January 11, 2023
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria!
One week left to nominate a deserving organization or individual for a Greater Victoria Business Awards! See below for details.
“Mandy is a great representative of all the things this award stands for,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. “The judges had to make a difficult decision with a number of highly qualified nominees, but I think everyone can agree that Mandy is an excellent choice and has been truly inspirational for so many of her peers in Greater Victoria’s business community.”

Farmer leads a family business that operates five Accent Inns throughout B.C., as well as Hotel Zed accommodations in Victoria, Kelowna and Tofino. A 2020 winner of RBC's Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award, Farmer has been an Hon. Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy and has served on a number of boards and committees. Her authentic approach with customers and staff over the course of the pandemic has resonated throughout the community and across industries.

The Chamber's Award of Distinction, sponsored by the Times Colonist, will be officially celebrated at the 2023 Greater Victoria Business Awards, which feature 14 categories recognizing organizations that have distinguished themselves through excellent customer service, innovation and sustainable business practices.

In November 2022, Ann Squires Ferguson was announced as Chamber Member of the Year for 2023

The Chamber's 2023 Business Awards will be held in May at the Fairmont Empress. The event will also be broadcast on CHEK TV. Nominations are open until Jan. 18.
Voice of business advocates for regional economy
The start of a new year is an opportunity to reflect back and look ahead. Chamber CEO Bruce Williams has been speaking to media about some of the experiences, challenges and opportunities facing business right now.

For example, the winter weather that blitzed Greater Victoria right before the holidays caused havoc for travellers but shoppers still found a way to get their gift buying done in time. Retailers reported a better than expected experience at their cash registers, though part of that seems to be an ongoing shift in consumer habits.

“They’re spending a little bit more but buying less. In other words, going for quality over quantity,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told CHEK News.

As well, news that Canada set a record for immigration numbers was welcomed by businesses that continue to face challenges finding and keeping workers.

Black Press highlighted The Chamber's efforts to encourage more new Canadians to settle in Greater Victoria, as well as faster approvals for skilled workers.

“They bring their skills but another really important element is they bring their culture,” Williams told the Victoria News. “The more opportunities we have to learn more about other cultures, the better we are.”

Doctors, tradespeople and hospitality workers are needed and our economy will immediately benefit from approving people with internationally obtained skills to work in their areas of expertise.

“The lack of recognition of those credentials is kind of counterproductive to bringing someone here (because of) those credentials if they can’t work,” Williams said.
Demand remains strong for commercial real estate
The increase in assessed value of properties doesn't only apply to residential real estate. There is ongoing demand for industrial and commercial properties as well, reports the Times Colonist.

With industrial vacancy at a record low of 0.2%, the demand for working properties will continue to be strong, even as high interest rates make it more challenging to attract investment.
2023 Business Awards nominations close next week
From start-ups to local legends, the 2023 Business Awards shine a light on hard-working businesses, business people and community leaders in 14 categories worth celebrating.

Finalists are chosen by an independent panel of prominent business leaders who serve as judges. Nominations close: January 18, 2023
Nominate a Greater Victoria business in one or more of the following categories:
Business of the Year (1-10 Employees)
Business of the Year (11-39 Employees)
Business of the Year (40+ Employees)
New Business of the Year
Non-Profit of the Year
Business Person of the Year
Sustainable Business Practices
Outstanding Workplace
Outstanding Customer Service
Community Builder of the Year
Emerging Business Person of the Year
Innovation Award
Jobless rate down as fewer seek work
It's a tough time to be an economist. The jump in inflation experienced last year spurred the Bank of Canada to spike interest rates with the goal of cooling the economy and perhaps triggering a recession. However, Statistics Canada shows that 104,000 jobs were added in December — much higher than most experts had forecast.

In Greater Victoria, the numbers also offer a mixed message as the unemployment rate dropped to 3.4% in December. However, the region's available labour force was down from November while overall population increased.

Perhaps we'll have more clarity when the consumer price index for December is announced on Jan. 17. The Bank of Canada will make an announcement on its interest rate on Jan. 25.
After pandemic delay, Black Press career fair returns
A number of Chamber members are taking part in the return of the Greater Victoria Hiring and Post-Secondary Education Event, hosted by Black Press on Feb. 23 at the Bay Street Armoury. Click here for more information.
Vic News Powered by Black Press: Member since 1987
GVHA seeks proposals for gift shop at Ogden Point
The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has published a Request for Proposal for gift shop services at the Victoria Cruise Terminal. This is a rare opportunity to establish a retail business in the heart of the Breakwater District at Ogden Point.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: Member since 2003
Celebrating #IndigenousBusinessVicBC
The Chamber is committed to Indigenous reconciliation. We’re proud to feature new Indigenous members, including Ursa Creative!
Ursa Creative is a small Indigenous-led team of technology professionals. They offer all the great things tech companies do like web design, custom software, and consulting services. They work to make a real difference in Greater Victoria by offering their time and expertise to the community.
Stay tuned as we highlight more Indigenous Chamber members — #IndigenousBusinessVicBC

Are you an Indigenous-owned business working in Greater Victoria? Learn more about Chamber membership and opportunities to connect by emailing [email protected]
Ursa Creative: Member since 2019
Chamber celebrates 160 years serving our region
You're invited to a special celebration to commemorate our 160th year building business in Greater Victoria. Raise a glass as we toast to the work done through the decades of both challenges and success.
As members, your support is the reason we can proudly state that we've been serving southern Vancouver Island as the champion of business for 160 years — decades upon decades of connecting hard-working entrepreneurs and innovative organizations with each other, while amplifying their voices to all levels of government.
Be a part of history and on our anniversary on Feb. 9, join other leaders and businesses from across Greater Victoria as we celebrate both The Chamber and the role of business in Greater Victoria's success. 
Thurs., Feb. 9 | 4 - 6 PM
Royal BC Museum, Floor 3
675 Belleville Street
Sponsored by:
Media Partners:
Chamber Week Member Networking Breakfast @ Royal Roads
Come celebrate the power of Chamber businesses with the Chamber Week Member Networking Breakfast presented by Royal Roads University and supported by our media partners 98.5 The Ocean and 103.1 Jack FM.

This breakfast is a must-attend event for Chamber members. After casual networking over breakfast, guests will have a chance to introduce themselves and their businesses in a 60 second elevator pitch; once everyone has had a chance to connect, it's time to meet an entirely new group of people at a different table!
Wed., Feb. 15 | 8 - 9:30 AM
Royal Roads University, Sequoia Building, Top floor - Centre for Dialogue, 2005 Sooke Rd
Sponsored by:
Media Partners:
1863 Impact Award
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has spent over 160 years working with business leaders to build good business and great community for all.

As the leading champion of business in southern Vancouver Island, The Chamber is investing in future business leaders through the Greater Victoria Chamber 1863 Impact Award.

The 1863 Impact Award is an entrance scholarship available to students beginning their studies as the University of Victoria, Camosun College, or Royal Roads. Each post-secondary institution will have varying criteria; however, preference will be given to students who:
  1. Are dependents of a current member of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
  2. Self-identify as belonging to an under-represented group or groups with historical and/or current barriers to equity.
  3. Demonstrate financial need.

Each recipient of the award will receive $2,000 towards their studies. Applications will be opening soon.

Many of us would not have reached the place we are today without the help and encouragement of those around us. This is your chance to pass on your support to the next generation.

We are inviting all current and future members to join us in making a positive impact in our future. If you would like to participate in this initiative, donations towards the 1863 Impact Award are graciously accepted.
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
The Expansion of Royal Roads University
Royal Roads University is expanding with a new campus in Langford set to open soon.

Learn more about that and the ongoing property enhancements at Canada’s most scenic post-secondary campus in this Chamber Chat with CEO Bruce Williams and Royal Roads President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Philip Steenkamp
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Royal Roads University: Member since 1996
Looking ahead with The Chamber’s job board
Start the new year off right by recharging your team with your next best employee!

Chamber Members are entitled to one free 30-day listing on the job board every calendar year, and there’s no better way to kick of 2023 than by adding great talent to your team. Use the code INTRO2023 at checkout when posting a 30-day listing.

The Chamber’s job board is an exclusive benefit for members. Reach the right candidates with the help of The Chamber.

If you have any questions or need assistance uploading your job posting, email [email protected] 
Member News
Phillips to offer part-ownership to employees

Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. is restructuring as an employee-owned company, giving full-time employees the opportunity to be part-owners. Matt Phillips, the owner of Phillips Brewing, says adjusting the ownership model provides dedicated employees with a higher stake in the company, leading to a stronger culture within the organization. Employees that have been with Phillips for three or more years will be eligible to purchase a share of the business.

Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.: Member since 2020
CIBC continues to represent sustainable investment

CIBC has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for the 18th consecutive year, highlighting the organization's commitment to sustainable investment. The DJSI provides a standardized measurement of companies’ environmental, social and governance performance, and CIBC continues to rank highly compared to banks worldwide.
CIBC: Member since 1901
CIBC: Chamber Champion since 2020
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you
OBMG receives national recognition

Oak Bay Marine Group has been recognized as one of Canada’s most admired corporate cultures. As Oak Bay Marine Group enters their 60th year of business, the award reflects a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, all while engaging with employees and sustaining a competitive advantage.
Oak Bay Marine Group: Member since 1969
Saanich moving to permanent dog licenses

Starting this year, the District of Saanich has begun issuing permanent dog tags, giving dogs an ID number that stays with them for life though tags still need to be renewed each year. All Saanich dogs over the age of four months require the permanent tags, which will make it easier to locate a lost pet. Register your dog by Feb. 1 for a $5 discount.

District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Cool and Unique Victoria hotels top BC’s rankings

Two local hotels have been recognized on Tripadvisor’s list of Cool and Unique BC Hotels. The Oswego Hotel and the Magnolia Hotel and Spa. Listed within the top 10 out of more than 50 hotels, these local gems.
Oswego Hotel: Member since 2007
Magnolia Hotel & Spa: Member since 1998
Member to Member Discounts
Members can post Coupons and Discounts free of charge here.
Welcome to our Newest Members!
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