Connect with other Chamber members at our July Business Mixer at Bayview Place  tomorrow evening from 5-7pm. Golf cart shuttles will be depart from the Catherine St. parking lot for your convenience. For directions to the venue click here.

Last week's Prodigy Group Mingle at the Breakwater Barge, hosted by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Breakwater Cafe was a great success. See more smiling faces from the event here.
Building a Solid Cabinet
John Horgan knows the value and quality of island-resources and that showed in his appointments to cabinet for the coming term.

Vancouver Island will have a significant voice at the cabinet table with the following MLAs representing the region:

o    John Horgan, Premier
o    Carole James, Minister of Finance &
Deputy Premier
o    Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture
o    Rob Fleming, Minister of Education
o    Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation
o    Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure

As the government shifts out of caretaker mode and into action, The Chamber looks forward to meeting and working with the new Premier and cabinet to move forward priorities important to our business community and the BC economy.
Chamber News
Summer Social Series
Auction Donations
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
Event Photos
Working from the Trenches       

Do you have a plan for what to do with your business in case of natural disaster?  The state of emergency in the province is a good reminder that every business owner needs a plan now for how best to shut down in the event of a natural disaster and insight into the wide range of issues you may face in trying to reopen.

Saving your business from the consequences of an earthquake, flood or fire is critical not just to you and your employees, but to restoring a community.  When I was on a tour of Fort McMurray last fall, we heard that businesses re-opening was essential to the ability of people to function (groceries, pharmacies, banks) and also to their sense that their community still existed (coffee shops and restaurants, hair stylists and barbers, clothing and entertainment).

Adam Legge, CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce documented the steps their chamber took to help businesses during and following the 2013 flooding disaster. He boiled his lessons learned down into a three step approach:  analyze, mobilize, energize.  His fascinating and informative report "Calgary's Flood Recovery Story - The Business Perspective" is applicable to any place that could face a natural disaster - which is any place. It should be mandatory reading for business owners.  

The British Columbia Economic Development Association (BCEDA) has a list of the top 10 most important steps to prepare businesses for evacuation - also essential reading. The BCEDA has also set up an Economic Disaster Recovery Page with a link to "The Recovery and Resiliency Roadmap - a Toolkit for Economic Preparedness" for more complete information.

Take one thing off your to do list this summer - start your plan. Read these reports and talk to your insurance agent (hopefully a Chamber member like you).  One day you may be very thankful you did. 
 Message from Catherine Holt, CEO, The Chamber 


Mike Shemilt
President, Island Blue Print  
In celebrating Canada's 150th birthday over the summer The Chamber is featuring members that have been in business for over 100 years. Find out their key to longevity and more about their leaders here!

How and when was your business founded? Island Blue Print & Map Co. Ltd. was originally founded 105 years ago on July 4th, 1912, when Mr. Joseph Davenport was awarded a contract to remap the City of Victoria. What is your company's greatest strengths? The staff, many have been with the company for ten, twenty and thirty years, they have such a strong commitment in helping produce the best results for our customers. What was your first job? Along with my brothers, at a very early age our parents had us stuff and lick envelopes every month to get customer statements in the mail. Do you still sell the same product you did 100 years ago? How has it changed over time? Printing of building drawings: originally manually developed using sunlight and liquid developer, today the use of high production digital printers. And we still sell pencils! If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead who would it be? Mr. Davenport, the founder of Island Blue Print, it would be interesting to learn more about the company in its early years when my grandfather worked in the company from 1916-1920. 
More about Mike - and additional Member Snapshots - can be found inside the July Business Matters or on The Chamber's website here.  

Island Blue Print Co Ltd: member since 1961
Sales Down but Prices Up   

Weather wasn't the only thing that cooled down in Victoria in June. Much like the rest of Canada, Victoria experienced a significant drop in house sales, dropping 13.6% from this time last year.

"This year may feel a bit steady and less exciting when compared to last year's record-breaking market,"  says 2017 Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) President Ara Balabanian. "The good news for buyers is that inventory is slowly starting to build."

New inventory is a welcome addition, VREB stats indicate that while the overall number of active listings have declined by 16%, average prices for housing have increased from 13% (condos) to a high of 26% (townhouses) over last year's pricing.

  Victoria Real Estate Board: member since 1969 
Business Leaders Luncheon
Amarjeet Sohi,
Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Prime Minister Trudeau's government is investing
in Canadian communities through its 12-year,
$186-billion long-term infrastructure plan.

Hear from the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, on the details of this plan and how it could affect projects in the Greater Victoria region.

Limited Seating - Book now! 
Tues, August 1 | 11:30 am - 1 pm      
Hotel Grand Pacific
Proudly Sponsored by: 


Bagging a Solution

Last week a round table was hosted by The Chamber and the Retail Council of Canada at the Bay Centre on plans by the City of Victoria to ban single-use plastic bags.

Representatives from the City and CRD listened to the suggestions and concerns voiced by local businesses and stakeholders on the implications of a ban. Suggestions included other measures such as London Drug's "just ask" program which has resulted in a 65% reduction in plastic bag use, just from cashiers asking each customer if a bag was needed and their bag return service. Concerns were voiced about the potential impact of increased costs to both businesses and consumers.

There will be an opportunity for local businesses to meet directly with the mayor and council on the issue this fall and a report is expected to be presented to Council with recommendations in October 2017.


The Bay Centre: member since 1990

City of Victoria: member since 1962
Members Around Town 
Three decades ago the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria decided to build a free arts event for the community. Thirty years later, the Annual TD Art Gallery Paint-In is stronger than ever as one of the most anticipated summer events in Victoria each year, while still retaining its community feel.  More than 30,000 people came out to Moss St. last weekend to celebrate the art community and view dozens of artists at work .

There was something for everyone whether it be the family-friendly beer garden with local favourites like Lighthouse Brewing CO and Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse or  grooving to the live music along the festival street. People also enjoyed delicious food and drinks along the street, including Rogers' Chocolates .

We are already looking forward to next year's highly anticipated event!

TD Canada Trust: member since 1962
Rogers' Chocolates Ltd: member since 1962
Lighthouse Brewing Company: member since 2005 
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria: member since 2007 
Cents on the Dollar
There is no sense in discrimination. Over the last 35 years or so, the gap between men's wages and women's has only closed a mere .10ยข. Apparently, we have not come a long way baby.

The wage gap has many factors beyond employers just looking to get "a bargain for the price". The career paths that tend to have higher numbers of women than men have historically been lower wage positions such as admin, hospitality, cleaning, caregivers and front-line retail/financial workers. Child care also factors into the equation as maternity/paternity leave and schedule shifts to accommodate children still falls heavily on women.

More work needs to be done for pay equity. Overall Canada received a B grade and ranked 10th among 16 countries according to a Conference Board of Canada report. Current studies forecast that Canada will close the wage gap by 2035, well ahead of the forecast for 2044 for all developed countries and 2066 for developing countries.

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Are you a Chamber member? We are.
Here's why.      
We know that our members join The Chamber for different business needs. Over the course of a couple of months, we interviewed several of our valued members from different sectors and career stages. 

We wanted to hear directly from our members about what The Chamber means to them and how they have benefited from membership and all of our offerings.   From exposure, connecting to a larger business community, policy work or mentorship it's unanimous that The Chamber is here to help you and your business succeed.
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