Last Thursday, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre
hosted our joint Mixer and Mingle with Prodigy Group. In addition to excellent networking opportunities, attendees learned how to make cedar roses and sampled traditional drinks and food. See the photos here
Mark your calendars for the September Prodigy Group Mingle, our next networking event, at Canoe Brewpub on Sept. 12 from 5-7 pm. See you there! 
More student housing helps workforce 
On Monday, Saanich council approved a plan that will allow the University of Victoria to add 621 units of student housing on campus. A development variance permit was needed to allow the university to construct an eight-storey and 11-storey building. Council also agreed to reduce the number of required parking spots because of UVic's record of encouraging alternatives to driving. The project has been well received by the neighbourhoods adjacent to the university, and any additional student housing helps free up existing rental units for workers who require affordable accommodation.

The $201 million project is expected to be completed by 2023.

District of Saanich: member since 2019

University of Victoria: member since 1976

Chamber News
Roundup at the Roundhouse
Women Business Owners' Roundtable
Prodigy Group September Mingle
5 Chamber Business Mixer
37th Annual Dinner Auction Gala
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events
Feds commit cash for micro-suite rentals
The federal government announced yesterday that it
Robert Fung
was contributing $13.5 million to help the Sawyer Block offer 60 rental units at 30% below market rates.
Currently under construction by The Salient Group, the six-storey Sawyer Block is one of the first projects in Victoria to receive funding from the Rental Construction Financing Initiative.
"The Sawyer Block is a purpose-built rental housing project that is intended to provide attainable and secure workforce housing for the growing region," says Salient Group president Robert Fung.

The Salient Group: member since 2017
Put on your best blue jeans and boots, and make your way down to the dance floor for a little hoedown.  
If dancing ain't for you, stampede on over to the chef stations to enjoy gourmet appetizers, BBQ sliders, mac n' cheese and pie catered by Food For Thought Catering. Quench your thirst with local BC wine, craft beer and non-alcoholic cocktails. Yeehaw!
Sponsored by: 
Thu, Sept 5 | 6:30-8:30 pm      
The Roundhouse at Bayview
253 Esquimalt Rd.   
Businesses call foul on workers' comp review

A review of BC's workers compensation system has been called into question after 46 business associations walked away from the process.

The group sent a signed letter announcing their resignation to the government-appointed reviewer, Janet Patterson. In the letter, the group expressed concern that Patterson was bringing a bias to the process after she broadened the scope of the review to make potentially "dramatic and wholesale" changes. Many of the changes echo those she suggested in 2009 in a report co-authored with the BC Federation of Labour. This includes compensation regardless of who is at fault, calculating future lost earnings for injury and the ability to reopen a case at any time.

BC's Labour Minister Harry Bains told the Vancouver Sun that he will try to work with business to reengage them in the review. He was clear that the review will proceed and a report is expected in October.
Educating our federal candidates

As summer begins to wind down, it's time to get back to business ahead of the Oct. 21 federal election.
The Chamber is once again partnering with the City of Victoria, the Downtown Victoria Business Association, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Destination Greater Victoria to outline key regional priorities for the next federal government.

On Sept. 11, we will co-host an All-Candidates Listening Session from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Lecture Theatre in the Victoria Conference Centre. Each community organization will discuss an issue important to our region, and how we want the federal government to help. 
The public are invited to attend, free of charge. There will be opportunities following the session to engage with the panel and candidates.
Members Around Town
Beer + Southern Resident Killer Whales? 
Five Vancouver Island breweries have partnered together to offer a unique flavour experience, while also helping the Southern Resident Killer Whales. The Pod Pack, presented by Vancouver Island Brewing, is a collaborative effort between Nanaimo-based White Sails Brewing, Port Alberni-based Twin City Brewing, Victoria-based Isle Sauvage Brewing and Comox-based Land and Sea Brewing. For every four-pack sold, $1 will go to the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Vancouver Island Brewing  hopes to raise $20,000 for the organization.
Vancouver Island Brewing: member since 1993
Moving across the street 
Staff at Russell Books have started moving more than half a million books across the street to their new location at 747 Fort St. The 18,000 sq. ft. space will offer wall-to-wall books as patrons have come to love, but with more breathing room, natural lighting and accessibility options including an elevator and escalator. While logistics are being finalized, Russell Books hopes the new shop will be open in October - just in time for Christmas shopping. 
Russell Books: member since 1999
HarbourCats fall one game short of championship  
The Victoria HarbourCats lost to the Corvallis Knights 11-1 in the deciding Game 3 of the West Coast League (WCL) championship this past Sunday in Oregon. The HarbourCats set all sorts of WCL offensive records in 2019, including most runs, hits, RBIs and homers in a season. The HarbourCats again led the 12-team WCL in attendance with an average 2,311 people per regular-season game. The Portland Pickles were second at 2,252 and Corvallis third at 1,821.
Victoria HarbourCats: member since 2012

A limited number of early bird tickets are now on sale for the 37th Annual Dinner Auction Gala. This black tie evening includes cocktails, chef stations, a silent and live auction and entertainment, including dancing and an interactive photo booth.

Saturday, November 2 | 6-10:30 pm
Fairmont Empress, 721 Government St.

Here's a sneak peek at a few auction items:
Want to see your item showcased at the auction? Contact
Sponsored by

Transportation board releases ride-hailing rules
The Passenger Transportation Board has released its rules for ride hailing in BC, raising concerns whether the regulations will ensure a level playing field. Under the new regulations, ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft (called transportation network services by the transportation board) must charge a minimum fare that is not less than the minimum fare charged by taxi companies such as Yellow Cab.
However, the new services will be allowed an unlimited fleet and their drivers won't face the same geographic limitations as cabs - for now.
The Chamber encourages innovations to transportation as long as regulators ensure they don't create unfair market conditions for either new or existing businesses.
The Passenger Transportation Board will begin taking applications from ride-hailing operators on Sept. 3, and expects approvals will take six to eight weeks.

Lyft: member since 2017
Uber: member since 2019

Yellow Cab: member since 1992
Online Directory Listing Check-Up
Make sure you're putting your best self forward by updating your online directory listing . Through search engine optimization, a ton of people are visiting our member directory every month! So we made an easy checklist for you to make sure your listing is stellar.
Online Directory Listing Checklist:
  • Your logo, pictures and YouTube video are all up-to-date
  • All your social media channels are listed
  • Your listing description reflects your brand
  • All relevant keywords are added
It's easy to make changes to your listing - simply login here . To update your logo, photo or video, select the Media Update button listed at the top of the page. To update your listing description, keywords and social media channels, select the Profile Edit button. You can always email us the changes you would like to see and we can make them for you too.  
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