August 25, 2021
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
“Our marine border is a vital link for our region and we’re thankful the Canada Border Service Agency has found the capacity to staff ferry terminals in the Inner Harbour as of Sept. 7,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said.

“The Victoria Clipper and Coho Ferry connect Greater Victoria with Washington State, which is extremely important for our tourism sector. When land and air borders were initially opened to Americans on Aug. 9, we were alarmed that our marine borders were not included. On behalf of our community partners, The Chamber reached out directly to the federal government and Prime Minister’s Office to make sure they knew how important this link is to our region’s economy.”
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: Member since 2003
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
Clipper Navigation Ltd.: Member since 1995
Black Ball Ferry Line: Member since 1961
Proof of vaccination required starting Sept. 13
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce looks forward to working with the provincial government to help ensure a smooth rollout of plans to require proof of vaccination for social and recreational settings starting Sept. 13.

“Keeping businesses open and ensuring the safety of staff and customers is the priority for every employer I’ve talked to,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. “It’s frustrating that we’re still dealing with restrictions at this point, but I don’t think anyone is surprised to see yet another curveball from COVID-19. People in Greater Victoria have done a remarkable job in getting immunized and reducing the risk in our region, and from what I’m hearing there’s support for the province’s announcement for a vaccine passport.”
Specified Settings
  • indoor ticketed sporting events
  • indoor concerts
  • indoor theatre / dance / symphony events
  • restaurants (indoor and patio dining)
  • night clubs
  • casinos
  • movie theatres
  • fitness centres / gyms (excluding youth recreational sport)
  • businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities
  • organized indoor events (eg. weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, workshops)
  • discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities
As of Oct, 24, people will need to have been fully vaccinated for at least seven days to be allowed in specified settings. The measures will be re-assessed on Jan. 31, 2022, to determine if an extension is required.

“Right now, we’re working with government on behalf of a number of community partners on how vaccine passports and mask mandates are enforced,” Williams said. “It can’t fall to frontline staff to enforce these policies. Employers are already struggling to find and keep workers, and the prospect of dealing with aggressively opinionated anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers should not be part of the job description.”
Mask mandate takes effect today for indoor spaces
The provincial government also announced that, starting today, masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces.

“Until we can be sure that everyone we’re interacting with socially has done their part to reduce risk, it makes sense to require masks in situations where we don’t know the vaccination status of others,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. “Immunization really is the way out of this and there’s little tolerance for people who don’t have legitimate medical reasons for not getting vaccinated.”
Chamber in the Media
Chamber hosting candidate panels for federal election
With a federal election now set for Sept. 20, The Chamber is finalizing dates and times for our Candidate Listening Sessions with candidates in the four ridings representing Greater Victoria.

The business-focused sessions, which run from Sept. 14 to 16, can be viewed by all of our members. If you have questions for candidates, please send them to [email protected] by Sept. 3.
Membership Matters survey now closed
The Chamber's 2021 Membership Matters survey is now closed. Thank you to all our members who took the time to let us know how we're doing. This annual survey is an important part of making sure we're providing what our members need.

Early results show a 16% increase in responses since we began the annual survey in 2017. Not surprisingly, 85% of members identified this newsletter, BizNews, as being Very Beneficial to Beneficial in keeping our membership informed and engaged.

Our thanks to the nearly 150 respondents to the survey this year. Congratulations to Ly Siu of Codan Radio Communications for winning round-trip flights to Vancouver for two from Helijet.

And congratulations to Carly Russell-Huntley of, who won the early-bird prize from Evo Car Share! Member since 2011
Evo Car Share: Member since 2021
Chamber announces first chair of new Committee for the Advancement of Diversity and Inclusion
Richard Michaels has been named chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s newly formed Committee for the Advancement of Diversity and Inclusion. The committee will reach out to better include communities that have faced systemic marginalization due to race, ethnicity, gender, physical capabilities or other factors.

“I am proud to be the first chair of this new committee, which recognizes that the demographics of Greater Victoria are evolving and that adapting to this change is fundamental to the sustainability of our region’s economy,” said Michaels, president of MACCRIM Solutions and a member of The Chamber’s Board of Directors. “The Chamber is working to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment that engages businesses owners and entrepreneurs who reflect the full spectrum of our region. This strengthens our organization and ensures everyone in our region’s business community is represented by The Chamber.”

The purpose of the Committee for the Advancement of Diversity and Inclusion is to offer advice and guidance to help The Chamber create a more inclusive and welcoming business community. The mandate is part of the work the organization has been doing to achieve its vision of being “the region’s most diverse and influential business association.”

In June, The Chamber also announced the creation of an Indigenous Business Task Force to work toward reconciliation by engaging with Indigenous-owned businesses and First Nations to ensure they have access to all opportunities available to help them flourish.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we know things will not be as they were before it started,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. “This is the time to take what we’ve learned from successfully adapting to challenging times and make our economy more sustainable. Good business really does build great community for all.”
CEO Column: Worker shortage is back in focus
I was out for dinner recently, enjoying a wonderfully prepared meal. The service was friendly and efficient, and our server noted we’d come at a good time. Sure enough, as we paid our cheque and got up to make our way into the warm evening, a rush of diners had arrived. The staff put on their best face but it was a challenge for them to get tables cleared and to seat and serve all of their new customers. For the most part, patrons were patient and understanding. But one or two became vocal about having to wait a few extra minutes, chastising employees who were clearly working as fast as possible.

Knowing how hard it is for so many employers to find and keep staff, I decided I couldn’t let the grousing go unchallenged. In my most disarming voice, I reassured the grumpy party that the meal was worth the wait and reminded them about endemic staffing shortages and the need to be grateful to those people who showed up to work.

We’re facing a crisis as our economy recovers and businesses reopen with fewer restrictions. Many employers are trying to meet the demand of a public that’s longing to reconnect and renew relationships. However, with not enough available workers, we’re seeing reduced hours at restaurants and hearing about delays with construction projects. Even BC Ferries was forced to cancel sailings one evening because of staffing shortages.

Are seniors a solution for understaffed businesses?
Finding staff is a major challenge for businesses, especially in the hospitality sector. The issue is affecting businesses across the province, and, on the Sunshine Coast, one group seems to have found a temporary solution. Coasters helping Coasters is a group of mostly retired seniors who are filling in at restaurants and cafes in Sechelt. Their aim is to help keep their businesses open, but they say the idea could work anywhere.

What do you think about seniors stepping up to help fill vacancies in Greater Victoria? Tell us your thoughts and share your solutions by emailing [email protected].
Welcome back to in-person events
We're thrilled to welcome you back to events this September! Although we've loved chatting on Zoom, we're looking forward to seeing and connecting our emerging and established members of Greater Victoria's business community face to face at our first in-person Mingle and Mixer this year.

And we'll do so safely. In accordance with Provincial Health Guidelines, The Chamber will require proof of vaccination at all in-person events starting with our first in-person event on Sept. 16 — Prodigy's Bite Size Connections. Mask requirements will follow Provincial Health guidelines at the time of the event.

If you were ahead of the game and already registered for an event in September, expect an email from someone on our team to confirm that you're a #ChamberChangeMaker — one of the more than 83% of British Columbians who have been vaccinated.
The Prodigy Group presents Bite-Size Connections

Time to climb out of the jammies and back into real clothes! The Prodigy Group is leading the way with the very first of The Chamber's in-person events starting this fall.

Join us for Bite Size Connections to truly reconnect with this region's entrepreneurs, newcomers and best and brightest.

Attendees will be able to sit in groups of six and mingle over appetizers. Be sure to register now as seating is limited!
Sponsored by:
Thurs., Sept. 16 | 5 - 6 PM
Maple Room - Strathcona Hotel
Registration is limited so don't delay!

Proof of vaccination required. Safety protocols will be in place and we will be following Provincial Health Guidelines for events. If you are feeling unwell we ask that you refrain from attending.
September Business Mixer
Take your connections to the max with our joint Business Mixer hosted by Max Furniture and Maximum Express Courier, Freight & Logistics

This vibrant, after hours business social event provides an excellent opportunity for members and prospective members to meet face-to-face, establishing or renewing valuable business relationships.

The maximum capacity of any Chamber event is 50% of the venue room capacity. Attendance is limited, register now so you don't miss out.
Sponsored by:
Thurs., Sept. 23 | 5 - 6:30 PM
Max Furniture, 3460 Quadra St
Victoria, BC
Proof of vaccination required. Safety protocols will be in place and we will be following Provincial Health Guidelines for events. If you are feeling unwell we ask that you refrain from attending.
Program helps businesses improve digital presence
Greater Victoria businesses looking to improve their online presence can access funding from the Digital Economy: Rapid Response and Recovery (DER3) program.

The Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC) is taking applications for the program. In the past five months, VIATEC says it has helped "111 local businesses with more than 1,700 advisory hours from 23 subject matter experts and access to 37 digital service providers."
The VIATEC DER3 team is now helping businesses transition to a post pandemic economy through strategy and coaching sessions, technical assessments and funding of up to $2,000 for small projects.
VIATEC: Member since 1991
Do you want to be on a Chamber committee?
The Chamber has a number of active and engaged committees that report to our Board of Directors. A key reason for the success of our board committees is the involvement of our Chamber members as volunteer committee members.

Each year, there are a few openings on our committees for new members. We are recruiting now for members who will be available starting on Jan. 1, 2022 for at least a two-year term. Here are our committees:
  • The Ambassador Committee
  • The Finance and Audit Committee
  • The Prodigy Group
  • The Public Policy and Advocacy Committee
  • Indigenous Business Task Force
  • Committee for the Advancement of Diversity and Inclusion

The opportunity to apply for any of the above committees will be open until Oct. 15, 2021. At the end of the application period, the chair of the committee will be in contact by email or phone.
National Dog Day
Thursday, Aug. 26 is National Dog Day — a chance to celebrate your furry friend while supporting Chamber members. Look no further for ways to show your dog how much you love them.

  • Treat your dog to a special treat from Bosley’s Pet Food Plus.
  • Introduce your pet to new friends with a pack-walk from Petiquette.
  • Let your dog enjoy a trip of a lifetime with Adventure Dog.
  • Pamper your pup with a reiki session from Woofability.
  • As always, spending time with your dog on a walk in local park or trail is a surefire way to show your appreciation to your pet and get some exercise.
Photo by Jim Zeeben
Sunny the lab puppy loves her belly scritches.
Thinking that now is a great time to bring home a lovable pet? Take a look at adoptable animals from the BC SPCA Victoria. We hope you have a paw-sitively great National Dog Day!
Showcase your business at the 2021 Auction
Do you want your products and services featured in The Chamber Auction? From gift cards to great local items and everything in-between, reach thousands of potential customers by donating a prize today. Keep an eye on our social media feed to see some of the incredible auction items featured this year.

This is a major fundraising event for The Chamber, with all proceeds supporting our work as the largest and most influential advocate for business on the Island. Last year, we received nearly 8,000 visitors to our auction platform for a week of bidding on fabulous gifts.
As an event sponsor, Maximum Express, Courier, Freight and Logistics is offering donors complimentary delivery of their auction item to The Chamber Office.
Have questions? Please call (250) 383-7191 or email Alex at [email protected]
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
A chat with Colwood Mayor Rob Martin
The City of Colwood is transforming and transitioning as plans for strategic growth have begun to take shape through new developments and amenities. 

In this Chamber Chat, CEO Bruce Williams discusses the plans for today and for the future with Colwood Mayor Rob Martin.
City of Colwood: Member since 2020
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Post for free on
The Chamber’s job board

As summer draws to an end, now is a perfect time to ensure you’re well-staffed for the fall by using your one free annual job posting.

Chamber Members are entitled to one free 30-day listing on the job board every calendar year. Simply use the code INTRO2021 at checkout.

If you have any questions or need assistance uploading your job posting, please email
Create an online strategy to drive global sales 
Discover, learn and create an integrated online strategy to drive your global sales.

100% of ICE graduates stated that they are better equipped for e-commerce following the workshop and would recommend ICE to other SME's.

Join us for this two-day interactive workshop:
  • September 7, 2021 — 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • September 8, 2021 — 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Full Bursaries available to Chamber Members - email [email protected]
Member News
Mobile health clinic

TELUS Communications and the Victoria Cool Aid Society have created a specially equipped mobile van to provide healthcare to those experiencing homelessness in Greater Victoria. The van provides primary medical treatments as well as mental health services and addiction support. The van will be visiting shelters, food banks and other vital locations identified in collaboration with community partners.
TELUS Communications | TELUS Business: Member since 1962
TELUS Business: Chamber Champion since 2020
Victoria Cool Aid Society: Member since 2006
Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society: Member since 1990
The Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature: Member since 2013
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific: Member since 2013
Orca Spirt Adventures: Member since 2011
Prince of Whales Whale Watching: Member since 2002
Eagle Wing Whale & Wildlife Watching Tours: Member since 2013
Victoria Butterfly Gardens: Member since 2008
Victoria Caledonian Distillery & Twa Dogs Brewery: Member since 2013
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you
BC Ferries names two new island class vessels

BC Ferries has officially christened two new vessels, the Island K'ulut'a and Island Nagalis, meaning ‘porpoise‘ and ‘dawn of the land’ in the Kwakwaka’wakw language.

They are the third and fourth Island class ferries to be added to BC Ferries’ fleet. The vessels will begin operating the Campbell River-Quadra Island route in 2022.
BC Ferry Services Inc: Member since 1983 
Next steps for Royal BC Museum project

The Royal BC Museum is looking for candidates to design and build their new research facility in the City of Colwood. Provincial funding of $224 million has been approved for the development, and companies are encouraged to submit bids by Sept. 8. Unsuccessful bidders for the project may also receive $1 million in compensation to offset the cost of preparing their proposals.
Royal BC Museum: Member since 1994
City of Colwood: Member since 2020
Canadian Tire purchases stake in Ashcroft Terminal

Canadian Tire has purchased a stake in BC’s largest inland port to strengthen their supply chain and keep local stores stocked. The Ashcroft Terminal, located near Kamloops, will help Canadian Tire secure railway capacity within the interior. In addition to reducing costs and increasing efficiency, the investment is expected to help Canadian Tire lower carbon emissions by shifting volume away from trucks.

Canadian Tire Hillside: Member since 2018
Raffle for Island kids

Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island is hosting a 50/50 raffle to support their Bear Essentials program, helping cover the cost of health-related travel and equipment for Island families. Tickets are available until Aug. 30.
Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver: Member since 2007
Scenic Showers

The Robin Hood Inn and Suites are currently remodelling their shower surrounds to feature panoramic views of Vancouver Island.

As well, a digital guide is being produced so travellers can visit the featured locations in person.

Robin Hood Inn and Suites: Member since 2014
Welcome to our newest Members!
Member to Member discounts
Members can post Coupons and Discounts free of charge here.
Stand out at upcoming events with a snazzy Chamber name tag. Email us to order yours today.