Chamber Vice-Chair John Wilson, Mayor of Saanich Richard Atwell and Chamber CEO Catherine Holt.
Mayor Atwell is holding Saanich's Proclamation of Chamber Week 2018.
Next week is Chamber Week (Feb 19-23) and we have a week full of events celebrating you. Take in a webinar, learn how to introduce yourself to new people at the Networking for Success seminar or attend a lunch with BC's Finance Minister. Help us celebrate our 155th year of building good business in Greater Victoria.  
Provincial Budget the Main Event
Given the promises the BC government made at Tuesday's Throne Speech, The Chamber will be watching the provincial budget closely next week to see if they act on the issues that make it difficult for Greater Victoria employers to attract the workers they need to fill hundreds of vacant positions.  
"The Throne Speech was just a warm-up act," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "We're encouraged by the high profile in the speech that was given to the lack of affordable and available housing and child care and the promise of historic levels of investment in solutions. But we're looking for specific ways to make those things affordable for working families. For example, spending money to increase child care spaces and trained workers doesn't help working parents if the fees are still over $10,000 a year per child."

And even though it wasn't in the Throne Speech, we're hoping the budget will invest in expanding public transit in the region so it becomes a real alternative to owning a car to get to work.
Chamber News
Chamber Week
Business Leaders Luncheons
Marketplace Mixer
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
Event Photos

Collaboration a Success for Indigenous Students
Students tour Seaspan's Victoria shipyard with Director of Operations, Steve Baker.
Sixteen indigenous students have recently graduated from the Ship Repair Entry Level Training Program (SRELT), a collaborative marine industry training program, at the Camosun College's Coastal Centre on Songhees Nation territory. Immediately following the completion of the program, over half of the class obtained jobs in shipyards and more have received job offers.

"Through this program I obtained employment at a shipyard," says Nick Albany, Songhees First Nation. "As soon as I was accepted in the program I did everything I could to succeed. Now I have a career."

Hands-on learning and industry immersion were key components of the three-month training. The program was heavily supported by the local shipbuilding and repair industry. Seaspan Victoria Shipyards, the Fleet Maintenance Facility (FMF) Cape Breton, and Point Hope Shipyards all provided a variety of facility tours, guest speakers, work experience, and even jobs for graduates.

Camosun College: member since 1981

Songhees Nation: member since 2017

Seaspan Victoria Shipyards: member since 2002

Point Hope Shipyards: member since 2011

Family Day Date Change
The BC government is moving Family Day - starting next year - to the third weekend in February to align with other provinces.

"Moving Family Day is the right thing to do for businesses small and large, and is better for families who may be spread out across the country," said Premier Horgan. "This gives families an opportunity to schedule and spend more time with loved ones from other provinces."

It's good news for businesses that have offices, clients or suppliers in other parts of Canada that were losing two business days due to consecutive long weekends. However, it's bit of a blow to Greater Victoria's tourism industry because having two separate holidays allowed for hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions with capacity issues to have two successful long weekends in the month.

Be the First to Hear About the Budget!   
Hear from BC Finance Minister Carole James at her first public event following the tabling of the government's 2018-19 Budget.

The presentation will provide an overview of the recently unveiled budget and details on province-wide changes that could impact our community and your bottom line.
Wed, Feb 21 | 11:15 am-1 pm            
The Fairmont Empress
721 Government St.     
City of Victoria's Role in Child Care Solutions
Tomorrow, Feb 15 Mayor Lisa Helps is going to council with a motion on Childcare Solutions devised by the Child Care Solutions Working Group which has been meeting regularly for 10 months.

Some recommendations from the committee are:
The working group chaired by the Mayor, includes The Chamber CEO, non-profit child care providers, representatives from the Province, the Chief Medical Officer for Island Health, and the Superintendent of School District 61.    

In the Childcare Solutions motion Mayor Helps used The Chamber's 2017 September Business Matters article on child care to describe the issue.  

City of Victoria: member since 1962
Members Around Town
Gallery Implements Virtual Reality
Visitors to the Robert Bateman Centre can explore art and nature through new eyes by experiencing Robert Bateman - Art in 360, the Centre's latest Virtual Reality addition to the gallery. Bateman Art in 360 is the result of a partnership between The Bateman Foundation and Live It, a Fish Eye Productions Inc. initiative dedicated to engaging youth in digital immersive experiences in nature.
Robert Bateman Centre: member since 2013
Fish Eye Productions Inc.: member since 2017 
RRU Career Development Conference   
Rahim Khudabux 
Chamber Board member and General Manager of Max Furniture Rahim Khudabux spoke to students on the Professional Development Panel at Royal Roads University's Career Development Conference. Thanks for giving back Rahim! 
  Max Furniture: member since 2008      
  Royal Roads University: member since 1996 
Innovative Businesses 
The South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) has announced the 10 finalists for the Smart South Island Open Innovation Challenge. At the Open Innovation Symposium on Mar 11 the pilot projects will compete to win one of three $15,000 prizes
that could improve the quality of life in the region.
South Island Prosperity Project: member since 2017 
Chinese New Year and a Mandarin Language Business Directory 
VI Weekly, Vancouver Island's Mandarin Newspaper, would like to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! In the coming months VI Weekly will be launching a Mandarin language business directory to connect Vancouver Island business to newcomers from China. If you want to ring in the Year of the Dog you can at the annual Chinese lion dance parade Feb 18 from 12-3 pm at the Gate of Harmonious Interest in Victoria's Chinatown.
VI Weekly: member since 2017 
Songhees Innovation Centre 
The Songhees Innovation Centre, which opened in January on the top floor of the 55,000 square-foot Songhees Wellness Centre, is a co-working space for tech-focused First Nations entrepreneurs. Supported by Songhees Nation, VIATEC and  South Island Prosperity Project the space's goal is to become a model for entrepreneur-driven economic development in First Nations communities, particularly in urban reserve settings. 
VIATEC: member since 1991
Songhees Nation
: member since 2017
South Island Prosperity Project: member since 2017 
Minimum Wage Increase Won't Fill Victoria's Vacant Jobs
The Province has announced the minimum wage - currently $11.35 - will rise to $12.65 on June 1. It will continue to rise on that day every year until it hits $15.20:
  • June 1, 2018: $12.65 an hour ($1.30 increase)
  • June 1, 2019: $13.85 an hour ($1.20 increase)
  • June 1, 2020: $14.60 an hour ($0.75 increase)
  • June 1, 2021: $15.20 an hour ($0.60 increase)
As Chamber CEO Catherine Holt discussed on CBC Radio, it's important to introduce a cost increase in a way that allows employers to plan and manage the impact.

"This is an increase of over 30%." said Catherine Holt, "So this phased-in plan is better than a single large increase as recently introduced in Ontario and Alberta. But changing the minimum wage does little to address the employment issues facing our region. Employers need help attracting and retaining staff to fill their vacant positions. The government should put its back into addressing the high cost and low availability of housing, transportation and child care that make it difficult to afford to work and live in Victoria."

"We will be looking at the provincial budget on Feb 20th to see what is done about these significant constraints on our economy."

Business Mixers provide an excellent opportunity for members and prospective members to establish or renew valuable business relationships. 
Thu, Feb 15 | 5-7 pm
201-804 Broughton St.
1-2745 Bridge St.

Have Your Say on the Future of the ALR
BC's Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham, announced the formation of an independent committee to lead a public engagement process for revitalizing the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). 

The survey focuses on these common themes:
  • A defensible and defended ALR
  • ALR resilience
  • Stable governance
  • Efficacy of zones 1 and 2
  • Interpretation and implementation of the Act and regulation
  • Food security and B.C.'s agricultural contribution
  • Residential uses in the ALR
  • Farm processing and sales in the ALR
  • Unauthorized uses
  • Non-Farm uses and resource extraction in the ALR
Click here to provide your thoughts.

10 Questions to Figure out Your Passions
Sometimes figuring out what you should be doing with your life or career can be challenging. Business Insider has created a list of thought provoking questions to help you figure out what you're passionate about in your life.
Highlight of questions:
  • Of whom are you jealous?  
    • Identifying people of whom you're jealous, and which specific aspects of their work or life you wish you had for yourself, can help you determine the specific components of a job or life that you want.
  • If you got $250K for an advanced degree, how would you spend it?
    • How would you spend this big budget? What would you like to learn? After all, learning is work you do for free; in fact, you pay for the privilege.
  • What's one of the best regular days of your life?
    • Remember a regular day (not a wedding, birthday, or holiday) that was fulfilling and detail how you spent it. Spend at least five to 10 minutes writing it down. Be as detailed as possible.

See the full list here.  

Certificate of Origin Benefit   
Did you know that The Chamber authorizes Certificates of Origin to local businesses for the purpose of facilitating trade around the world?

A Certificate of Origin is a document attesting that goods exported in a shipment have been wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country.

Documents commonly presented to The Chamber for certification are: 

  • Certificates of origin accompanying invoices and packing lists
  • Visa introductions to Southeast Asia and the Arabic Peninsula
  • Business registration
  • Agency or representation agreements and more!

Members receive one free Certificate of Origin annually while additional certificates are $20 including tax.


Contact us before you ship or travel to arrange a Certificate of Origin or click here  for more information. 


Welcome to Our Newest Members!  


Chamber Name Tags
Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber Name tags? Email Reception to order yours today.