Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
November 25, 2020
Tax experts offer update on latest in federal relief
We're now eight months into the pandemic in BC, and businesses are finding their way — often with help from government relief programs that have been rolling out since the spring. On Tuesday, The Chamber hosted the latest offering in our Business Restart Series with tax experts Kris Wirk and Matthew Hohnsbehn. If you didn't have a chance to watch live, you can still view the recorded video.

Kris and Matthew provided insight into the most popular programs, including updates and changes to what you need to apply. This video is particularly timely for businesses that are accessing the wage subsidy, the emergency business account and the recently revised emergency rent subsidy.
Victoria ranked among world's top-5 small cities
Victoria continues to shine on the international stage as Monocle magazine has named our city one of the top five small cities in the world.

“Victoria is at the heart of a vibrant South Island region. Our city has made an effort over the last few years to diversify our economy, especially in our ocean research and technology sectors, drawing new talent and energy into our region,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said in the City of Victoria's news release. “Despite the recent challenges of the pandemic, this recognition reinforces the fact that we continue to be one of the most desirable places to live and work in the world.”

Porto, Portugal, topped the list followed by Leuven, Belgium, Itoshima, Japan and Lucerne, Switzerland.

The list features cities that Monocle's editors believe are the best options for people looking to move away from big cities. The top small cities were selected in part because they are well connected internationally, and have progressive and nimble local leadership.
City of Victoria: member since 1962
Downtown needs help as new restrictions imposed
What does local mean to you? The answer to that question will be key to ensuring Greater Victoria is able to recover from the pandemic and gain added resilience as we move forward. As the province ramps up temporary restrictions to try and reduce the transmission of COVID-19, not everyone is being impacted equally. Downtown Victoria, in particular, is facing a difficult few weeks as the provincial government backs away from its plan to move workers back to their offices.

“If people are not coming downtown to work. They are probably not coming downtown to shop,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told CHEK News, noting that suburban hubs are faring better. The Chamber urges people to find ways to support business in need. Why not make a special trip downtown while parking is abundant and protocols are in place to ensure customers' safety? It's also easy to support businesses by purchasing from them online for pickup or delivery.

The Downtown Victoria Business Association has a Shop Downtown from Home campaign underway encouraging locals to support businesses in the downtown core.

Please do what you can to support each other so we can get through this together. #InItTogetherYYJ #ChamberLocalVicBC
Downtown Victoria Business Association: Member since 2007
Feds plan to boost immigration to grow economy
The Chamber has been a vocal advocate for increased immigration as Vancouver Island is facing a severe labour shortage over the next decade. On Oct. 30, the federal government announced an ambitious increase to immigration levels to try and make up for the low number of new arrivals this year.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Minister Marco Mendicino said Canada will bring in 401,000 immigrants next year, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023.

"It’s difficult to predict exactly how many newcomers will arrive in the Capital Region over the next three years," the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria says in its latest newsletter. "Usually, we see roughly 2,000 annually."

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on government to ensure new arrivals to Canada are a match for sectors that need workers. The pandemic has skewed the unemployment rate, though the fundamental concerns will likely still be there after the economy recovers.
Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria: Member since 1996
Economic development agency eyed for BC: Joly
Canada's Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly said BC could have its own agency to help businesses bounce forward after COVID-19.

“We need to be much more focused on British Columbians’ realities and needs, and the pandemic has exacerbated this reality,” Joly said in a report by Postmedia this week. "When you look at other regions of the country, there is a very strong presence of the federal government. But that’s not necessarily the case as much in British Columbia.”

The Western Economic Diversification Agency currently serves BC as well as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Joly was a guest speaker last Friday at the South Island Prosperity Partnership's Rising Economy Week.

Joly, pictured above, spoke to Chamber members last year as part of our Business Leader Series of luncheons.
South Island Prosperity Partnership: Member since 2017
Postmedia - Victoria: Member since 2019
Use your benefits today
Now is the time to take advantage of your health insurance coverage through your Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan.

Before the calendar year ends, make sure you schedule in a visit to your local dentist, chiropractor, massage therapist, or acupuncturist to ensure you use the coverage you’re provided. Depending on your plan, your funds may not carry over into 2021.

Rest easy knowing claim payments are directly deposited into your account within 48 hours of being processed, and that you’re supporting local businesses this holiday season.

Interested in learning more? For over 17 years, Jack Insurance and Financial Services has helped Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce members design a Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance plan reflecting the size and requirements of their businesses. Email to learn more!
Chamber Job Board

During these extraordinary times, The Chamber’s Job Board connects employers needing help with employees in need of work.

Whether you’re a CEO, small business owner, or a manager looking for talent, finding and retaining employees is crucial.

Learn more about how to post on the job board here. ​If you have any questions about posting, please email
Upcoming Events
Chair's Holiday Event
Come one, come all to virtually celebrate the holiday season!

In addition to networking, our holiday event features festive cocktail demonstrations by mixologists from Little Jumbo, holiday trivia and prizes for the best holiday face mask.

Do you have an item or service you'd like to donate as a doorprize for this event?

Contact Christine Lewis at
Wed., Dec. 2 | 5-6 pm | Zoom
Hon. Perrin Beatty, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
On January 20, 2021, President-Elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 47th President of the United States.

Join us that afternoon as Chamber CEO Bruce Williams discusses what this will mean for the West Coast and for US-Canada relations, in a conversation with the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Submit your questions by end of day Monday, January 18, 2020.
Wed., Jan. 20 | 12-1 pm
Each week, The Chamber will profile one of the 14 different award categories, encouraging members to nominate a deserving Chamber member.
Outstanding Customer Service honours a business that:
  • Is a leader in providing exceptional customer service;
  • Serves as a role model, mentor or example of excellence to other businesses;
  • Exhibits a commitment to the community;
  • Demonstrates leadership and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Can provide up to 10 testimonials from customers dated within the last 2 years.
Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2020 Outstanding Customer Service finalists below. Thanks to Innov8 Digital Solutions Inc. for sponsoring this award.
FINALIST: Victoria HarbourCats 
Learn more about the nomination process!
Thurs., Jan. 14 | 12-1 pm
Our Chamber Champions
Member News
Camosun celebrates 50 years 
Camosun College has unveiled their 50th anniversary logo for 2021. The logo, rooted in local indigenous myths and legends, was designed by Coast Salish artist and Camosun alumni Dylan Thomas.
Camosun College: member since 1981
Hygiene kits for women and children in need

The Victoria Women's Professional Group is partnering with WIN Resale Shops to provide hygiene kits for women and children. With a goal of receiving 100 hygiene kits, must-have items include toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, pads, tampons, shampoo, conditioner and deodorant. Click here to learn more about the initiative and to donate. Deadline is Nov. 30.
WIN Resale Shops: member since 1998
Victoria Women's Professional Group: member since 2019
$2.65 million to Victoria Hospitals Foundation

Island Health says the unit will reduce pressure on intensive care units, while enabling teams to respond more quickly to admission surges and providing better support for Greater Victoria’s aging population. To learn more about this donation and what it means for Victoria hospitals, watch the recent Chamber Chat vodcast here.

Victoria Hospitals Foundation: member since 2019
Island Health: member since 2020
Seaspan Victoria Shipyards: member since 2002
Do you have an innovation success story? We want to hear from you!
A fresh look at Robin Hood

The Robin Hood Inn and Suites has completed a website refresh, providing guests with an updated and cutting-edge booking experience. Receive 50% off your third night, and enjoy a relaxing sleep on their Stearns and Foster mattresses, which ensure you will have the “best sleep ever.”
Robin Hood Inn and Suites: member since 2014
Hoops of Victoria

How many basketball courts in Greater Victoria do you know? With the We The West Festival Hoops of Victoria contest, you can be rewarded for your knowledge. Simply identify the location featured in Instagram photos, tag your friends, and you will be entered to win some merch. (Psst… was their recent photo taken at a school in Greater Victoria School District SD61?)
Greater Victoria School District SD61: member since 1976
We the West: Member since 2020
Excellence in Entrepreneurship

Mandy Farmer, CEO of Accent Inns and Hotel Zed has won the 2020 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Excellence Award. Farmer was selected out of thousands of nominees across Canada, and received the award due to her supportive work during the pandemic, including working with the United Way of Greater Victoria to provide housing for frontline workers. Congratulations, Mandy!
RBC Financial Group: member since 1962
Accent Inns | Hotel Zed: member since 1992
United Way of Greater Victoria: member since 1972
Forbes spotlight on Laurel Point

The Inn at Laurel Point has recently been highlighted in Forbes magazine for their team's environmental innovations. As BC’s first carbon-neutral hotel, Laurel Point was commended for their approach to reducing energy and water usage through geothermal heating, and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the 2018 Greater Victoria Business Awards, the Laurel Point won the Outstanding Workplace Award due to these innovations.
Inn at Laurel Point: member since 1991
Welcome to our newest members!