013
DVBA new executive director
The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) has hired Jeff Bray as its Executive Director. Jeff, who had been acting as interim Executive Director since December 2017, accepted the offer and started a permanent role Friday, April 20th. The DVBA offered Bray the position after conducting an extensive, nation-wide search to fill this position.
Downtown Victoria Business Association: member since 2007 

BYO Bag Victoria!
Starting July 1st, the City of Victoria 's Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw comes into effect, meaning businesses cannot provide customers with single-use plastic checkout bags. 

This new bylaw intends to reduce plastic bag litter and waste in our community and our landfill.

The City will be encouraging people to always bring their own reusable bags. A Retail Toolkit has been prepared to provide businesses with communication material to help transition to the new regulation. While residents and visitors are encouraged to bring their own bags, paper or reusable checkout bags may still be provided for a minimum charge as described in the bylaw.

Local businesses are invited to attend one of the following information sessions to learn more about the new bylaw:
  • General Retailers
    • Monday, May 14, 5 - 6 p.m., City Hall Antechamber
    • Monday, May 28, 9 - 10 a.m., City Hall Antechamber
  • Restaurants
    • Monday, May 28, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m., City Hall Antechamber
Download the Retail Toolkit to learn more. 

City of Victoria: member since 1962 
Take The Chamber's Membership Survey!
In less than five minutes, you can share your thoughts on your Chamber membership by taking our Membership Matters Survey.

Your Chamber membership provides you with discounts on our benefit programs, opportunities to connect with the business community and supports your business through its advocacy efforts. Are you getting your full membership value? 

Help us help you! Enter to win round-trip flights to Vancouver for two from Helijet
or two tickets to YYJ Eats by completing the survey.
Changes at BC Transit
BC Transit is implementing real-time bus location technology in select communities across the province. NextRide uses Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) to provide customers with real-time data on the location of their bus and its predicted arrival time at a stop. On board the buses, passengers will now be able to see and hear upcoming stop information. Select major bus terminals will have wayside passenger information displays that will also visually display anticipated arrival times.

The AVL technology is coming to seven communities, beginning next month in Nanaimo and followed by the Comox Valley in June, Squamish and Whistler in summer, Kamloops and Kelowna in the fall, and Greater Victoria in winter 2018-19.

Today, April 25, it was announced that Manuel Achadinha has left his position as BC Transit's President and CEO. Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit's Vice President of Business Development and Chief Transformation Officer, will be taking on the role of interim CEO while BC Transit conducts a search for a new CEO.

BC Transit: member since 1999  

Full Bursaries Available for a limited time, for qualifying companies.

Participating organizations experienced an average international sales growth of 70% within one year of completing the program, penetrated new markets, and grew their workforce to meet increased global demand. Click here to watch a video on how TAP can help your business.

By enrolling in TAP Canada you can:
  • Navigate complexities of the global trade ecosystem
  • Leverage Canada's deep trade and investment resources
  • Access tailored, face-to-face coaching and advice
  • Learn about international best practices
This is a 4 day course held over a 6 week period. Victoria Course Dates are June 19,
June 20, June 26 and July 24. Click here for more details.
People magazine features Chamber member
West Wing star Dulé Hill's married Jazmyn Simon in Guatemala and Victoria-based Chamber member FunkyTown Photography was there to capture the special day. The photos are currently being feature in People Magazine's latest issue.

"We are beyond excited, honoured and thrilled to have been a part of Jazmyn Simon & Dulé Hill's spectacular destination wedding at las Capuchinas in our favourite city of Antigua, Guatemala! (and, yes, these two are as nice, charming and amazing as they look!)," Christina Craft & Derek Mohninger of FunkyTown Photography said on Facebook.

FunkyTown Photography will be shooting The Chamber's 2018 Greater Victoria Business Awards Thursday, May 10.

Funkytown Photography: member since 2016

Sitting is the New Smoking

We've all heard the phrase, sitting is the new smoking and according to the Washington Post, sitting all day can be hazardous to your healthBut many of us have jobs where we spend most of our time sitting at a desk, in fact, Canadians on average sit 10 hours a day. So what can you do to prevent the negative effects of sitting all day?

We've compiled a list of preventive measures to help you stay healthy at your desk:
  1. Stand up. Make sure you take a movement break every 30 minutes. Adjustable sit-stand desks are a great way to get out of your chair while staying productive.
  2. Stretch. Try stretching a few times throughout the day - you can even stretch at your desk.
  3. Get tune-ups. Support your health with regular visits to a chiropractor, massage therapist, physiotherapist, acupuncturist and naturopath.
  4. Find reasons to stand. Propose a stand-up meeting, not only will this get you out of a chair, the increase in blood flow will help with the flow of ideas and keep the meeting brief. Attend a networking event where you can build connections and stand at the same time!
  5. Exercise when you're not at work. Hit the gym before or after work, start taking an exercise class, walk or bike to work - the opportunities are endless!
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  
Chamber Name Tags
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