Join us for the June Business Mixer, hosted by Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA, tomorrow June 21 from 5-7 pm. Don't miss out - register today!
Victoria clears legal hurdle ahead of plastic bag ban
The City of Victoria cleared a legal hurdle yesterday after the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed the Canadian Plastic Bag Association's challenge to the city's proposed plastic bag ban.
The Checkout Bag Regulation formally takes effect on July 1, but Victoria retailers have been moving to more sustainable alternatives to plastic bags for several years. Strategies such as simply asking customers if they need a bag has enabled businesses to greatly reduce single-use plastic bags.
Other ways that retailers have taken action include the common practice of offering reusable bags, charging for single-use bags and offering to recycle bags returned to their store.
As the city began work on this policy a year ago, The Chamber set-up consultations with our members and suggested modifications that address their concerns.  
The Chamber continues to advocate for a common regulation across the region - a position many local businesses are already implementing.  
Victoria is working to educate the public through a BYO Bag Video Contest and other avenues.  

City of Victoria: member since 1962
Chamber News
Governor of the Bank of Canada Luncheon
Auction Donations
Summer Social Series
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
Event Photos
Legal marijuana raises questions for employers
The federal government announced today that Canadians can legally consume marijuana for recreational purposes as of Oct. 17.

This news marks the beginning of the end of the burden that pot has put on the criminal justice system. However, legal marijuana creates many new questions for employers. If your staff are allowed to expense alcohol when wining and dining clients, will you allow them to bill the company for getting baked to make a deal?

Chemistry Consulting posed this and other questions in its May HR newsletter.

The Surrey Board of Trade, a fellow chamber, recently issued an Employer Guide and a sample policy to help businesses prepare for the new law.
Province's own MSP Task Force advised against EHT
If the Provincial Government is serious about consulting with people who will be affected by its proposed Employer Health Task, a good place to start is with the task force report commissioned by Finance Minister Carole James.

The task force told government back in February that implementing an EHT to replace MSP premiums would be damaging for businesses. After the B.C. budget ignored the warning, the task force turned its focus to other options for improving B.C.'s tax system.

Rather than dismissing the report's recommendations, the Province should try and make better use of its $100,000 investment in the task force. Although some of the suggestions such as income-testing the Home Owner Grant would be politically risky, the report also suggests rethinking a value-added tax and introducing it in a way that the public would find more acceptable than it did the poorly rolled out HST.

The Chamber will continue to fight to make sure business is heard by government before the proposed EHT is implemented.

Do you have debt? Are you concerned about interest rates rising?

Hear from Canada's top banker, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen S. Poloz on what's ahead in this volatile market
. This is a rare opportunity to hear directly from one of Canada's leading experts on monetary policy and find out what's being done to safeguard our economy.
Only 10 tickets left!
Sponsored by: 
Wed, June 27 | 11:15 am-1 pm
Crystal Gardens, 720 Douglas St. 

Table sponsors: 
BMO Bank of Montreal
Budget Car & Truck Rentals Financial Services Ltd.
Leith Wheeler
PI Financial Corp.
Scotiabank Group
Tourism Victoria

Victoria Foundation
Members Around Town
Lighthouse Brewing celebrates
Lighthouse Brewing Company's Seaport Vanilla Stout took home silver in the Flavoured Stouts/Porters category at the Canadian Brewing Awards in May. This award comes after a succession of wins for Lighthouse Brewing Company, as they celebrate their 20th anniversary year, with Tasman Pale Ale winning 1st place at the BC Beer Awards in October, and Race Rocks Ale taking 1st place in the U.S. Open Beer Championships last July.
Lighthouse Brewing Company: member since 2005
Victoria Art Gallery receives $6 million 
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has announced that it will provide a $6-million one-time funding grant in support of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria's $30-million renovation project. The gallery plans to undertake important technical upgrades, and provide more multi-purpose presentation space, a community auditorium and enhanced education facilities to serve the community. 
 Art Gallery of Greater Victoria: member since 2007  
Royal Roads University appointment  
Dr. Philip Steenkamp has been appointed Royal Roads University's fourth president and vice-chancellor for a five-year term effective Jan. 1, 2019. Steenkamp brings to the position more than two decades of senior leadership experience in the post-secondary and public sectors. Steenkamp will succeed Dr. Allan Cahoon, who led Royal Roads University as president and vice-chancellor for 11 years. 
Royal Roads University: member since 1996  
Victoria Foundation's CEO honoured  
Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation, was made an honorary doctor of laws at the University of Victoria on Thursday. Since taking over as head of the philanthropic organization in 2001, Richardson has grown the Victoria Foundation assets from $20 million to $357 million.
Victoria Foundation: member since 2004
 University of Victoria: member since 1976  
View Royal approves Therapeutic Recovery Community

Last night, the Town of View Royal unanimously approved rezoning a former youth custody site to allow for a Therapeutic Recovery Community.  
In May, the Province announced it would provide $4.7 million for the facility, which will be run by Our Place Society. Our Place Executive Director, Don Evans, told The Chamber that the next step is to start on capital upgrades in preparation for a fall opening. The Therapeutic Recovery Centre uses an evidence-based model to help vulnerable citizens rebuild their lives.
Helping people break the dangerous cycle of addiction aligns with one of The Chamber's 2018 Advocacy Priorities - the fundamental need for Safe Communities.
In related news, on Monday, Island Health opened the largest supervised consumption site on Vancouver Island. The facility, in the 900-block of Pandora Ave., will help reduce the number of overdose deaths. In the first four months of 2018, 87 people died from overdoses on Vancouver Island.
Our Place Society: member since 2010 
Victoria global-minded environmentally
City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Christina Clarke, Executive Director of the Songhees Nation and a Chamber Board Member,  are speaking at the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) World Congress 2018 in Montreal today and Thursday.
Mayor Helps will speak on two panels: Low Emission Cities, Towns & Regions, and Promoting Sustainable Lifestyles for Healthy and Happy Cities. Both Mayor Helps and Clarke will be speaking on Transforming the Way We Live Together: Reconciliation and Cooperation Toward our Sustainable Urban Future, a panel focusing on reconciliation.
The Mayor's attendance at the conference this week adds to the momentum building here in Victoria following the recent announcement that the City and ICLEI Canada have partnered to host ICLEI's new British Columbia Office. Victoria joins Montreal as the only two ICLEI host cities in North America. Victoria's fast growing technology sector, leading research institutions and government sector make it an ideal place for ICLEI Canada's newest regional office.   

City of Victoria: member since 1962

Songhees Nation: member since 2017
Brewmaster's Dinner

Join us for a fun evening featuring award-winning beer from Lighthouse Brewing Company Inc. and gourmet BBQ dinner. Guests will enjoy a four-course seasonal dinner served long-table style in one of downtown Victoria's most iconic spaces.
Sponsored by:
Thu, Aug 16 | 5:30-9 pm
Market Square - Anthem Properties
39-560 Johnson St.

Want to fight Trump's tariffs? Buy Canadian, Think Local and support the PM 
Your social media network is abuzz with outrage over Trump's draconian tariffs. What's the best way to respond?

One option is to "buy Canadian," by checking labels and making yourself aware of the products you purchase. We suggest going one step further and supporting businesses with a Think Local First sticker in their window and Island Good branded food at Quality Foods or Thrifty Foods. These campaigns support small businesses in our region and keep proceeds from flowing across the border. Besides, with summer officially starting tomorrow, it's the perfect time to buy from local producers who are busy getting their seasonal products to market.

If you're wondering what a tariff war means for Canada's economy, don't miss your chance to hear from the front line. Tickets are limited for The Chamber's Business Leaders Luncheon next Wednesday, featuring a rare opportunity to listen to Bank of Canada Governor Stephen S. Poloz.
And if you're feeling patriotic, why not show your support for our federal government by writing to the Prime Minister? That's the surprising advice of former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who was in Victoria last week speaking at a forum on housing issues. Email the Prime Minister at

Think Local First: member since 2014

Quality Foods: member since 2015

Thrifty Foods: member since 1981

Last Friday, the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council's (VIATEC) annual awards honoured Greater Victoria's best and brightest in tech. A record breaking total of 54 finalists were honoured, with 16 recipients receiving new robot trophies (designed by Russell Papp) at the elaborate show. Attendance ballooned to over 1,000 guests making it one of the largest celebrations of its kind in the nation.

Congrats to our Chamber member winners:
  • Technology Company of the Year (50+ employees) - Vecima Networks
    Vecima Networks won The Chamber's 2018 Innovation Award
  • Community Champion - StarFish Medical
  • Employer of the Year - Bambora
    Bambora won the The Chamber's 2017 Business of the Year (40+ Employees) Award
Click here for a full list of winners and here to see the photos.  
VIATEC: member since 1991    
Starfish Medical: member since 2009 
Vecima Networks: member since 2006
Bambora: member since 2015  
Patio season checklist
With sunshine forecasted for the foreseeable future, you don't have to look far for a great patio - there's a patio in town for every occasion! Whether you're looking for a patio that has an oceanfront view, nestled in to the cityscape for some shameless people watching, high above the hustle and bustle of the street or outside the city centre, there's a patio for you.  
So take your team out for happy hour, meet a friend for lunch, or plan a whole day of it. Click here for a comprehensive checklist of our members' patios and outdoor seating - we dare you to try them all!

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