April 26, 2023
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria!
Make sure to make use of your Chamber membership by registering now for our upcoming mixers, breakfasts and connectors. These social events sell out fast. And
Bank explains its reasoning behind rate pause
If you enjoy understanding the policies behind decisions that impact our daily lives, you'll want to read the Bank of Canada's latest report released today. The Summary of Governing Council deliberations offers a glimpse behind the scenes of why the Bank chose to pause interest rate hikes on April 12.

The council expressed concern about public perceptions fueling higher inflation and, after discussion, chose to signal that though the rate is unchanged it could go up if needed.

It's a fascinating read that offers great insight into why the cost of borrowing will remain high until rising costs can be tamed.
Housing starts are up regionally so far this year
The latest report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows an increase in new homes being built in Greater Victoria. That's good news, as The Chamber continues to advocate for changes to regulations and investment in strategies that increase housing supply. We need homes that are affordable to workers because Greater Victoria's employers desperately need employees.

CMHC numbers show housing starts in our region were up 32.6% year over year. There were 1,088 housing starts from January to March, compared to 820 starts for the same period in 2022. The report shows that most of the new starts are condos and apartments as fewer single detached homes are being built.

The City of Langford accounts for 537 of the new starts. The City of Victoria is home to 240 new starts and the Township of Esquimalt has 157.

It's too early to forecast whether the increase will be sustained over the course of the year, as high interest rates impact investment.

The report is also an indicator that some municipalities in our region are not creating their fair share of housing supply. Recent initiatives by the provincial government could help unlock potential housing in these areas.
City of Victoria: Member since 1863
Township of Esquimalt: Member since 2020
City of Langford: Member since 2019
Tofino bus returning to service starting May 4
The Tofino Bus is returning to service starting May 4, the Wilson's Group of Companies announced last week. The service was paused in December as the company needed to shift to a seasonal approach to stay sustainable. The drop in passengers taking the bus over the winter was too much for the company to subsidize the service based on summer revenue.

The Tofino Bus and Vancouver Island Connector service will re-start with weekend service from Thursdays to Mondays, and could ramp up to seven days a week in June. “We expect to see lower passenger counts to start, however, we typically see a rise around the May long weekend which lasts throughout most of the summer” Wilson’s Group of Companies Brand Manager Samantha Wilson-Newton said.

The Chamber applauds the increased connectivity for Island communities, and continues to call on government to invest in safe transportation options.
Wilson's Group of Companies: Member since 2004
Get your spot at next week's Business Awards gala
Our recently announced additional seats in the Palm Court are selling out fast. Don’t delay, only 20 seats left. Register today to get your spot at this previously sold-out event.

Connect with Greater Victoria's business leaders, innovators, and changemakers in style. Pre-event reception from 6-7pm, followed by dinner and the Awards from 7-10pm.
(20 seats available)
Thurs., May 4 | 6 - 10 PM
Fairmont Empress - Crystal Ballroom
721 Government St.
Meet the 2023 Business Awards Finalists
We hope you enjoy reading about this year's finalists and that you continue to stay engaged and help build your chamber. We are in this together and being an active member of the chamber is a wonderful way to enhance your business and your life.
Mayors helping raise funds for Ukraine amputees
A friendly competition between neighbouring municipalities will have a global reach.

The mayors of the District of Saanich and the District of Oak Bay have made a friendly wager betting that the residents of their community will raise the most money for the University of Victoria's Hand Project. The initiative of UVic's Engineering program offers prosthetic limbs built with a 3D printer to people in need. In the case of the mayoral bet, the money that is raised will go to a $200,000 fund being used to set up clinics in Ukraine. The invasion of that country by Russian forces has resulted in an estimated 10,000 amputees.

The loser of the bet will pay his dues at the Oak Bay Tea Party in June by trying to learn how to use a prosthetic arm while rowing in this year's teacup race.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
District of Oak Bay: Member since 2021
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
The Chamber's Business Examiner column:
Bruce Williams is CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

I speak with many business leaders every day and I’m always impressed by the innovative initiatives they’re finding to address common challenges. As the voice of business in the region since 1863, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce stays current by listening and then amplifying what we hear to all levels of government. One of the most effective approaches has been our Business Leaders Luncheons, featuring high-level decision makers.

The Chamber’s events team is currently working overtime to prepare for a great series of guest speakers. We hosted B.C.’s Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon at our April Annual General Meeting and are preparing to welcome B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation in May. I’ve had the pleasure of attending a BC Black Business Association event with Minister Brenda Bailey, who is an up-and-comer in government. She’s an experienced business leader and an engaging speaker whose history as a tech entrepreneur helps her understand the types of innovations businesses are making to adapt and thrive in a shifting economy.

For those readers who might not be familiar with Minister Bailey, here are three reasons why you want to be there when she speaks with Chamber members on May 8 at the Union Club of B.C.
Upcoming Business Leaders Series
What's next for economic development?
Elected in 2020, Minister Bailey brings experience as a leader in the private sector and tech industry to her mandate of attracting investment in BC's clean energy businesses. Learn how your business can build economic resiliency in this changing economy. This luncheon will feature networking opportunities, a presentation by the Minister, and a moderated Q&A session.
Mon., May 8 | 11:30 AM - 1PM
The Union Club of British Columbia
Sponsored by:
Venue Sponsor:
Economic Progress Report
Join us as we host the Bank of Canada's Deputy Governor Paul Beaudry as he delivers the Economic Progress Report. This presentation will discuss recent developments in the Canadian economy and the implications for monetary policy.
Thurs., June 8, | 11:30 AM - 1 PM
Victoria Conference Centre - Carson Hall
Sponsored by:
BC Hydro's electrification plan

With a focus on climate change and the electrification of more devices, homes, vehicles and industries, find out how BC Hydro is helping their customers make the switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity.
Sponsored by:
May Member Networking Breakfast
Start your morning with a business development and community building check mark. Hosted by Revera at their Kensington Retirement Residence, known for the independent, active senior living lifestyle it provides, this breakfast is a must-attend event for Chamber members. It's a great way to learn about services offered by one another and how you can positively contribute to our local business community.
Sponsored by:
Welcome to The Chamber team!
The Chamber is pleased to welcome co-op student Maddy Morrison to the team as our new Events and Administration Assistant.

Maddy has just completed her fourth-year at the University of Victoria. She is working towards a Bachelor of Arts general degree in English and Technology & Society, with a minor in Professional Communications. Passionate about writing and working with people, Maddy is excited by the chance to network at Chamber events and gain new skills as she helps with the 2023 Chamber Auction.

After university, Maddy would like to pursue a career involving communications, social media and event planning.

Maddy is excited to join the team and connect with more of the Greater Victoria business community. You can reach her at [email protected].

Looking to add to your team with a co-op student? Click here to connect with Camosun and University of Victoria.
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Celebrating half-a-century with Camosun College
Camosun College is celebrating more than 50 years of being a leader in our community. Camosun creates careers and builds skills for graduates.

In this Chamber Chat, CEO Bruce Williams discusses all things Camosun with President Dr. Lane Trotter
Camosun College: Member since 1981
Camosun College: Chamber Champion since 2023
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Find the best talent for your team
If you’re looking to grow your team this Spring, The Chamber’s job board is your next best resource.

Attract the best workers by posting a 30, 60, or 90 day job listing. Tap into the Google Jobs Network and candidates that are eager to work for a Chamber member.

As an exclusive member benefit, use the code INTRO2023 at checkout to receive a free 30-day listing.

If you have any questions or need help uploading your job, please email [email protected]
Member News
Modernized Langford playground gets new name

On April 20, the City of Langford held an official grand re-opening and dedication of Chief Al LeQuesne Park. Formerly known as Cressida Park, the half-hectare space borders the Trans-Canada Trail near Goldstream Park and features a newly modernized playground set among towering Douglas fir trees.

City of Langford: Member since 2019
John Wilson receives tourism Miracle Award

Destination Greater Victoria has named John Wilson, President and CEO of the Wilson’s Group of Companies, as the recipient of this year’s Miracle Award. Wilson is the Past Chair of The Chamber’s Board of Directors. The Miracle Award is presented to a group or individual that has shown outstanding leadership and achievement in developing and supporting the Greater Victoria visitor economy.
DGV also presented its annual Life Member Award to Starr McMichael, owner of Starrboard Enterprises, Inc., for her “exceptional and sustained contributions to the tourism sector and community over many years.”
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
The Wilson’s Group of Companies: Member since 2004
Starrboard Enterprises, Inc.: Member since 2006
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you
UVic's ongoing efforts earn Greenest Employer award

The University of Victoria has been nationally recognized for its ongoing efforts to create a culture of sustainability and climate action. It's the ninth time since 2007 that UVic has been honoured.
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
Chamber members among VICA Awards winners

The Vancouver Island Construction Association recently held its fourth annual VICA Awards, recognizing individuals and companies who have dedicated themselves to building excellence and advancing the construction sector on Vancouver Island. Chamber members who won awards include Berwick Retirement Communities, Casman, Kinetic Construction, Knappett Projects, Mustang Landscape & Design. Durwest Construction Management and Houle Electric.
Casman: Member since 2022
Mustang Landscape & Design Ltd.: Member since 2017
Kinetic Construction: Member since 2018
Berwick Retirement Communities: Chamber Champion since 2022
Berwick Retirement Communities: Chamber Member since 1970
Knappett Projects: Chamber Champion since 2020
Knappett Projects: Member since 1987
Vancouver Island Construction Association: Member since 1986
Durwest Construction Management: Member since 1988
Houle Electric: Member since 1986
Member to Member Discounts
Members can post Coupons and Discounts free of charge here.
Welcome to our Newest Member!
Need to get one of our snazzy Chamber name tags?