March 8, 2023
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria!
Today is International Women’s Day, and The Chamber is proud to #EmbraceEquity.
Join us in celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women in Greater Victoria and all around the world! Learn more about influential women in history and organizations helping women succeed in our 1863 Web Project. #IWD2023
Destination Greater Victoria’s Paul Nursey, left, on the lawn of the Empress with Colwood Councillor Dave Grove, Fairmont Empress’s Victoria Dyson and Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s Bruce Williams.
Media launch helps kick off 48th Flower Count
The Pacific Ocean wields immense influence over the weather, regulating Greater Victoria’s famous mild climate and warming the air deep into Central Canada. It’s why our region is typically the first in the country to experience the signs of spring. The phenomenon gave rise 48 years ago to a tradition that continues to this day.

The 2023 Greater Victoria Flower Count — which officially begins today — kicked off on Monday with speeches on the immaculate front lawns of the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Flower Count only lasts one week: March 8 - 15, so we invite you to get involved!

Count your blooms to make sure your municipality becomes this year's Best Bloomin' Community, and enter our social media contest and #humblebrag with a pic of local flowers. You may even win Afternoon Tea for two at the Fairmont Empress! See below for more information.

The event was well attended by local media. You can read their coverage here:
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
Fairmont Empress: Member since 1913
City of Colwood: Member since 2020
Bank of Canada sticks with pause on rate hikes
As expected, the Bank of Canada held off on changing its target interest rate. The move signals that efforts to curb inflation are working. The forecast is for inflation to keep falling and reach 3% by summer. Statistics Canada will provided its next update on the Consumer Price Index on March 21.
Rising real estate market another sign of spring
Seeing tiny buds turn to bright blossoms is a sure sign of spring. Another, at least in Greater Victoria, is the growing buzz around the region's real estate. Sales in February were up 65.5% from the month before — though still down from February 2022.

"The market is seeing some positive growth as we move into springtime, which is traditionally the busiest market for home sales," Victoria Real Estate Board Chair Graden Sol said in a media release. "Inventory levels are starting to increase, a welcome trend when compared to the record lows of last year. We're also seeing a stabilization at some price points and properties that are priced in accordance with current market conditions are selling at a good pace."

There were 1,809 active MLS listings for sale in Greater Victoria at the end of February. That's up from 849 for the same period in 2022. The benchmark value of a single family home was $1.25 million in February, down from $1.32 million in February 2022. Benchmark value for a condo dropped from $580,900 to $568,200.
Victoria Real Estate Board: Member since 1969
Parking debate shifts, but it's not going away soon
Parking in downtown Victoria is one of those topics that has sparked debate in coffee shops, board rooms and council chambers for decades. Whether its a frustrated driver searching for an open spot or a cyclist lamenting car-centric culture, it seems we all have an opinion on parking.

That said, compromise is unavoidable if we want to make progress as a region on this extremely complex issue. Parking has been in the news recently as the City of Victoria looks to raise revenue to cover rising expenses. One idea council is considering is to expand the hours that drivers are required to pay for street parking.

Another recent story involving parking involves plans by Merchant House Capital to build a 12-storey tower with 160 rental units on Douglas Street where the heritage Victoria Press Building (former home of the Times Colonist) is located. Currently, the plans state that no parking will be provided for the rental units. The proposal will go to the neighbourhood community at a meeting on March 20 before a formal proposal is submitted for municipal approval.

Meanwhile, another important project that could add 1,500 much-needed homes in downtown Victoria has taken an unexpected turn. The duly considered proposal by Starlight Investments for Harris Green has passed third reading but now has additional amendments to parking requirements that need to be addressed before the plan is adopted.

"I know that Victoria city council has agreed that housing supply is a top priority for residents of the entire region, of which downtown is an important part of," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "And we know that part of the attraction of living downtown is its proximity to the many services and experiences in neighbouring municipalities. It's one thing to walk or cycle to work on weekdays, but many people use their weekends to shop outside the city proper, or to visit forests and beaches that are a short car ride away."

Regardless of personal opinions about parking, the fact is we continue to require it — for residents, delivery drivers and commuters. Parents need vehicles to transport kids from care and school to sports and activities. Seniors and others with mobility issues use vehicles to get from point to point, and often require parking close to their destination.

With the adoption of zero emission standards and accelerating shift to electric vehicles, opinions about the future of driving are shifting. Care needs to be taken before we lose a resource that is vital to commerce, and that will be essentially impossible to get back when it's gone.
City of Victoria: Member since 1863
Starlight Investments: Chamber Champion since 2023
Starlight Investments: Member since 2023
Times Colonist: Member since 1961
Times Colonist: Chamber Champion since 2023
Merchant House Capital: Member since 2021
BC Budget 2024: Chamber set to continue advocacy
The Provincial Budget for 2023 was only recently announced but consultation for the 2024 is already underway. The Chamber has asked to meet in-person with the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, as we do every year.

Public hearings are anticipated to take place in late May and June. Chamber members with questions or comments on next year's budget are encouraged to share with our team at [email protected].
Spring ahead can mean drowsy staff come Monday
Almost everyone enjoys having the sun stick around a little longer in the evening. However, the switch to Daylight Savings Time this Sunday also creates challenges for many employers dealing with tired staff adjusting to the shift in routine.

WorkSafeBC issued a reminder that the change can create real risks for workers who drive for a living.

“Fatigue is a type of impairment that reduces mental and physical performance,” Road Safety at Work program director Trace Acres said, noting people who drive for work could be more at risk of crashing as body clocks take time to catch up with alarm clocks. “Research shows (fatigue) is a contributing factor in about 20% of crashes.”

Road Safety at Work suggests employers make sure their drivers know their responsibilities and procedures to deal with fatigue. The goal is to avoid risk by ensuring adequate breaks for fresh air, sticking to daylight hours when possible and scheduling outside of peak-accident time of 3 to 6 pm.

The Chamber has advocated for an end to shifting clocks and helped convince the provincial government to survey British Columbians. The result showed 93% support for stopping the twice-annual time change. To avoid cross-border confusion, BC has said it's now waiting for the Pacific US states to get federal approval to also put a permanent end to the switch.
2023 Business Awards Gala now sold out!
Due to overwhelming demand, The Chamber is excited to share that our 2023 Business Awards Gala is now sold out! If you missed out on getting tickets, you can register for the waitlist here.

The 2023 Greater Victoria Business Awards on Thursday, May 4 at the Fairmont Empress from 6 to 10 pm will recognize businesses in Greater Victoria that have achieved a standard of excellence in the community through their own abilities, efforts and initiatives. Click here to meet the 2023 Finalists.
Thurs., May 4 | 6 - 10 PM
Fairmont Empress - Crystal Ballroom
721 Government St.
Hire a co-op student to benefit your team
Interested in hiring a Camosun or UVic co-op student, but not sure where to start? Come learn about timing, mentorship and the benefits of hiring a student in 2023.

Engaging a student is a cost-effective way to tackle ebbs and flows in the workplace— no matter the economic temperature. Students are available from a wide variety of programs from technology and sciences to business and communication and everything in between!
Sponsored by:
The Chamber's AGM featuring BC's Minister of Housing Hon. Ravi Kahlon
We invite you to join us for our Annual General Meeting luncheon. Our agenda includes recent advocacy wins, a report from the Chair and a presentation of the 2022 audited financial statements. Following the AGM we are pleased to have the Honourable Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing provide an update on the provincial government’s work to address the housing crisis in communities across the province, with a focus on new solutions and initiatives bringing housing to the South Island and elsewhere. 

The No. 1 expense for workers in Greater Victoria is the cost of their home. We believe all levels of government need to encourage an increase in the supply of private-market housing as well as investing in housing for all — including affordable rental units and non-market housing for working families. 

Join us to hear directly from the government on their plans to improve housing affordability and decrease chronic homelessness.
Celebrating #IndigenousBusinessVicBC

The Chamber is committed to Indigenous reconciliation. We’re proud to feature new Indigenous members, including Metis Medical Inc!

Metis Medical Inc currently supplies aboriginal communities, First Nation Reserves, and Non-profit sectors with PPE essentials such as surgical disposable masks, face shields, gloves and naloxone kits. As one of the only aboriginal medical supply companies local to Greater Victoria, they work to extend their reach to other aboriginal sectors to advance economic reconciliation.

Metis Medical Inc is proud to be a member of The Chamber and contributes to the Emerge Committee.

Stay tuned as we highlight more Indigenous Chamber members — #IndigenousBusinessVicBC

Are you an Indigenous-owned business working in Greater Victoria? Learn more about Chamber membership and opportunities to connect by emailing [email protected]
April Business Mixer
@ Max Furniture with Victoria Foundation
Join us for cocktails and community!

This vibrant, after-hours business social event provides an excellent opportunity for members and future members to meet face-to-face, establishing or renewing valuable business relationships.

Join us for an evening of hors d'oevres and refreshments at our April Business Mixer at MAX Furniture co-hosted by The Victoria Foundation.
Thurs., April 20 | 5 - 7 PM
Max Furniture
Co-Sponsored by:
Ready, Set, Grow! 48th annual Flower Count on now
It's time to stop and count the flowers!

With 27,875,292,158 blooms counted last year, Greater Victoria is undoubtedly one of the best places in Canada to view early blooms. By showcasing your Flower Power this year, you have a chance to win incredible prizes:

Flower Count will be hosted from March 8 – March 15, 2023. We’re looking forward to seeing all your photos of beautiful blooms!
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Next Steps for the City of Colwood
Voters in the City of Colwood decided on a change in leadership in last year’s municipal election.

In this Chamber Chat, CEO Bruce Williams speaks with Colwood’s new Mayor Doug Kobayashi about the priorities and plans for the months and years ahead.
City of Colwood: Member since 2020
City of Colwood: Best Bloomin' City 2022
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Creating opportunities in your industry
Find the best talent in your industry with The Chamber’s job board.

When you post your next job, be sure to add your "industry type" to ensure your job can be found by the right candidates. The list of industry types are constantly being updated, and can be modified to highlight any industry. Don’t see your industry listed? Send us an email!

Also remember to add a specific category for the job in the position title. From Admin and HR to Marketing and Comms positions, you can see all 14 categories here.

Are you looking to add fresh talent into your industry? Hiring a co-op student is a cost-effective way to tackle ebbs and flows in the workplace— no matter the economic temperature.

Students can bring new perspectives, innovative ideas, and great energy to your team. Register for our upcoming webinar: Hire a Co-op Student to Benefit Your Team to learn more about the advantages of hiring a student from Camosun College or the University of Victoria!
Member News
Vikes one step closer to basketball glory

The University of Victoria Vikes Men’s Basketball Team has won back-to-back Canada West basketball titles. The Vikes will enter the U SPORTS national championships as the top seed for the first time since 2006, and will face off against the University of P.E.I. in Halifax this Friday.
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
Sponsoring women professional sports

Canadian Tire has committed half of its sponsorship dollars to support women’s professional sports by 2023. The new multi-million Women’s Sport Initiative, which includes becoming a founding partner in Canada’s first women’s professional soccer league, will create more equitable opportunities to inspire a new generation of female athletes.

Canadian Tire: Member since 2018
Red Barn building new location

Red Barn Market will be opening a new 10,000 square foot location in North Saanich. As the 8th location for the organization, Sandown Park Shopping Centre will be Red Barn’s largest location to date. Construction is set to begin this spring, and the store will tentatively open in summer 2024.

Red Barn Market: Member since 2019
March Charity at Big Wheel Burger

For the month of March, $2 from every feature burger sold at Big Wheel Burger will be donated to Threshold Housing Society. The feature burger this month is a returning favorite: the Weenie Burger, a classic cheeseburger served with a hotdog inside.

Big Wheel Burger: Member since 2020
Big Wheel Burger: Chamber Champion since 2020
Threshold Housing Society: Member since 2010
Sip into Spring

This May, Bard & Banker Pub will be hosting their first annual Mother’s Day Celebration. Sip into Spring will feature local vendors, live music, and delicious food with free admission. The event will take place on Wednesday, May 3 from 4 – 8 pm.
Bard & Banker Pub: Member since 2008
AI aiding in monitoring potholes

The City of Victoria is purchasing a new AI tool to detect potholes on city streets. CityROVER captures images of roads in the municipality and reports the location of deficiencies and their severity. In 2022, the city filled 2,400 total potholes over 279 kilometers of paved roads.
City of Victoria: Member since 1863
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you
Member to Member Discounts
Members can post Coupons and Discounts free of charge here.
Welcome to our Newest Members!
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