Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
April 29, 2020
The Minister said that, with tourism facing huge uncertainty in 2020, the province needs to look at how it can help restart the sector in the future.

The Chamber's Fireside Chat series is designed to help our members navigate together through the pandemic.
Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and Kris Wirk, Partner at Dusanj & Wirk as they discuss how to apply for benefits, and what the long-term implications are for businesses who take advantage of loans and tax deferrals.
Critical time as BC looks to safely re-open economy
BC Premier John Horgan offered hope for struggling businesses today, even as he announced the province is extending its state of emergency for two more weeks.

“British Columbians have shown great leadership in our efforts to flatten the curve, but we can’t take our foot off the gas now,” Horgan said, adding that he will provide guidance next week for getting BC back to business. The premier joked that there is no instruction manual for an economic recovery saying it's not like his office came with a box that said "in case of pandemic, break glass."

“We’re focusing instead on a slow, methodical, phased-in approach."

As many provinces across Canada detail plans for re-opening in the coming days and weeks, the premier is right that British Columbia has led the way in many regards.

Thanks in large part to the stewardship of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, we have succeeded in flattening the curve and not overwhelming hospitals.

We also have not faced restrictions as severe as those in some other provinces, which are only now allowing sectors such as construction and services such as take-out at restaurants. In contrast, many businesses in BC have been able to continue to operate as long as they could ensure physical distancing and other requirements.

This is a critical time for British Columbia and Vancouver Island as we inch toward a return to closer connections with our friends, family and community.

The Chamber will continue to advocate on behalf of our members as we will need the public to know they safely get out of their homes and get back to supporting local business.
Application for BC benefit opens May 1

Applications for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers open on Friday. If you are at least 15 and have resided in BC since March 15 and are eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you can apply for a one-time $1,000 tax-free top-up from the province. You also need to have filed or will be filing a 2019 tax return and can't be collecting provincial income assistance or disability assistance.
Good time to rethink 'business as usual,' mayor says
In an effort to stay on top of the fast shifting COVID-19 crisis, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says she funnels the challenges into three buckets that the city can address. Yesterday the mayor joined Chamber CEO Catherine Holt in a Fireside Chat to speak about the city’s efforts to support its businesses and citizens

The first bucket is support for business. Mayor Helps said as soon as it became clear we were facing a dire situation, she convened twice-weekly calls with community leaders — including the CEO of The Chamber. The information shared during these meetings helped shape the city's actions, such as creating a centralized list of online resources, passing a budget with no increase in taxes and joining the call for rent relief for businesses.

"This really reflects the mayor's leadership style," Holt says, noting the benefits of enabling disparate voices to learn from each other.

Check out the archived video from yesterday's Fireside Chat to find out what the mayor's other two buckets are, and more about the city's ongoing work to help all of us get through this crisis together.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
With more than 15,000 businesses employing 190,000 workers and $14 billion in annual sales — BC's restaurant industry plays a significant role in our economy.

Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and Ian Tostenson, CEO of BC Restaurants & Foodservices Association, as they talk about how the BCRFA is looking at innovative solutions to re-open restaurants in the face of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Series:

As part of The Chamber's commitment to getting businesses back to work, Chamber CEO Catherine Holt is hosting experts and government officials. This is your opportunity to get answers on pressing issues and the information you need to help you manage through these unprecedented times.

Please check our   Events Calendar   for   other events and updates on tools and suggestions to get through to the other side.
Survey says — clock is ticking for many businesses
Thank you to everyone who took time to participate in the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions. The joint effort between Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce offers the most detailed insight yet into the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian businesses.

More than 13,000 business took part in the survey, which found that 51.1% couldn’t operate longer than 90 days without a source of revenue, and that 80.9% have had a medium to high drop in demand for products or services.
Report puts dollar figure on commuter rail service
It will cost $595 million to get a commuter train service running between Victoria and the West Shore along the Island Rail Corridor, according to a report released yesterday by the provincial government.

The report includes estimated costs to upgrade infrastructure to restore rail freight operations as well as passenger service on Vancouver Island.

The Chamber continues to call for a regional transportation plan for Greater Victoria, and this report will help inform the province's South Island Transportation Strategy, expected to be released in June.
Let business bloom during unprecedented times
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, or at least a little extra patience and consideration. With our economy battered by the shutdown, we need to support initiatives that will help business survive until recovery begins.

The Chamber encourages the neighbours and the District of Saanich to rethink the rules that restrict Foxglove Flowers from temporarily adapting their business model.

After someone complained about a roadside stand that was unexpectedly thriving — allowing a business to stay open — the municipality issued a 30-day notice to shut down the business. This is not the environment we need to get through this pandemic together. We need as many businesses as possible to survive so that they can contribute to the eventual economic recovery.

Saanich has said it is committed to helping business, and we looking forward to them resolving this situation as soon as possible.
Foxglove Flowers: Member since 2006
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Teladoc Telemedicine Services
During these unprecedented times, being able to receive non-urgent medical advice and prescriptions for you and your family is more important than ever. 

With  Teladoc Telemedicine Services , an exclusive benefit of  Chambers Plan Group Insurance , you can talk with a doctor by phone or video conference from the comfort of your own home 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Members can receive a diagnosis, treatment recommendation, and even be prescribed medicine when necessary.

Chambers Plan offers 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. 

By minimizing the time you leave the house, you do your part to flatten the curve while still having your medical needs addressed. 

Looking for more information on how to utilize these benefits? 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. For more information, contact Jack Insurance by clicking  here .
Let us know about updates to your hours or services
We've created a webpage to help your customers keep track of updated hours and services as a result of COVID-19. If your changes are not yet listed, email  [email protected]  to have your information added.

Click on a category below to find innovative ways our members continue to serve Greater Victoria.
Connecting employers with employees today
The Chamber is proud to have featured over 200 jobs on our Job Board since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. We continue to offer this service free of charge to employers using the code SUPPORTYYJ.

The Chamber is receiving recognition for this program internationally and are working with various organizations to encourage other chambers and associations to help local essential service providers and employees get connected.

If you have any difficulty posting, please email [email protected]. We will get back to you ASAP on the next business day.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Thanks to our friends at H2 Accelerator, we have a new ad campaign you'll see online. It encourages out-of-work locals to pitch in at businesses that need help.
Stay connected with The Chamber's Virtual Events
CHEK News: member since 1971
Virtual Business Mixer
Join us on April 30 for our next Virtual Chamber Mixer. Grow valuable connections from the comfort of your own home, and interact with a diverse group of professionals.
Virtual Fireside Chat
Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and Jamie Sawchuk, BC Government and Public Service Leader at Deloitte as they discuss how businesses can prepare now for recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
Thurs., April 30 | 4-5 pm
Members Around Town
Rock for Relief T-Shirts

After the exciting and successful Rock for Relief Concert hosted by CHEK News raised nearly $700,000, Team Sales Vancouver Island and Maximum Express have stepped up in creating and delivering branded shirts across Greater Victoria.

The shirts will continue to raise funds for the Rapid Relief Fund and the Community Response Fund. 
CHEK News: member since 1971
Team Sales Vancouver Island: member since 1991
Maximum Express Courier, Freight & Logistics: member since 2004
Golf Courses Reopening
Victoria Golf Club , Highland Pacific Golf and Bear Mountain have officially reopened their courses for members.

As players are able to maintain adequate physical distancing, getting out and playing a round in the sunshine is a great way to stay active.
Victoria Golf Club: member since 2006
Highland Pacific Golf: member since 2008
Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa: member since 2003

Pacific Football Club has launched the #TriTechChallenge — a fun and challenging way to stay fit and practice soccer techniques. Videos are posted by Pacific FC players, and the team has been personally delivering jerseys and socks to kids registered in their Trident Development Program while maintaining social distancing. 
Pacific Football Club: member since 2019
Community Support Fund

Community Micro Lending has launched Phase 1 of their Community Support Fund. This phase aims to raise $50,000 for small enterprises in Greater Victoria and the Capital Regional District. The fund aims to support the independent business community in the form of small, community sourced, no fee, no interest loans between $250 - $2,500.

Community Micro Lending: member since 2020
Is your business implementing new strategies or innovative ways of connecting with consumers?

Think Local First has created — an online marketplace to support local businesses by purchasing gift cards. It has raised more than $13,000 so far.

Comprised of Food + Drink , Retail , Services , and Health + Wellness gift cards, there are hundreds of local businesses that you can support in $10, $25, $50 and $100 denominations. 

Think Local First: member since 2014
Ready to Rocket

Ready to Rocket identifies and profiles technology companies in B.C. with the greatest potential for revenue growth , and three Chamber members were included in their analysis. Congratulations! 

Flytographer : member since 2015

Open Ocean Robotics : member since 2020

Barnacle Systems Inc : member since 2019
New Cascade Institute

Royal Roads University has opened the Cascade Institute , designed to identify intervention points that have the potential to positively influence global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The institute, which will operate for the next 10 years , will be composed of 30-40 researchers from around the world. 
Royal Roads University: member since 1996
Webinars for indigenous entrepreneurs
Starting next month, indigenous entrepreneurs will be able to take advantage of strategic advice offered through webinars by the Songhees Nation and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre .

Along with business training, the program also offers awards and monetary prizes for participants.
Songhees Nation: member since 2017
Victoria Native Friendship Centre: member since 2019
Welcome to our newest members!