March 18, 2020
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
Message from Chamber CEO Catherine Holt
This morning, the federal government made a major announcement of assistance to Canadians to help them manage the economic effects of business closures, lay-offs and self quarantining requested or required by government in response to COVID-19. 
The speed and magnitude of the response from the federal government is indicative of their concern about the impact on individual Canadians and businesses and therefore the national economy. Many countries, especially in Europe, have provided similar assistance to their citizens. The theory is that ensuring the financial health of businesses and their workers through this uncertain time will help speed up the recovery. 
The Chamber urges all business owners to review the package of measures available, which we have summarized below. Talk to your accountant and act early. Most assistance will be available starting in April or May. Some relief is available today, like deferring payment of income tax owing until August, and a temporary subsidy of wages.
We are now waiting for a package of similar measures from the provincial government. We have asked the BC government to not charge late-filing penalties and installment interest on provincial tax payments including the EHT, WCB premiums and PST, starting immediately. And to allow municipalities to not charge late fees on payment of property tax. We also need specific financial help for all businesses affected by the virtual shut down of the tourism and hospitality industry, which includes most of our local private sector businesses.
We are optimistic that help is on its way from the provincial government as they have generally followed close on the heels of Canada in this current situation. 
Please continue to let us know how The Chamber can help you, take care of your mental health as well as your physical health and go for a walk in our beautiful spring weather to help keep this all in perspective. 
Chamber working to keep businesses informed
On Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $82 billion to help Canadians stay afloat during the coming months, promising more funds will be available as needed.

Highlights from the federal announcement today:
Helping small businesses keep their employees – eligible employers will receive a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months – equal to 10% of remuneration during that period. Maximum subsidy is $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. To streamline businesses accessing this benefit immediately, employers can recalculate payroll tax remittances to equal this amount.

Eligible employers are those eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.

Managing cash flow by delaying tax filing – businesses can defer their payment of income tax amounts owing on or after today and before September 2020. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts. Post-assessment GST and Income Tax audits are on hold for the next few weeks. CRA Liaison Officers will be available by phone to confirm details

Accessing stopgap funding – $10 billion of additional support targeted to small and medium-sized businesses is being made available through the Business Credit Availability Program. BDC and EDC are cooperating with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation and tourism.

Banks and financial institutions – Interest rates in Canada were cut to .75% and federal rules were changed to allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending power to the economy.

We will continue to update our website with suggested links for business.
Chamber pleased trade with US stays unimpeded
The Chamber echoes the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's support for the decision to maintain the flow of goods between Canada and the US. On Wednesday morning, the federal government closed the border for non-essential travel.

Maintaining trade is critical to ensuring the stability of our supply chains that support consumers and businesses.
Helpful resources regarding COVID 19
It's not a surprise that many organizations have stepped up during this crisis to help Canadian businesses get through this challenging time.

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has curated a list of videos, including the one at right from KPMG about the importance of evaluating cash flow and working capital during this volatile period to help businesses successfully emerge after the crisis.
Additional Resources
Victoria motion seeks support for businesses
Victoria City Council has a motion on the agenda of tomorrow's meeting asking the municipality to support local businesses who have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The motion directs city staff to look at how Victoria can help sustain and stimulate businesses affected by dramatic downturns in tourism and the requirement for citizens to practise social distancing.
Chamber provides alternative route to health care

With the current pressure on our health care system, don't forget Chamber membership offers another option. If you have Chambers Group Insurance, you can now take advantage of  Teladoc Telemedicine Services    a fast and efficient way of getting the help you need, when you need it.

Members can receive a diagnosis, treatment recommendation, and even be prescribed medicine when necessary. Members can consult a physician about non-urgent medical matters by video conference or by phone, from wherever they are, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Chambers Plan offers the Teladoc Telemedicine service  at no additional charge   to all plan members and their dependents. With the Chambers Group Insurance plan, you can customize an employee benefits plan that meets your needs.

For over 17 years, Jack Insurance and Financial Services has helped Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce members design a Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance plan reflecting the size and requirements of their businesses.
Jack Insurance and Financial Services: Member since 1998
Businesses working together to stay safe
As businesses adapt to rapidly changing conditions, many have chosen to temporarily close their storefronts and offices. This has raised concerns about security and safety, and calls for a change in the focus of Victoria police patrols downtown.

One way businesses can help each other during these times is by working together to monitor their properties and checking in on their neighbours too.
Support local businesses
During this time of social distancing in response to COVID 19, we would like to emphasize the importance of continuing to support local businesses.

Our best advice is to follow the common-sense directions of Provincial Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry — lots of hand washing and self-isolating when sick — and to:

  • Buy gift certificates from your favorite restaurant, shop, barber, etc. This an easy way to help businesses financially now, while saving for the future.

  • Inquire about delivery options from business or through a local courier.

  • Reach out to the local business directly and see if they have any innovative ways to provide their products or services.

There are also many digital ways of supporting local businesses. Leaving a positive review, liking their posts, or giving them a shout out on social media are all effective ways to bring more business to their organization.

Visit our directory for a list of local companies that are eager for your business. Support your family, friends, and community by shopping locally.
Members Around Town
Food delivery helping local business

Uber Canada is now waiving delivery fees for local restaurants and offering free meals to healthcare workers. TUTTI, Greater Victoria’s local food delivery service, is also offering Chamber members exclusive discounts for food delivery. As well at the use of disinfectants and sanitary gloves used by drivers, TUTTI is also implementing the ability for users to select a “no contact” delivery option. If you select this option, the courier will leave the package at the door, and will have no direct contact with you. 
Uber Canada: member since 2019

TUTTI: member since 2018
Camosun marine simulator

A $700,000 state of the art marine simulator has been approved for installation at Camosun College. This upgrade will be made available to 19,000 students, and will provide essential skills for students entering the marine industry. Training capabilities will include ice navigation, bridge team management, and many more. 
Camosun College: member since 1981
Online fitness sessions

In response to COVID-19, MokSana Yoga Centre will be implementing live-stream classes to promote staying active while at home. Annex Fitness will also be continuing to utilize live Instagram workout sessions, including other tools such as a Spotify playlist to stay engaged.
MokSana Yoga Centre: member since 2004
Annex Fitness: member since 2019
New manager at Oak Bay Beach Hotel

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel has named Madone Pelan as their new general manager.

Pelan, who previously served as the hotel's director of sales, will be tasked with expanding the hotel's reputation and utilizing her marketing and hospitality experience to lead the hotel into the future. 
Oak Bay Beach Hotel: member since 2011
Social Media Camp goes virtual

Social Media Camp has announced the implementation of an online solution this year. “Social Media Camp 2020: the Virtual Experience” will be hosted May 6 & 7, and workshops, sessions, and materials will be available from the comfort of your own home. We’re looking forward to this informative weekend! 
Social Media Camp: member since 2012
Is your business implementing new strategies or innovative ways of connecting with consumers?
Welcome to our newest members!
Member to Member discounts
Iris Optometrists and Opticians View Street
Wittich Environmental Services Ltd
Looking to add a Member to Member deal to your online business listing?
Contact for more information.
Need to get one of our snazzy Chamber name tags?