Looking good and going strong at 154 years young! On Feb 9, 1863, forward-thinking community leaders first formed what is now the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. 

"As we celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary, it is with great pride that I look back on The Chamber's work over the last 154 years," said Chamber Chair Al Hasham. "We take great pride in what The Chamber has accomplished, and look forward to what is yet to come."

In the spirit of the more things change, the more they stay the same, current Chamber CEO Catherine Holt's great-great-great uncle, James Lowe, was the Chamber Secretary for this auspicious occasion, and carried on to become Chamber President at confederation! More about James Lowe here.
Multiculturalism & Hockey!
In the New York Times article Canada, Leading the Free World, US journalist Nicholas Kristo Canadian Flag Heartf praises Canada for its inviting immigration policy, at a time when "all around the world, countries are slamming the doors shut."
Recent BC Stats reports found that BC will need an extra 20,000 to 32,000 skilled workers annually between 2017 and 2025 to fill projected job vacancies.  As the natural birth rate - the lowest in Canada - declines, increasingly we must look to foreign sources to expand the talent pool. 
Chamber News
Opportunities and connections
Chamber Events
Marketplace Mixer
Chamber Week Events
2017 Seminars
Prodigy Group Mingles
Business Mixers

Office Closure
The Chamber office will be closed Mon, Feb 13 for Family Day. Join us in enjoying all that Greater Victoria has to offer - arts and entertainment, attractions, great food and bevvies, a little recreation or shopping, that lingering home project, or even planning a last minute Valentine's getaway.

We will re-open Tue, Feb 14 at 8:30 am.

Trivia Time! What other Canadian provinces/territories observe Family Day in February? (See answer at end)
Taxes on Employer Health Plans? Nope!

A few weeks ago, The Chamber asked for members' help with contacting MPs and the Finance Minister to oppose the government's proposal to tax employer-sponsored health and dental benefit plans.

On Feb 1, the Prime Minister said in the House of Commons that the government will not be moving forward with the tax . 
"We will continue to monitor developments, but this is very positive news," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. " Thanks to all who heeded our call to action -
the Chamber network has a powerful voice when we all work together."


#yyj Businesses & Residents: Have Your Say!
From bike lanes to park improvements to changing the look and feel of downtown, the City of Victoria is up to a lot these days. To improve the diversity of input received, the City is hosting a workshop Feb 18.

The purpose of the workshop is to map out best ways to keep Victoria residents and businesses informed and included in the City's upcoming projects over the next two years. The workshop is being facilitated by Amelia Shaw, President of the International Association of Public Participation Canada, and Mayor Lisa Helps.

City of Victoria: member since 1962

Building Relationships for 30 years
Owner of Maximum Express Courier,
Al at The Chamber's first Marketplace Mixer in 1988
Freight and Logistics  and Max Furniture, Al Hasham, is celebrating 30 years of being an entrepreneur in Victoria. Al and his brother moved to Victoria in 1987 to start their very first business DanFoss Courier. 30 years later he's involved in a variety of different businesses - the most recent being Cambria College Victoria this year.

"With the help of The Chamber's network I have been able to grow 5 different businesses in Victoria," says Al. "I believe building relationships in the community and giving back to the community are fundamental to the success of a business."

Maximum Express Courier, Freight and Logistics: member since 2004
  Max Furniture: member since 2008

Keep your most important asset - your people - healthy and well taken care of with the Chambers Plan - the most popular employee benefits plan in Canada for small business. Click here for more information.
BC's Economy: Strong & Resilient 
Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and other business leaders from throughout Greater Victoria attended the annual 2017 Economic Outlook Breakfast by PFM Executive Search at the Hotel Grand Pacific last Thursday.  

At the event, Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President of the Business Council of British Columbia, spoke on " British Columbia's Economic Prospects in an Uncertain World"
"Jock's data showing BC's interdependent relationship with Alberta was very interesting," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "His analysis and commentary on BC and Victoria's economic prospects will be very useful in strategic planning."
Members Around Town

Osborn Watts & Co. (OWC) and Collins Barrow Victoria are merging to form a larger firm to offer accounting, assurance, tax and advisory solutions for Greater Victoria clients. The two firms will now be known as Collins Barrow Victoria. Established in 1936, OWC was one of Victoria's oldest accounting firms.

The 23rd annual Victoria Film Festival kicked off its festivities last Friday and runs until Feb 12. Click here to see a full listing of their films.

Dwyer Tax Law has been awarded one of five honorable mentions in a report listing the top five tax law boutiques in Canada. 
Collins Barrow Victoria: member since 1993   
Dwyer Tax Law: member since 1996 
  Victoria Film Festival: member since 2017
Be First to Hear About Budget 2017!

Join us for The Chamber's annual post-budget address with B.C. Finance Minister Michael de Jong. 
Hear about how B.C. plans to invest surplus savings, and find out what province-wide changes could impact our community and your bottom line.

Wed, Feb 22 | 11:15-1 pm
Fairmont Empress
721 Government St. 

Increasing Density in Downtown Victoria

Chard Development Ltd. has submitted a development permit to the Victoria city council for a pair of 21-storey towers in the 800 block of Yates and Johnson streets. If approved, it will be their 7th and the largest project that Chard Development Ltd. has built in Victoria since 2006. 
The aim is to start construction early 2018 and would likely take two years to complete. Plans call for three levels of underground parking for building residents, along with commercial parking with hourly and monthly rates.
Chard Development Ltd.: member since 2008    
Last Chance to Update Your Listing!
Make sure your business info is up to date in The Chamber's online business directory, a powerful tool that helps people find your business while strengthening your online presence. 
  • Is your business name correct? 
  • Is your main contact correct?   
  • Is your address and postal code correct?
  • Is your phone number current?
  • Are there any changes to your website address or social media accounts?
  • Are you still in the right category? 
We ask you to update your directory listing by Feb 9, to ensure your up-to-date listing appears in our most popular publication of the year - the March edition of Business Matters, which includes the compiled membership directory in print for all of our 1,400+ member businesses.

Not sure how to login and update your listing?  Email us and we'll be happy to help. Our online directory listing is a phenomenal tool for promoting your business online and we want to make it work for you.

Want to give your business a little more exposure? Click here to book your ad in this well-read edition.
Make a Difference in the Community
Join the people that get things done!
The Chamber is seeking a dynamic,  self-motivated person to get out and about in the Greater Victoria business world as an Account Representative. This position is responsible for new member sales and working with existing Chamber Members .

  The successful candidate will work with business leaders in a fast-paced, dynamic environment with considerable scope to achieve Chamber membership objectives. The role demands an above average understanding of the needs of small business, the pressures that businesses experience and how best The Chamber can assist and help businesses grow.  Click here for more information or to apply

Trivia Time!
There are five Canadian provinces who observe Family Day in February: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, .

Note: two other provinces have holidays in February: PEI's Islander Day and Manitoba's Louis Riel Day, both celebrated on the 3rd Monday.

Welcome to Our Newest Members! 

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


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