Shake off the January blues with some locally made brews at the Prodigy Group February Mingle this Thursday, Feb. 7 at Vancouver Island Brewing.  
All 13 mayors urge province to act on E&N corridor and bus lanes

All 13 mayors in Greater Victoria have signed a letter urging the provincial government to implement a commuter train between Langford and Victoria along the E&N corridor and complete the bus priority lanes.

They want a commitment from the province in the 2019 budget, which will be unveiled on Feb. 19.

Last year, at a Chamber Business Leaders Luncheon, Premier John Horgan stated that commuters would be able to use the E&N corridor within his government's first mandate.

The mayors sent signed letters to Premier Horgan, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, as well as Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Last week, Minister Trevena spoke at The Chamber's first Business Leaders Luncheon of 2019. When asked about plans for the E&N corridor, the Minister said the province was working on a solution with indigenous communities and that she was confident both sides would find common ground.

You can read the letter to the Premier here.
Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
February Business Mixer
Prodigy Group February Mingle
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Upcoming Chamber Events
Hear Premier John Horgan speak on his government's vision for the Province of British Columbia as well as regional priorities.

Table sponsorships available. More information here.
Sponsored by: 
Tue, Feb 26 | 11:15 am-1:15 pm 
Victoria Conference Centre
720 Douglas St.  


Sue Paish honoured as DEYA recipient
Sue Paish
Innovator and entrepreneur Sue Paish, QC, CEO of Canada's Digital Technology Supercluster is the University of Victoria's Peter B. Gustavson School of Business  2019 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year (DEYA).

Under Paish's leadership, the Supercluster has positioned Canada as a global leader in digital technologies by bringing together small, medium-sized and large companies, post-secondary institutions, research organizations and non-profits.

Paish has led transformative change in her previous position as president and CEO of LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services where she grew the company to be the nation's leader in diagnostic services. Prior to that, in her role as CEO of Pharmasave Drugs (National) Ltd., she implemented new dispensary management technology that has become the Canadian standard.

University of Victoria: member since 1976
US ramps up protectionist measures
Has your business been affected by US President Donald Trump's increased protectionist measures on US infrastructure projects?

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has issued a request for feedback to help the organization understand the impact of last week's Executive Order on Canadian businesses.

President Trump is demanding US federal agencies report to him about how they are increasing US sources of lumber, aluminum, steel, plastics and concrete. The definition of infrastructure is wide ranging, covering transportation, energy, telecommunications and water.

The Canadian Chamber is working with the Canadian government to push back. If your business has been affected, let us know by emailing Jim Zeeben at, or reaching out to the Canadian Chamber directly at

Following a year of strong economic performance in 2018, Minister Bill Morneau will discuss his vision for building a more prosperous Canada that works for everyone.

He will discuss the work the federal government has done to grow the middle class and to strengthen investor confidence.

10 tickets left!
Sponsored by:  
Fri, Feb 8 | 7:30 -9 am 
Delta Ocean Pointe Hotel & Spa
100 Harbour Rd.  

Province must fix impasse over police budget
Message from Chamber CEO Catherine Holt   
This article originally appeared in the Times Colonist January 31.

At the recent Victoria budget town hall, the most controversial topic was the police budget. Some asked the city to reduce the number of police officers, while others urged it to hire more.
Last year, Esquimalt voted not to provide its share of the increase requested by the police board. And, this year, Victoria is sending the budget back to the board for a revision that the police chief says will actually reduce police resources once inflation, population growth and the Employer Health Tax are accounted for.
That creates an impasse. When the mayors send the budget back to the police board, they are sending it back to themselves - because they are the co-chairs of the board and they approved it in the first place.
It's a bad governance design and it needs fixing. 

Read Catherine's column or listen to an interview on CFAX to f ind out how the provincial government can fix this problem.  
Members Around Town
Our Place appoints two new executives 
Our Place Society has appointed two new executives and is elevating Don Evans from Executive Director to CEO. Linda McLean has been appointed chief operating officer and Marg Rose has been appointed director of philanthropy. Alongside food and shelter, Our Place is running 60 programs and services in five locations, which means it's time to reorganize its executive team to be as efficient as possible without losing its heart.
Our Place Society: member since 2010    
World Gin Awards 
At the World Gin Awards in the Contemporary Style Gin category, Sheringham Distillery's Seaside Gin won "Best in Canada" and the Fairmont Empress's Empress 1908 received silver. Over 100 judges sample and critique every gin entered and select the "best" from each country. Sheringham Distillery's Seaside Gin will proceed to the final round to select the overall "World's Best" gin at an awards ceremony in London, UK. 
Sheringham Distillery: member since 2018
Fairmont Empress: member since 1962       
Pacific FC adds to management team 
For the inaugural 2019 season, Pacific Football Club added Brad Norris Jones, the former general manager of the Victoria HarbourCats, to their management team as executive vice president of operations. The Canadian Premier League starts in late April with Pacific Football Club representing BC in the seven team league. The matches will be held at Langford's Westhills Stadium, currently undergoing renovations to expand to 6,000 seats.
Pacific Football Club: member since 2019
Victoria HarbourCats: member since 2012  
Landsea Tours has new ownership 
John Wilson of the Wilson's Group of Companies and Chamber Board vice-chair is the new co-owner of Vancouver-based Landsea Tours . Wilson joins longtime president and co-owner, Kevin Pearce. Their first order of business is launching Landsea's new Hop On Hop Off double-decker bus service that will tour Vancouver starting on May 1. Each Hop On Hop Off route is about two hours and 15 minutes and will have a dedicated driver and live host who narrates the trip.  
Landsea Tours Ltd: member since 2019
 Wilson's Group of Companies: member since 2004 
Chamber supports parents knowing about opioid use 
The Chamber continues to advocate for safe communities in 2019, and treating mental health and addictions needs to be part of any solution.
Chamber member Rachel Staples of Urban Smiles Victoria and her husband Brock Eurchuk are renewing calls for an inquest into the role that the health care system, education system and justice system played in the accidental drug overdose death of the couple's son, 16-year-old Elliot Eurchuck. The couple also want a review of the Infants Act, which enabled Elliot to prevent his parents from knowing about his drug regime and medical records.   
The Chamber supports Elliot's parents in their request for an inquest and for amendments to the Infant Act so families can better help children trying to manage potentially addictive treatments.   
Urban Smiles Victoria: member since 2012 
How can Canada protect vital ocean industries and our marine environment?

Hear from Federal Minister Jonathan Wilkinson about Canada's future plans for critical fishing habitats, orca conservation and support for industry.
Sponsored by:
Tue, Feb 12 | 11:30 am-1 pm      
Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville St.

Tool shows gap between business and residential tax rates
The Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria have released their 2019 tax rate chart, helping highlight how much higher business property taxes are than residential taxes across the region.  
Greater Victoria's 13 municipalities are in the process of setting their 2019 budgets, and The Chamber will continue to advocate for councils to "Mind the Gap." One of our advocacy priorities for 2019 is Fair Regulations, and we are working to make sure municipal leaders hear that businesses shouldn't pay more than residents for the same municipal services.
Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria: member since 2018
Hometown Hockey visits CFB Esquimalt 
On Feb. 16-17, CFB Esquimalt will be the host
Ron MacLean and Tara Slone
of Rogers Hometown Hockey , a weekend of free hockey-related activities, NHL alumni appearances, music, and fun for the whole family!

The two-day hockey festival begins on Saturday, Feb. 16, at noon at CFB Esquimalt's Wurtele Arena, and will conclude on Sunday evening following the Rogers Hometown Hockey outdoor viewing party. The latter afternoon's broadcast begins with a special pre-game show hosted by Ron MacLean and Tara Slone beginning at 3:30 pm, followed by the broadcast of the NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers on Sportsnet.

Don Cherry is appearing live on the Sunday, Feb. 17 broadcast and taping a special Coach's Corner with MacLean for Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night.

CFB Esquimalt base commander and Chamber board member Capt. (N) Jason Boyd will be a special guest during the broadcast.

CFB Esquimalt: member since 1979

March Business Leaders Series
This series features informative breakfast or luncheon presentations by business, government and institutional speakers on various topics.   
BC Ferries has a lot on the go for 2019. For more information on the future of Swartz Bay and on BC Ferries' plans to evolve our coastal ferry system, come to this lunch!  
Sponsored by:
Wed, Mar 6 |11:30 am-1 pm 
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt St.

South Island Prosperity Index Update
The South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) Prosperity Index was developed in 2017 to measure indicators like employment, education, governance, affordability, and innovation. Come and hear what those indicators tell us about 2018.

Tue, Mar 12 | 11:30 am-1 pm  
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt St.
Federal Suppliers: Learn How OPO Can Help You!
Officials from the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO) are hosting a "Town Hall" style meeting tomorrow, Feb, 7 from 10-11 am at The Chamber. Staff will provide information on the Office's services to businesses, and want to hear from suppliers about their concerns and experiences in selling goods and services to the Government of Canada.

Space is limited to this free event, so please register by e-mail at or by telephone at 613-947-9717.

Have something to say, but not able to attend? Simply take a few minutes to " Share your thoughts on federal procurement".
Victoria is the Most Romantic City in Canada
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Victoria has  taken the top spot in Amazon Canada's most romantic cities in the country list for the seventh year in a row ! No pressure, eh? Don't worry, we have you covered with some ideas for wooing your Valentine this year:
You don't have to go the whole nine yards. Show someone you care by leaving them a personalized note, sending them a card , or going with the tried and true chocolate and flowers approach. Happy Valentine's Day!
  Oak Bay Beach Hotel: member since 2011
Elements Casino Victoria: member since 2001 
Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa: member since 2003 
Destination Greater Victoria: member since 1988 
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