Missed out on your opportunity to network? Check out The Chamber's
calendar for our upcoming Fall events!
Province sues opioid makers
British Columbia has become the first province in Canada to
sue opioid manufacturers to try and recover some of the costs the
health care system has paid because of the drugs. BC Attorney General David Eby made the
announcement today, stating: "In court, we will argue that these drug companies deceptively marketed their products knowing full well the potential consequences, and as a result, British Columbia has incurred great costs." The announcement comes two days ahead of International
Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31
One of the companies named in the lawsuit, Purdue Pharma, paid $634.5 million (US) in damages in 2007, and acknowledged that its marketing was misleading.
The BC lawsuit names more than 40 drug makers, sellers and distributors as defendants. The province will also pattern legislation after what was introduced in 1998 to support litigation against tobacco companies.
The BC Centre for Disease Control has reported 742 unintentional overdose deaths between January and June this year. Most of them involved the opioid fentanyl.
The Chamber has identified
Safe Communities as one of our 2018 advocacy priorities, noting that all of us rely on a safe community in order to function in our daily lives and businesses.
Chamber members can hear from BC Attorney General Eby first hand on Nov. 7, when he addresses Chamber members at an upcoming
Business Leaders Luncheon. Reserve your
BC Finance Minister Carole James
unveiled the province's public accounts yesterday, and the audited financial statements show an operating surplus of $301 million
and debt reduction of $918 million for the fiscal year that ran from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.
"Despite historic losses at ICBC and a $950-million adjustment to address the Auditor General's concerns about the former government's approach to
[BC Hydro's] rate regulation, we reduced our debt and achieved a truly balanced budget," James said.
The Opposition BC Liberals
responded, saying the surplus reflects work done by the previous government.
"It took 16 years of hard work to rebuild our province's economy after the NDP's disastrous term as government in the 1990s," said BC Liberal House Leader Mary Polak, saying the numbers don't reflect the government's recently introduced tax policies, including the Employer Health Tax. "What today's numbers don't show are the impacts of a pile of taxes the BC NDP have recently imposed on British Columbians."
Members Around Town
Street performers take over downtown
The Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival, hosted by the
Downtown Victoria Business Association, is taking place Aug. 30-Sept. 3.
Talented artists and entertainers will be travelling from as far away as Australia to perform at three different venues in downtown Victoria: Centennial Square, Bastion Square and Market Square.
Downtown Victoria Business Association: member since 2007
Castro Boteng's new cafe
On Aug. 24, catering company
House of Boateng opened its new
House of Boateng Caf
é at 2854 Peatt Rd. in Langford.
A full-service café serving breakfast and lunch, the food is an imaginative combination of local ingredients with the essence of African and Caribbean flavours.
House of Boateng: member since 2016
Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival
A Vancouver Island festival tradition for 32 years, this year's Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival, hosted by Intrepid Theatre Company, started Aug 22 and runs until Sept. 2. Featuring 47 shows from around the globe,the 12-day celebration of live performance highlights an eclectic mixture of spoken word, drama, musicals, dance, comedy, magic, theatre for young audiences and more.
The group includes nine organizations, including the BC Chamber, the Independent Contractors and Business Association and the Christian Labour Association.
letter to Premier John Horgan, the group wrote that its members "strongly believe that one of government's primary obligations is to ensure fairness in procurement and that taxpayers are getting the best value for every dollar spent."
The government called the plan a
Community Benefits Agreement, but construction and business associations were quick to criticize a requirement that workers join a government-approved union in order to work on publicly funded projects.
However, the executive director of BC Building Trades, Tom Sigurdson, says politics are clouding the intent of the government's plan.
told the CBC that non-union contractors can also bid on infrastructure projects. Their workers would be required to join the union if they are on the job more than 30 days, but membership only lasts until the end of the project.
Last year, in partnership with the Sierra Club of BC, The Chamber hosted a roundtable discussion on Climate Change & the Next Economy. Finding Climate Change solutions that work for business is one of The Chamber's advocacy priorities.
Businesses from retail, tourism, construction and development, finance, education, health services, restaurants and more shared stories of green initiatives they were currently undertaking as well as ideas to move their businesses and the business community towards a greener future.
At the event, The Sierra Club recorded a podcast on powering BC's clean energy economy. The podcast series is now available - have a listen you might recognize yourself or someone else from our local business community!
The Sierra Club of BC: member since 2016
Canadian Chamber hopeful on NAFTA deal
Canada's business community continues to watch the ongoing NAFTA negotiations. The agreement between the U.S. and Mexico earlier this week is being greeted with enthusiasm. Nationally, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has reached out to the federal government for more details, as well as an offer to help.
Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber, said
his organization was pleased "to see the U.S. and Mexico make progress in their negotiations concerning NAFTA, although the full details of what has been agreed upon and how the process and timetable will proceed from here are still largely unknown."
Beatty said Canadian companies are pressing for a deal that includes Canada.
"We acknowledge that there are several outstanding and complex issues that still need to be resolved before a trilateral agreement can be concluded, and we urge all three parties to negotiate in good faith."
One thing that is clear is that the U.S. deal with Mexico is not the end of NAFTA - despite rhetoric out of the White House. For more on the tricky process required to end NAFTA, read the CBC's analysis.
New website highlights value of Citizens' Assembly
The Chamber supports the decision by Saanich and Victoria to ask voters about using a Citizens' Assembly to help make a non-biased decision on merging the two municipalities. After consulting with a range of community organizations that support better governance through fewer governments, a group of citizens has launched a new website,
Worth the Study. The site offers information on the ballot question, costs and how to get involved in the debate.