Tomorrow, September 20 from 5-7 pm attend the 5 Chamber Business Mixer, hosted by Elements Casino and British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Enjoy delicious food and drinks and mingle with like-minded business professionals from across the region. Don't miss out - register today!
2019/2020 Chamber Board Elections

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 board members.

For a list of nominees click here.

Election ballots were emailed to the main contact of your organization on Friday, September 14. The Chamber uses a weighted voting system, based on your business's number of employees. Voting will close at noon Thursday, October 4.

If you are The Chamber's main contact for your organization and you didn't receive your ballot on September 14, please contact us at 250-383-7191.

Chamber News
Events
Auction Donations
Summer Social Series
The Business of Cannabis
Business Leaders Luncheons
Webinars
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
Event Photos

EHT needs changes before it's implemented
Make no mistake about it, the Employer Health Tax, as it has been proposed by the provincial government, will burden small businesses in BC unless changes are made.
This is a payroll tax and, despite the name, is not directly connected to the cost of running BC's healthcare system.
 
The Chamber continues to actively speak out on this issue, and we are working with the BC Chamber to try and raise the alarm about this tax across the province.
 
At last week's Union of BC Municipalities AGM, delegates endorsed a resolution essentially asking the province to ensure local governments aren't taxed at a higher rate than they currently pay in MSP premiums for employees.
 
The Chamber applauds the UBCM's efforts, as adding costs to local governments will result in higher costs to businesses through increased property taxes.  
 
However, we think the entire implementation of the EHT needs to be reworked.  
 
First of all, the province needs to change its plan to continue collecting MSP premiums in 2019 as well as the EHT. There is no justification for double dipping.
 
Secondly, the definition of small business needs to reflect reality. The government says it is giving small businesses a break because the proposed tax rate would exempt employers who have a payroll of $500,000 or less. These are micro-businesses. This is way out of line with the standard used by Industry Canada, which defines a small business as one with up to 100 employees. Simple math tells you that small businesses, as defined by Industry Canada, have a payroll much higher than $500,000.
 
Thirdly, if the EHT is to be brought in at variable rates based on the size of an organization's payroll, there needs to be a gradual increase in cost. The current proposal creates a cliff effect at $500,000 and $1.5 million - if an employer goes $1 over $500,000, they will be taxed at a rate of 2.925 per cent of their payroll minus $500,000. Employers with payrolls over $1.5 million will pay 1.95 per cent of their entire payroll.
 
It's a disincentive to grow a business and creates uncertainty about hiring, providing raises and bonuses, promoting staff, or offering benefits.  
 
Chamber Chair Dan Dagg and CEO Catherine Holt met with BC Finance Minister Carole James this summer to ask for these changes, but received no support. We understand there are many issues facing businesses, but we all need to speak up about the EHT before it's too late.
 
If you want to learn more about The Chamber's advocacy efforts, contact communications@victoriachamber.ca.
 
Get a piece of the pie. Find out how your business can take advantage of upcoming  opportunities with the Province of BC through its new BC Bid site.
Sponsored by:
Limited seating
   
Tues, Oct 16 | 7:30 am-9 am  
Union Club of BC 
805 Gordon St.
  

World's first Indigenous law degree
On Tuesday September 25 , the University of Victoria will launch the world's first Indigenous Law Degree. It combines the intensive study of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous law, enabling people to work fluently across the two realms. 
 
Students will graduate in four years with two professional degrees: a Juris Doctor (JD) and a Juris Indigenarum Doctor (JID). They will have a deep understanding of Indigenous law and governance, the academic qualifications to pursue a career in Canadian Common Law, and a strong sense of how to create and manage institutions functioning across both spheres. 
 
To commemorate this historic event, UVic will be hosting a free public lecture , "Indigenous Law: Today and Tomorrow" on September 25.  Dr. John Borrows will explore Salish Law and Land: Lessons Learned and Dr. Val Napoleon will look at the future of Indigenous Law: Fast Forward.
   
 
University of Victoria: member since 1976
   
Members Around Town
 
Accent Inns adds new VP  
Accent Inns adds Don Fennerty to their team as vice-president of operations. Fennerty is a former general manager of the Fairmont Empress and has more than 25 years of hospitality experience. In his new role, Fennerty will lead the team of general managers in day-to-day operations for the Accent Inns brand in Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna as well as the Hotel Zed division. 
 
Accent Inns | Hotel Zed: member since 2018      
U-bicycle recycles
In an effort to make active transportation available for those in need, U-bicycle North America is launching a new program in which decommissioned bikes are donated to a local non-profit. Rather than recycle the lockless bikes for scraps, U-bicycle is opting for a less wasteful alternative by donating them to Anawim House in what it's calling the 'My-bicycle' program. 
Ubike Technologies North America Inc.: member since 2017    
Hugh MacDonald honoured   
Hugh MacDonald, longtime CEO of SportHost Victoria, is being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame on October 27. In April, SportHost Victoria joined Destination Greater Victoria to create the new Greater Victoria Sports Tourism Commission.  MacDonald is a former member of The Chamber's Board of Directors and has the distinction of being one of a select few multi-generational board members. His son, Troy MacDonald of Helijet International Inc., also served on the Chamber's Board.  
  Destination Greater Victoria: member since 1988
Helijet International Inc.: member since 1987 
SIPP in Shanghai  
South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) CEO Emilie de Rosenroll was invited to speak about international best practices on smart cities at the 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference September 17-19 in Shanghai. The conference will bring together the world's most influential Artificial Intelligence (AI) scientists, entrepreneurs , business leaders, and government officials to engage in high-level dialogue on leading artificial intelligence technologies and trends. 
South Island Prosperity Project: member since 2017  
Banned from the USA
 
Last week, a senior US border official told the American online publication Politico that Canadians who invest in cannabis companies or work in the industry could be turned away at the border, even after recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada next month.
 
The US has always been open about banning Canadians from its country if they answer yes to the question: Have you ever smoked pot? However, this position regarding people working in a legal industry in Canada, but illegal federally in the US, has raised a lot of concerns for Canadians. For example, BC's solicitor general says, in a Vancouver Sun article, he's extremely concerned that the United States might bar provincial government employees from travelling across the American border because they work in the province's new legal cannabis branch. 
 
At The Chamber's Business of Cannabis Panel on October 10, learn more about the regulation of the sale of  cannabis, what this emerging industry means for businesses in Victoria and global opportunities. See the speakers here.
 

Questions for Greater Victoria mayoral candidates
 
Chamber CEO Catherine Holt's column in this month's Business Examiner offered three questions we think need to be addressed by mayoral candidates in the Oct. 20 local elections.
 
The response to the column, as well as to our previous request for feed back in BizNews , has been overwhelmingly positive.  
 
As a result, we have expanded the number of questions to include two suggested by members as well as one from our partners at Destination Greater Victoria.
 
The questions have now been sent to mayoral candidates in every municipality. Keep reading BizNews for the link to a full listing of the answers. We'll begin posting them on our website next week.
 
Here are the questions:
  • Question 1: Will you narrow the gap between business and residential property taxes? Why?
  • Question 2: Do you support improving transportation in Greater Victoria through a regional approach to governance, funding, planning and delivery? Why?
  • Question 3: Do you support a citizens' assembly process that empowers the public to decide whether to reduce the number of municipalities in our region? Why?
  • Question 4: Businesses in Greater Victoria are having trouble attracting and retaining employees due to the lack of affordable and attainable housing. What would you do to help solve this problem?
  • Question 5: What would you do to improve the relationship between municipalities in our region with the provincial and federal governments?
  • Question 6: Do you support secure and long term funding for tourism marketing and sales through the MRDT system?  
The Business Examiner's September digital edition is now available exclusively to Chamber of Commerce members. Business Examiner's multi-channel distribution model is focused on increasing accessibility to content, and adding even more value for our members.
UBCM seeks provincial strategy on single-use plastics
The Union of BC Municipalities held its AGM last week, with delegates endorsing several notable resolutions. The UBCM will take these to the provincial government, which will ultimately decide what action, if any, it will take.
 
Among the resolutions that passed was a call for the province to work with industry on a province-wide approach to reducing single-use plastic items. This is similar to what the City of Victoria has proposed to expand on its plastic bag ban. Things such as straws, styrofoam cups and plastic utensils designed to be used once and discarded are not only bad for the environment, they create a tremendous volume of waste and clog up landfills.
 
The Chamber has advocated to the City of Victoria and the Capital Regional District that, in order for any ban on single-use plastic items to truly work, it needs to be regional.  
 
Many businesses operate in multiple municipalities and must adhere to a wide variety of regulations. Having a provincial standard would save businesses from a major headache caused by different rules for each local government.

Nominate Now for the 2019 Business Awards
Each week The Chamber will be profiling a different award category, encouraging members to nominate a deserving Chamber member.

Business Leadership honours a business that:
  • provides leadership and inspiration
  • makes a positive contribution to their business sector
  • serves as a positive role model for other businesses, and
  • demonstrates a commitment to the community.
Know a business that deserves this award? Nominate them today!

Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2018 Business Leadership finalists below. Thanks to Coast Capital Savings for sponsoring this award.

Winner: Canadian Tire Hillside
Finalist: The Truffles Group
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, 2019 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 will be open from September 14 to October 5, 2018. At the end of the application period, the chair of the committee will review your application. You will be contacted by email or phone.
Fall Shopping
 
Hello September! The days are getting shorter and crisper. Do you need to add any new items to your fall wardrobe? Your fellow Chamber members have you covered with everything from work staples, jewellery, to those cute fall boots that you've been looking for any excuse to buy!  
 
Don't forget to donate your gently worn fall clothes that you no longer wear to one of our local charities so that everyone has access to what they need for the season.  
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  

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