Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
September 16, 2020
Join the celebration! Dine-in with The Chamber
Join in the celebration and dine-in with a special award menu options from Chamber members below. Thank you for choosing to support Chamber members.
BC approves municipal bans on single-use plastics
The Chamber applauds the provincial government's decision last week to approve municipal bylaws banning single-use plastics in Victoria, Saanich and other BC municipalities.

The move follows what many businesses have been doing for years as they react to public demand to reduce waste and show leadership in the fight against climate change. The Chamber worked extensively with the City of Victoria on its bylaw, helping officials understand the innovations already in place. Those efforts were key to ensuring the rollout of the rules were well-received.

The Chamber also successfully advocated that the same regulations be copied by other municipalities — including the District of Saanich — to ensure a seamless process for regional retailers and shoppers.
Province expanding recycling to include milk jugs
At the same announcement, the provincial government said it was looking to ban single-use plastics throughout BC. As well, a new 10-cent minimum deposit on all beverage containers was introduced and, for the first time, milk containers will be added to the deposit and refund system.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Victoria by-election might be delayed until spring
Voters in Victoria might need to hold on a little longer to have a say in who will fill the vacant seat on city council. Citing the challenges of going to the polls during a pandemic, city staff are saying they don't have enough time or capacity to ensure a safe by-election this fall.

"At this point, timelines are challenging to predict," says the staff report, which goes to council tomorrow. "It is possible that a by-election may not be able to be safely planned and delivered until Q1 of 2021."

The Chamber will monitor the situation as it is vital that the democratic process carry on, especially as other BC municipalities have found a way to schedule their own by-elections for this fall.
Arena shelter closing; new rules for encampments
There have been a couple of developments this week regarding housing for people who are homeless in downtown Victoria. On Monday, Victoria council passed a bylaw limiting the size and location of temporary shelters in the city. The change will mean fewer people in encampments, and prohibit tents within 50 metres of schools.

Council also expanded the list of parks where camping is prohibited, and, announced that, 30 days after the provincial state of emergency ends, people will no longer be allowed to camp during the day. The rule is already in place but has been suspended during the pandemic.

As well, according to reports, BC Housing has said it won't be extending its agreement to house people in Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena after Sept. 30. People who have been sheltering in the arena will move into newly renovated lodging at Paul's Motor Inn, which the province announced it had purchased in June.
Saanich seeks input on lowering speed limit
The District of Saanich is looking for input as it moves forward on a plan to lower the speed limit on residential roads. Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes proposed the reduced speeds earlier this year, as a way to make streets safer.

BC's Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure allows for local communities to submit pilot projects that improve road travel for British Columbians.

"As a result, District of Saanich staff are leading a collaborative initiative with several other Capital Region municipalities to apply for a three-year pilot project that would set the default speed limit to 40 km/h on streets without a continuous yellow centre line," said Troy McKay, Saanich's Senior Manager of Transportation and Development Services in a letter shared with The Chamber.

Send your feedback to, and we will share your thoughts with Saanich.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
How working from home affects your tax return
If you're wondering how working from home will impact your tax deductions, you're not alone. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), in consultation with the Canadian Chamber, is looking at expenses incurred by staff who worked — or are still working from home — and how to create a way to efficiently apply for deductions on personal returns.

Paul van Koll, who serves on our Chamber Board of Directors and is a Partner at Dusanj and Wirk Chartered Professional Accountants was part of one of several recent Chamber roundtables with the CRA.

Still in the feedback stages, areas coming under discussion include the best way to document that staff was required to work from home, whether a T2200 Declaration of Conditions of Employment is required from an employer and if there is a minimum duration for time spent working from home as well as the split between hours spent working at home versus in the office.

If you have any feedback you'd like us to pass along to the CRA, please email Right now, the only thing we can say with absolute certainty is keep your receipts.
Dusanj & Wirk Chartered Professional Accountants: member since 2011
Restaurant industry asks PHO to reconsider last call
The Chamber is a strong supporter of BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and we are proud of all our members who have dutifully followed her advice.

Among those are many of our restaurants, pubs and cafes that have gone above and beyond to keep their customers and our community safe. Which is why we share concerns expressed by the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association, through the Business Technical Advisory Panel (Liquor Policy). On Sept. 8, Dr. Henry verbally ordered the closure of bars and banquet halls, and called for liquor sales to end by 10 pm (among a list of restrictions).

For many operators, money earned in the last few hours of the evening is the difference between being able to make ends meet and shutting down the business.

A more effective approach would be to address specific situations and enforce problematic behaviour. As the panel's letter notes, why punish a business providing wine to a couple in Victoria on a late-night date because a small group of people in Vancouver are breaking the rules?
BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association: member since 1996
EI premiums unchanged, but concerns over Bill 23
Good news for employers as Employment Insurance premiums for 2021 and 2022 are being frozen at the 2020 level. The federal government made the announcement this week. The maximum insurable earnings are going up by $1,100 next year to $56,300.

Self-employed Canadians who opt into the EI program will be required to earn $7,555 to file a claim in 2021.

As the economy recovers, governments can't burden businesses with added costs such as increased premiums. The Chamber is working with our advocacy partners to make sure the provincial government understands this when it comes to WorkSafeBC premiums.

Recent changes to the Workers Compensation Act (Bill 23) are problematic because they make it easier for employees to make a compensation claim if they contract COVID-19 with little to no burden of proof that it was work related. The goal of reducing the risk is good, but the concern is that it will unfairly drive up costs and increase premiums shifting public healthcare costs to employers.
WorkSafeBC: member since 2006
Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem says Canada facing a 'slow and choppy economic recovery'
Tiff Macklem, Governor of the Bank of Canada, held a special interactive event on Sept. 10 to share insights into the state of the economy.

Macklem said the bank will keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future. The rate is tied to inflation, which is expected to stay at close to zero for some time.

By maintaining low interest rates, the bank hopes to make borrowing more affordable and support consumer spending and business investment. The idea is help the economy grow and create jobs that lessen the need for government relief.

"Given the depth of the economic hole, it’s clear much of this support will be needed for some time," said a statement issued by the bank after the speech.
Tiff Macklem
Governor of the Bank of Canada
Ten candidates for six openings on Chamber 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 we are asking you to elect six (6) board members.

Election ballots have been emailed to the main contact for your organization and we need your help in selecting next year's board. Voting closes noon Thursday, Oct. 1.
Do you want to be on a Chamber committee?
The Chamber has a number of active and engaged committees that report to our Board of Directors. A key reason for the success of our board committees is the involvement of our Chamber members as volunteer committee members.
Each year, there are a few openings on our committees for new members. We are recruiting now for members who will be available starting on January 1, 2021 for at least a two-year term. Here are our committees:
  • The Ambassador Committee
  • The Finance and Audit Committee
  • The Prodigy Group
  • The Public Policy and Advocacy Committee

The opportunity to apply for any of the above committees is open until Oct. 11.
At the end of the application period, the chair of the committee will review your application and you will be contacted by email or phone.
Getting you back to business
COVID-19: The Road to Recovery
Hear from BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins on their recovery plan to safeguard the coastal ferry service for the long term and provide essential services to customers and communities.
Registrants will also receive access to the recording post-event.
HR Best Practices in Uncertain Times
In this seminar, Denise Lloyd, Chief Engagement Officer of Engaged HR will examine 5 key questions that employers need to know as we head into the fall season of COVID-19.

After the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to share concerns and ask questions.

Registrants will also receive access to the recording post-event.
Thurs, Oct. 8 | 12-1 pm
Trade Accelerator Program
Take your business to the next level!
One week left to apply
Apply for the Trade Accelerator Program today (partial bursaries available for a limited time, for qualifying companies).

New trade agreements and a competitive Canadian dollar make it an ideal time to extend your company's reach through the export of goods and services.

The Trade Accelerator Program is designed to help SMEs TAP into their full export potential. It has a proven track record helping participants get results.
Just six months after graduating the program:

• On average, export revenue increased by 28%

• Participants forecast their export sales to grow 47% over the next 5 years

Deadline to apply for the fall session is Sept. 30, 2020.

Have questions? Call TAP B.C. Team on 604-640-5491 or email
Chamber job board
If you're an employer looking for your next great hire, make sure to post your career opportunities on the Chamber job board.

The job board is an exclusive benefit of Chamber membership.

If you have any difficulty posting, email

We will get back to you within one business day. We know how important hiring the right person can be.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Current Job Listings:
Never too late for spring-cleaning
Did you miss your spring-cleaning opportunity this year? There’s no time like the present to tidy your surroundings and prepare for a productive fall and winter.
Many Chamber members are still offering cleaning options for offices, including disinfecting services, janitorial services, and industrial steam cleaning. And as you reduce, reuse and recycle you'll feel invigorated.

Make sure you don’t neglect cleaning your carpets, rugs, or upholstery!
Still working from home? Check out Chamber member house cleaning services to ensure your home is cleaned efficiently and safely. 
Members Around Town
Brunch at The Mint
In response to the recent provincial health mandate, The Mint Restaurant has expanded its food services and is now offering brunch. Available from Saturday to Monday, 11am to 3pm, menu items include huevos rancheros, breakfast sandwiches and much more.

The Mint: member since 2006
Back to the skies

Pacific Coastal Airlines will be resuming service between Prince George (YXS) and Victoria International Airport on Oct. 4. The route will begin with three weekly flights, and will be adjusted as demand increases.
Pacific Coastal Airlines: member since 2006
Victoria Airport Authority: member since 1981
CHEK ready for their close-up thanks to Caorda

Caorda Web Solutions has recently completed a web project to modernize the CHEK News website. The new site aims to efficiently communicate stories, while implementing Search Engine Optimization strategies. With a shift from text to video stories, the project also revitalized CHEK’s ad delivery platform.
Caorda Web Solutions: member since 2007
CHEK News: member since 1971
BC & Alberta Guide Dogs is hosting a virtual Woof-A-Thon, an initiative to stay active and social while raising money for those who are in need of a guide dog. Register you or your team and complete activities you love to do, whether that’s walking your dog, knitting a blanket, or even painting a picture. Sign up here.
BC & Alberta Guide Dogs member since: 2011
Celebration of local art

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has added a new wall of art at Victoria International Airport. The wall, which features works from 8 local artists, is located across from the check-in area.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria: member since 2007
Victoria Airport Authority: member since 1981
Bed down in Langford

The City of Langford has sold two acres of land for the development of townhouses, a hotel and a standalone restaurant. The project is set to be completed in May 2022 and will cost approximately $30 million.

The City of Langford: member since 2019
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