Tomorrow, September 13 from 5-7 pm join Prodigy Group for its September Mingle, hosted by Seriously Creative at Victoria Caledonian Distillery & Twa Dogs Brewery. Enjoy delicious food and drinks and mingle with like-minded business professionals. Don't miss out - register today!
2019/2020 Chamber Board Elections - Please Vote!

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 will be emailed to the main contact for your organization 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 business and don'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

To reach its potential, our economy needs more workers
Early in the New Year, The Chamber announced that one of our major advocacy priorities for 2018 is attracting and retaining workers in Greater Victoria. Since then, the issue has come to a head with numerous other organizations joining the call for government to do a better job in this area.
 
Business Development Canada recently released a report that found 40% of small businesses across the country are struggling to find workers. The numbers are not a surprise, as the federal government and the Bank of Canada have both said they are concerned about how the lack of available workers affects productivity.
 
On Aug. 31, the BC Chamber echoed those concerns when it released a province-wide survey of business leaders. Val Litwin, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, says the data shows "We are experiencing an exceptionally tight labour market but ... there are opportunities and areas where businesses can be more innovative in their approach to solve these challenges."
 
More than half of respondents were increasing wages and benefits to try and keep staff. However, the BC Chamber said working conditions and business culture are typically the main factors, with nearly two-thirds of businesses focusing on improving working conditions to retain staff.
 
Of course, one of the factors most businesses don't have any control over is workforce housing. In Greater Victoria, the lack of affordable places to live has been a major detriment. There are many stories of companies struggling to attract staff because of the challenge they encounter trying to find a home.
 
Despite the current situation, for 2019 the BC Residential Tenancy Branch has approved the largest rent increase since 2004. Any increase to rents will make it even harder for workers to find affordable housing.
 
At this spring's BC Chamber AGM, the following policy recommendations were made for how the Province can better address the labour force challenges we're facing:
BUSINESS LEADERS LUNCHEON:
 
With an aging workforce and near zero unemployment rate, the demand for skilled trades workers has never been higher.

Hear Tom Sigurdson, Executive Director of BC Building Trades, talk about the future of the trades industry in British Columbia and how they are working to address the skills shortage.
Sponsored by
Tue, Sept 25 | 11:30 am-1 pm 
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt St.


Square to Spare?
The Prodigy Group is asking that question as they work on raising awareness and rolls of toilet paper across Greater Victoria for its TP the Town Victoria event on Saturday October, 13! All of the toilet paper donated goes to the Mustard Seed to be distributed to more than 40 different communities across Vancouver Island for families in need.   
 
The Prodigy Group committee of The Chamber is all hands on deck for TP the Town, but nearly 120 volunteers are needed to make this event successful. Shifts are a brief three hours (10 am-1 pm or 1 pm-4 pm) at 21 grocery stores across Greater Victoria - including Chamber members Thrifty Foods and Quality Foods. For more information on how to volunteer or donate your square to spare, please contact andrew.wilson@prodigygroup.ca
 
 
Mustard Seed: member since 1999  
 
Thrifty Foods: member since 1981
 
Quality Foods: member since 2015   

Members Around Town
 
Greater Victoria schools get lead out of water with new drinking fountains 
 The Greater Victoria School District (SD61) spent $850,000 installing new water fountains and bottle fillers in all its schools in an effort to reduce student and staff exposure to lead in drinking water. In September 2016, the BC government mandated that districts test school drinking water for lead and report the results annually to the Ministry of Education. When the Greater Victoria School District conducted tests in its schools, it revealed higher than acceptable lead levels in the drinking water at some schools and took action.
The Greater Victoria School District SD61: member since 2018      
Royal Roads University's new building
Last week, Royal Roads University opened the Sherman Jen building, a 4,700-square-metre heritage building upgrade and new addition includes wet labs, environmental science labs and teaching spaces equipped with digital gear. The $24.8 million project received $9.3 million from the federal government, $5.7 million from the province and $7 million from philanthropist Sherman Jen, with the balance supplied by Royal Roads University. 
 
Royal Roads University: member since 1996   
Canada's representative to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees 
The Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria is hosting an event tonight, Sept. 12 with Jean-Nicolas Beuze, Canada's representative to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Jean-Nicolas has worked with the United Nations in the areas of human rights, peacekeeping and child protection in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Libya, Uganda, Iraq, Sudan and Syria. This is a rare opportunity to learn first-hand about Canada's role in addressing the refugee crisis and the work of the UNHCR.   
   Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria: member since 1996
Steve Nash inducted into hall of fame    
From his early start at St. Michaels University School in Saanich, and after spending nearly two decades in the NBA  there is one more accolade to come for Steve Nash. The eight-time all-star and a two-time MVP , Steve Nash was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 6.
St. Michaels University School: member since 2015 
 
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.

Wed, Oct 10 | 11:30 am-1 pm
Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville St.



Welcome, Jay, to The Chamber team!
The Chamber is pleased to welcome  Jay McNeil      
as our new Membership Manager. Jay joins our current Membership Manager, Stefanie Knox, and will be focused on meeting future and current members of the Chamber to help them maximize their membership.
 
With more than 30 years of advertising and marketing experience, Jay has a real depth of knowledge and expertise. Prior to joining The Chamber, Jay worked in radio advertising at local stations, so he is very familiar with the business climate of Victoria. Outside of work Jay is an adventure seeker. His favorite activities include skydiving, bungee jumping, travel and motorcycles! If it pushes his boundaries, he's all over it.
 
Please take a moment to introduce yourself and welcome Jay to The Chamber team at the next Chamber event. Email or phone Jay at 250-360-3474 to discuss how he can help your business succeed.  
 
Want to see your item showcased at the auction? Contact specialevents@victoriachamber.ca.
 
Here's a sneak peek at a few items that will be at this year's Annual Dinner Auction Gala.
  • Expand your mind, body and spirit with MokSana Yoga! Enjoy 6 yoga classes in a variety of traditional styles and levels (from restorative to advanced)! 
  • Get your friends together for a beauTEAful skincare parTEA with Silk Road Tea! Discover how to provide deep hydration, provide anti-aging benefits, damage repair, and much more with a 45 minute session for up to 15 people!
  • Enjoy a "tastings for two" voucher, giving you and a guest the opportunity to come to Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse to experience a complimentary tasting tour!
  • And last, but certainly not least, unwind with a mid-week stay in an ocean view room in the luxurious Oak Bay Beach Hotel
Any of these items catch your eye? Tickets are now on sale!
Sponsored by
Fri, Nov 2 | 6-10:30 pm
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa 
100 Harbour Rd.
 
Candidates have till Friday to register for civic election
The deadline for nominations for the Oct. 20 municipal elections closes this Friday. There are a number of ways to find out who is running in your riding. Go to timescolonist.ca/elections, to read the latest stories from the campaign trail, and check out links to candidates in all 13 Greater Victoria municipalities as well as Nanaimo.
 
Black Press's online news sites in Greater Victoria have also added an election tab for stories about candidates in each paper's community.
 
Elections BC will publish the official list of candidates for all municipalities in the province, after nominations close. You'll also find helpful links to explain how to make sure you're registered to vote. The requirements are that you are 18 or older, a Canadian citizen and have been a resident of BC for the past six months.  
 
Also, make sure to check BizNews every week as we reach out to candidates to get their take on issues of importance to Greater Victoria's business community.
Chamber member trips on red tape over her last name   
Chamber member Merge Gupta-Sunderji of Turning Managers Into Leaders and her bizarre story about trying to become a BC resident was the subject of Les Leyne's column in the Times Colonist this week.
 
Gupta-Sunderji spends half her time in BC and half in Alberta. As a practical entrepreneur, she sought to avoid the looming speculation tax on her BC property by officially becoming a resident of this province. The switch would be a win for BC as Gupta-Sunderji would pay income tax here. However, the red tape and broken systems she encountered in BC had more twists and turns than driving the Malahat.
 
Read her story here

Turning Managers Into Leaders: member since 2017
Back to School Office Supply Deals    
 
Back to school, back to the office. The Chamber wants to make sure you have all the right supplies and tools for a successful year. Check out our exclusive member-only office supply deals and discounts:  
 
Lenovo (New) - receive discounts of up to 30% off the everyday public web price on a wide range of Lenovo products.
 
Monk Office take advantage of preferred pricing discount of 10% off on all regularly priced office supplies.  
 
Grand & Toy - save on average up to 25% off over 7,500 quality office products.  
 
Wishing everyone a productive and prosperous fall!
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  

 

A fresh new look - Chamber Name Tags
In response to members' requests, The Chamber has redesigned the name tags Chamber members can purchase. We increased the prominence of your business name while keeping your name clearly visible.

Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber Name tags? Email us to order yours today.