Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
February 10, 2021
Saanich-based director and co-producer Arnold Lim (centre) guides crew members before shooting a scene for the feature film All-in Madonna. The film was shot in and around Victoria and the South Island in 2019. (Photo by Patrick Coble/Blue Lake Films)
Malahat Film Studios: Member since 2020
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Thetis Cove purchase helps BC's reconciliation efforts with Esquimalt and Songhees nations
The Chamber applauds Monday's news that the province has purchased 3.4 hectares of land at Thetis Cove in View Royal for $13 million to support reconciliation with Esquimalt Nation.

Working with First Nations is vital for the long-term resilience of Greater Victoria's economy. Indigenous communities can help regional employers fill job vacancies without having to hope for migration from other parts of Canada. Local populations are also key to innovations that will allow businesses to provide solutions to climate change.

The province will hold the property during negotiations with Esquimalt Nation, which are expected to take up to five years.

“While we are at the beginning of our discussions with Esquimalt Nation and the broader community about the land, we see its significant potential for supporting Esquimalt Nation to thrive and prosper, which benefits everyone who lives in the region,” BC's Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin said in a news release.

The deal will also support treaty discussions with the Songhees Nation, as well as providing new opportunities for View Royal.

“We are looking forward to working with Esquimalt Nation and the Province in a collaborative way that considers all of our interests as the future plans for Thetis Cove are developed,” said View Royal Mayor David Screech. “As neighbours, Esquimalt Nation and View Royal have much to gain from working together.”
Songhees Nation: Member since 2017
View Royal: Member since 2020
Micro-credential program will help fill job gaps
When the world changes, we all need to change with it. One of the best ways to ensure BC has a workforce with the skills needed to fill new jobs being created is through training.

On Monday, the provincial government announced $4 million for micro-credentials programs to provide the education and skills required for high-demand occupations. BC's Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training worked with post-secondary institutions — including the University of Victoria, Camosun College and Royal Roads University — to develop 24 micro-credential programs.

Half of the funding for the program comes from the federal government, with the province covering the other half. Course are designed for working people with families, and take weeks rather than months to complete.
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
Camosun College: Member since 1981
Royal Roads University: Member since 1996
Unemployment rate drops again in Greater Victoria
Greater Victoria's unemployment rate was 5% in January, down from 5.8% in December. The region's unemployment rate was 11% last July. The number of people in the labour force was 217,000 in January. That's down from 221,000 in January 2020.

"Our region typically has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada, so it's good to see us getting closer to where we were before the pandemic," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "On the other hand, there are people who have left the workforce who will be needed as our economy recovers. Employment flexibility and accessible childcare remain key to bringing them back."
Negative test required for crossing from US border
The federal government is about to make it harder for people to travel across land borders. Starting on Monday, all non-essential travellers will need to provide evidence of a recent negative COVID-19 test before they get to the border. The requirement is currently in place for air travellers. Showing up without proof of a test could result in a $3,000 fine. The new enforcement is in addition to the requirement to quarantine for 14 days after arrival in Canada.
Connect with Provincial Ministers
Three virtual events this
February and March
Three of the most important issues facing our membership and region will be addressed over three weeks as The Chamber hosts these high-profile provincial ministers. Book your ticket today.
Thank you to TD Bank Group for sponsoring the following events:
What will economic recovery look like after the pandemic?
As we emerge from the fog of the pandemic, find out how government is refocusing relief efforts to make sure no one is left behind.

Join Chamber CEO Bruce Williams and the Hon. Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, to hear about what is being done to ensure an inclusive economic recovery across B.C.
Business Restart Series:
Thurs., Feb. 18 | 12 - 1PM
BC's plans to address homelessness
Since the beginning of the pandemic, affordable housing and homelessness have become some of the most pressing issues facing our region.

Be a part of the discussion as Chamber CEO Bruce Williams talks with Hon. David Eby, BC Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, about the province's 10-year housing plan and actions being taken to house the homeless.
Tues., Feb. 23 | 12 - 1 PM
BC's plan for transportation in the Capital Region
Hear from Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure on what's coming down the road in Greater Victoria including priority infrastructure projects, the South Island Transportation Plan, transit improvements, green transportation initiatives and more. 
Business Restart Series:
Tues., Mar. 2 | 12 - 1 PM
Office market surprisingly stable in 2020: report
There was good news for Greater Victoria's office market as the vacancy rate remains lower than expected. As with most things these days, there is still plenty of uncertainty about what will happen when government programs that have buffered the market are removed.

According to Colliers International's latest Victoria Office Market Report, the overall vacancy rate was 6.2% in the fourth quarter of 2020. That's up from 5.9% the previous quarter. The report credits the relatively stable numbers to the public sector and tech businesses, which account for a large portion of office inventory in Greater Victoria.

Businesses that have lost revenue because of the pandemic are depending on a successful immunization rollout so the economy can begin a full recovery and allow government to end subsidies.

The report forecasts that demand for quality office space in good locations will continue to be strong after the pandemic.
Colliers International: Member since 1984
Cruise ship season suspended until March 2022
The suspension of cruise ships in Canada until March 2022 is devastating news for the many businesses in Greater Victoria that served the industry. The move is necessary to protect public health, and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority released a statement that is committed to being ready to welcome passengers and crews back to our region once it's safe to do so.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams spoke with Global News after the announcement to voice concern for vulnerable businesses.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: Member since 2003
The voice of Greater Victoria business across BC
The Chamber continues to advocate for focused relief to ensure all businesses have an opportunity to get through the pandemic. On Monday, Chamber CEO Bruce Williams was on a province-wide broadcast on CBC Radio speaking about what government needs to do to help specific sectors.

As well, on our national Chamber network, Canadian Chamber CEO Perrin Beatty interviewed Arlene Dickinson, a noted investor and former cast member on Dragons' Den, about the opportunities awaiting businesses that pull together on a local level and embrace innovation.

Beatty was also a recent guest of The Chamber's Business Restart Series, discussing what's in store for Canada-US relations under the Biden administration.
CEO column: Let's focus on what we can control
In his latest contribution to Douglas Magazine, Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says we need to use the experience we've gained over the last year.

"In some ways, we’re back where we started in March 2020, when we first began to understand the severity of the novel coronavirus spreading across the planet," Williams says. "We don’t really know what the next two weeks will hold. And while it’s natural to feel fed up with our situation, we have the benefit of experience. Let’s focus on what we can control in the moment, not on what we can’t in the future."
Douglas Magazine: Member since 2004
Thank you to our Chamber Champions!
Learn more about how these organizations are championing the work of The Chamber.
What does local mean to you?
Our #ChamberLocalVicBC campaign aims to help individuals understand what local means on a social, economic and community level. We're asking our members to answer this question with a quote about what makes their business or organization local.

We hope you will help us amplify these stories as we work with resilience to bounce forward out of this pandemic.

Contact Thomas Zeran to share your story.
Follow this campaign on social media with the hashtags:
#ChamberLocalVicBC #UnderstandLocal
The Chamber has always supported local business. From our founding in 1863, we have helped Greater Victoria's economy thrive by serving as a unified voice for enterprise.
Lifestyle Markets: member since 2015
The Natural Hair Salon: member since 2021
Prince of Whales Whale Watching: member since 2002
Newport Realty: member since 2006
Ride the Glide - RTG E-Bikes Inc: member since 2012
Brown's The Florist: member since 1981
Mayfair Optometric Clinic: member since 1996
CHEK News: member since 1971
Sheringham Distillery: member since 2018
Luxe Home Interiors: member since 2004
Celebrate Valentine’s Day safely and locally
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, finding that perfect gift may seem like a daunting task. Luckily, Chamber members are here to ensure you have a romantic day while supporting local businesses.
Spread the love this long weekend by taking advantage of free Family Day activities across Greater Victoria.

Whether you’re spending the day with a loved one, or having a special day for yourself, The Chamber wishes you a happy Valentine’s Day!
Chamber Job Board

The sudden change to cold weather as we head in to the depths of winter can be a tough time for many people. Going through a pandemic makes these days even more demanding on our mental health and well-being. Check out this mini-guide designed to help employers provide workers with specific tools and resources during the winter months.

As always, The Chamber’s Job Board is here to help you connect great employers with employees in need of work.

Learn more about how to post on the job board here. ​If you have any questions about posting, please email
Member News
Poutine up a great fundraiser

For the month of February, $2 from the sale of every featured burger at Big Wheel Burger will support Our Place Society’s Coldest Night of the Year, which raises funds and awareness for people experiencing homelessness. This month’s feature is a Poutine Burger topped with fries, gravy and cheese curds.
Big Wheel Burger: member since 2020
Big Wheel Burger: Chamber Champion since 2020
Our Place Society: member since 2010
World’s largest lung cancer research donation

The BC Cancer Foundation has received a $15.3 million donation — the world’s largest known investment towards lung cancer research and care. The funds, donated by the Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation, will be used to drive innovation, treatment and high-impact research in BC.
BC Cancer Foundation - Vancouver Island: member since 1997
Kinetic shortlisted for new BC high school

Kinetic Construction has been shortlisted to build a $62 million school in the Cowichan Valley. With a scheduled completion date of 2024, the school will accommodate 1,100 students in the district. The contract winner will be announced later this year.
Kinetic Construction: member since 2018
Kinetic Construction: Chamber Champion since 2020
Community Leadership Awards

The 2021 Victoria Community Leadership Awards, hosted by Leadership Victoria, is currently seeking nominations for local leaders. If you know an inspirational leader who deserves recognition, nominations are open until Feb. 28.
Leadership Victoria: member since 2008
Celebrating influential women

Erinn Pinkerton, CEO of BC Transit, has been named a recipient of a 2021 Influential Women in Business award from Business in Vancouver.

The award reflects the industry recognition BC Transit has received under her leadership, as well as her focus on creating sustainable transportation options. Congratulations Erinn!
BC Transit: member since 1999
Unlock your potential

Do you think you have what it takes to compete in the Olympics? RBC Financial Group is preparing young athletes for 2022 with RBC Training Ground. By virtually testing your speed, strength, power and endurance, RBC is looking to identify talented individuals and help them fund their podium dreams. Learn more here.
RBC Financial Group: : Chamber Champion since 2020
RBC Financial Group: member since 1962
Gold accessibility certification

Victoria International Airport has achieved gold accessibility certification from the Rick Hansen Foundation, showcasing the airports clear commitment to providing accessible washrooms, assisted listening technology, and much more. Victoria International is the fourth airport in Canada to receive this level of certification.
Victoria Airport Authority: member since 1981
Seaspan orders two new container ships

Seaspan ULC has announced that they have ordered two new container ships to be built by 2023. The ultra-modern Newbuild container ships will be able to hold 24,000 shipping containers each, and will be in service for 18-year charters.
Seaspan ULC: member since 1972
Seaspan ULC: Chamber Champion since 2020
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you!
Welcome to our newest members!