Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
October 14, 2020
October is Small Business Month at The Chamber
Take a photo of your team or business and tag @VictoriaChamber to be featured on our social media platforms. Don't forget to tag #SmallBusinessMonthYYJ
The Chamber is setting up Election Panels to help our members get information on candidates running in Greater Victoria for the provincial election on Oct. 24.

Missed the live event?
Watch previous livestreamed videos on our website:

  • Victoria-Beacon Hill
  • Oak Bay-Gordon Head
We'll be collaborating with community chambers so make sure to save the following dates and plan to watch via Facebook Live:

New commercial rent relief plan an improvement
The federal government unveiled a new plan last Friday to help commercial tenants struggling with a loss of revenue due to the pandemic.

The Chamber had called on government to replace the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), which expired last month. It suffered from low uptake and had faced criticism from many business that found it exceptionally difficult to implement.

The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will be provided directly to eligible tenants, unlike CECRA which relied on buy-in from landlords. The government touts CERS as providing "simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021."

"A program that is easier to access is good news for many commercial tenants that are struggling right now," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "The new plan is an improvement and allows businesses to plan for the winter and spring. We'll have to see how it's rolled out, and how well it works for our most vulnerable businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector."

Also announced Friday was an extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, and an expanded Canada Emergency Business Account offering access to an interest-free loan of $20,000 in addition to the initial CEBA loan of $40,000.
Each week, The Chamber will profile one of the 14 different award categories, encouraging members to nominate a deserving Chamber member.

Business of the Year (1-10 Employees) honours a business:
  • that demonstrates continual business excellence through positive business growth
  • displays a commitment to the community
  • exemplifies superior customer service
  • embraces an outstanding commitment to quality
  • and demonstrates leadership and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2020 New Business finalists below. Thanks to City of Victoria for sponsoring this award.
House of Boateng (Winner)
Return of downtown office workers welcome news
The decision to get BC government workers back in the office is welcome news. In June, The Chamber wrote to provincial Finance Minister Carole James — who is also MLA of Victoria-Beacon Hill — and asked what her plan was to return civil servants to their workplaces. The request was made after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry advised that it was safe to go back to the office, and after WorkSafeBC published extensive guidelines on how to do so.

Greater Victoria's economy needs a vibrant downtown, and downtown businesses need support. Restaurants, cafes and retailers struggle without the civil servants who shop or buy meals before and after work and during their breaks.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told the Times Colonist that businesses outside of downtown are generally faring well, but those in the core are fighting for their survival.

"It’s put a real serious challenge in front of many business owners downtown.”

In the letter to the finance minister, which was co-signed by the Downtown Victoria Business Association and the City of Victoria, we called on government to model best practices for a safe return to work. We're thankful our voice was heard, and that the return of public service workers gives hope to the many businesses that are hanging on downtown.
WorkSafeBC: Member since 2006
Downtown Victoria Business Association: Member since 2007
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Regional unemployment rate improves slightly
Statistics Canada's latest unemployment numbers offer more evidence about the impact of the pandemic on jobs in Greater Victoria. Our region is improving from the summer, with the jobless rate at 9.1% for September compared to 10.3% in August and a low of 11.1% in July.

However, we are currently the 22nd ranked Census Metropolitan Area in Canada. Before COVID-19, Greater Victoria consistently had the lowest or second lowest unemployment rate in the country.

Our ranking is largely attributable to a 39% drop in the number of people working in accommodations and food services — the sector hit the hardest by measures to control the pandemic.
Colwood projects put municipality in spotlight
The City of Colwood is enjoying time in the spotlight as the West Shore municipality undergoes an impressive uptick in popularity. So much more than a source of commuters, Colwood is becoming a hub for new jobs being created in the region.

Recently announced projects include a new home for the Royal BC Museum's archives, collections and research as well as a $26 million complex for Seaspan Victoria Shipyards. There's also a massive mixed-use development in the works from Omicron.

“Colwood is at a really pivotal time right now where we’re shifting from a bedroom community to something very dynamic and I think dynamic is good,” Colwood Mayor Rob Martin told the Times Colonist.
City of Colwood: Member since 2020
Omicron Canada Inc: Member since 2015
Seaspan Victoria Shipyards: Member since 2002
Royal BC Museum: Member since 1994
Thousands taking part in Great BC Shake Out!
Are you ready to rumble? You should be! Tomorrow at 10:15 am is the Great British Columbia Shake Out, and a number of organizations across Greater Victoria are helping raise awareness about earthquake preparation.

To learn more about what steps you can take to make your workplace, classroom and home safer, go to
Virtual October Business Mixer
This virtual after hours business social event provides an excellent opportunity for members and prospective members to establish or renew valuable business relationships. 
Sponsored by:
Thurs., Oct. 15 | 5-6 pm | Zoom
AGM and Mayors Panel (Online)
Join us for an historic event, as we bring together mayors from across the Capital Regional District to discuss what's ahead for our region as we move through this pandemic.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams will facilitate a discussion on future collaborations between our regional municipalities.
Tues., Nov. 3 | 11:45 am - 1 pm
Sponsored by:
We are all in this together!
It's never been easier to support local business. By purchasing a gift card for a local restaurant or retail business — your donation will help both local businesses and The Chamber as we make our way through this pandemic.

As a thank you for your support, your business will receive recognition for this donation in our online auction taking place Nov. 15-22 and help us to continue to advocate on your behalf as the largest business organization on Vancouver Island.
Sponsored by:
Chamber job board
If you're an employer looking for your next great hire, make sure to post your career opportunities on the Chamber job board.

The job board is an exclusive benefit of Chamber membership.

If you have any difficulty posting, email

We will get back to you within one business day. We know how important hiring the right person can be.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Current Job Listings:
Members Around Town
Helping Canadians breathe easy

StarFish Medical has Health Canada certification to manufacture and ship their ventilators across Canada.

The redesigned ventilator has been described as a “masterpiece” by the doctor who developed the original technology.

The federal government has praised StarFish for taking a lead early in the pandemic to help create a made in Canada solution.

StarFish Medical: member since 2009
RBC celebrates local business

RBC Financial Group, South Island is celebrating local business this month by asking employees to think and shop local. Through internal and external social media postings, RBC is striving to create awareness of great local businesses. To participate, email Krista Moffett, RBC's Manager Business Markets, or contact your local branch for an opportunity to highlight your business.
RBC Financial Group - Commercial Financial Services, Vancouver Island South: member since 1962

TELUS is supporting Small Business Month by offering business owners special savings.

TELUS has been actively promoting small business owners using its #StandWithOwners campaign, which provided $500,000 to Canadian business owners earlier this year.
TELUS Communications: member since 1962
Bottle drive drop-off in support of Festival of Trees
A drive-thru bottle drive in support of the Festival of Trees is planned for this Sunday, Oct. 18, at the Archie Browning Sports Centre parking lot from 12 to 4 pm. You don't need to sort your bottles, and the drop-off allows for no contact.

The event is sponsored by, and The Ocean 98.5, in support of the BC Children's Hospital Foundation.
Rogers Media - Ocean 98.5: Member since 1962 Member since 2011
BC Children's Hospital Foundation: Member since 2016
Camosun Cuisine Machine

Camosun College has launched its student food truck, and will be at various locations providing people in Greater Victoria with a variety of lunch specials.

Currently in its trial stage, the Camosun Cuisine Machine is run by culinary students in the Professional Cook Program.
Camosun College: member since 1981
Royal Roads bestows honour on Dr. Bonnie Henry

Royal Roads University will honour BC's provincial health officer with an honourary doctor of laws degree.

"Honorary degree recipients exhibit a standard of excellence that inspires graduates and sets an example for positive change in the world," a news release from Royal Roads says.

Dr. Bonnie Henry will receive her honour on Nov. 6, during Royal Roads’ fall convocation ceremonies.
Royal Roads: member since 1996
UVic names building after outgoing president

The University of Victoria is honouring its former president by renaming the University Centre building the Jamie Cassels Centre.

Cassels has spent seven years at the school and will be stepping aside this fall. He been a member of UVic's faculty for 40 years.

The new building join a list of others named after distinguished members of the community who have made exceptional contributions to the university.
University of Victoria: member since 1976
Saanich Climate Plan recognized with award

The District of Saanich has won an award for Community Planning and Development at the 2020 Climate and Energy Action Awards. The municipality received the award due to their 2020 Climate Plan: “100% Renewable and Resilient Saanich’, which aims to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Corporation of the District of Saanich: member since 2019
CRD receives corporate recognition

Integrated Water Services within the CRD received the award due to the organization’s collaborative effort with commitment to public health and environment concerns. The ECOP works with stakeholders to provide drinking water and wastewater management across BC and the Yukon.
Capital Regional District (CRD): member since 1993
Save your place in style

Feeling creative? Bolen Books has launched a new contest seeking artwork for their new bookmarks.

Whether your artwork is a painting, drawing, photograph or a wood carving, enter by Oct. 15 for the chance to win a $50 gift card and to see your artwork on bookmarks from Bolen Books.
Bolen Books: member since 1979
Is your business implementing new strategies or innovative ways of connecting with consumers?

Welcome to our newest member!