Don't miss the Prodigy Group March Mingle this Thu, Mar 8 at Vista 18. It's an excellent opportunity to mix with emerging and established members of Greater Victoria's business community. Sign up here!   
Bank of Canada Governor to speak in Victoria
The Chamber is delighted to host the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, at our June 27 Business Leaders Luncheon, sponsored by Odlum Brown Limited and the City of Victoria at Crystal Gardens.

This is a rare opportunity to hear directly from one of Canada's leading experts on monetary policy. Poloz, a highly regarded speaker, has talked about economic uncertainties that keep him up at night including cyber threats, household debt and youth underemployment.

"It's a privilege for The Chamber to host Governor Poloz, who has earned great respect for his sound stewardship of the Bank of Canada," says Catherine Holt, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. "We work hard to build the credibility needed to attract world-class thinkers such as Governor Poloz to our Business Leaders Luncheons."

Governor Poloz, appointed in June 2013 for a seven-year term, has worked in the public and private sector and was the President and CEO of Export Development Canada before joining the Bank of Canada.

Tickets are on sale now! Chamber members receive a discounted rate and have the opportunity to purchase table sponsorships. Find out more here.
Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
AGM & Mayoral Address
Marketplace Mixer
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
Event Photos
BC Budget: Outcry grows over Employer Health Tax
In the two weeks since the Province released its 2018 Budget, the outcry is getting louder over the confounding plan to create a new tax that will stunt job growth. The idea behind the Employer Health Tax was apparently to create revenue that would allow the government to eliminate Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums. However, as we noted in last week's BizNews, the Budget announcement raises more questions than it answers. Here are some of the questions our members need answered:
  • The new tax will take effect one year before MSP premiums are eliminated - why will employers be taxed twice?
  • Why is the new tax significantly more costly than the MSP premiums it's replacing?
  • How will payroll be defined? Will health benefits paid by employers be counted as payroll? If so, won't this discourage such benefits and potentially add costs to the provincial health system?
  • The exemption for payrolls under $500,000 only benefits very small business. Why did the Province choose this as the cut off point?
Government says it will hold consultations with public sector and not-for-profit employers before implementing the tax. We insist that business be part of that consultation. We're not sure the impact of this plan has been thought through and  we want answers before it's implemented.

Tell us what you think by contacting with your questions or concerns.
New faces at The Chamber
The Chamber is excited to have two new team
members join the tribe this spring. Jim Zeeben is our new Project Manager and Carmen Lundstrom will take on the new role of Database Administrator.

Jim brings a wealth of professional communications experience to the team at The Chamber. Jim has served Greater Victoria for many years as an award-winning journalist. Before joining The Chamber as a Project Manager, Jim was manager of corporate communications for BC Government Caucus and Tourism Victoria. He can often be spotted behind the bench, in the dugout or on the sidelines helping coach youth sports.

Carmen previously worked at The Chamber as both Reception and then as the Membership and Events Coordinator. After taking a year-and-a-half long opportunity to work for the BC government, she has come back to join The Chamber as the Database Administrator. During her off time Carmen enjoys playing dodgeball, slow pitch and soccer through the Victoria Sport and Social Club and exploring Vancouver Island.

Both are looking forward to connecting with new and existing members - introduce yourself at the next Chamber event or call 250-383-7191 to see how they can help you.
What if NAFTA ends?  
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding the NAFTA  talks right now may be unsettling for small business owners wondering what happens if the trade deal folds.

The Canada West Foundation compiled a report titled
The 'Just in Case' Plan: How western Canadian small businesses can prepare for the potential end of NAFTA, which examines four potential U.S. withdrawal scenarios and associated tariffs, including what may happen to small businesses if:
  • NAFTA remains
  • Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is resurrected
  • World Trade Organization (WTO) tariff rules take over
  • Higher than World Trade Organization tariffs are imposed.

Up to $7,000 in wage subsidies
Based on The Chamber's experience, co-op students are both excellent employees and a great investment in future employees. If your business is poised to grow or has a short-term project, read more on how to access funding to bring a co-op student into your team.
Employment and Skills Development Canada has created a partnership that provides up to $5,000 in wage subsidies for co-op students employed by eligible organizations (up to $7,000 if the student belongs to an under-represented group).

Some of the criteria for employers include those with an environmental focus, those that are part of the bio-economy or in the aerospace sector and firms working in "high-growth" tech.

UVic's co-op department has put together a handy one-page guide
explaining some of the subsidies available for various organizations. If you are interested you can contact UVic or Camosun today! 

UVic: member since 1972

Camosun College: member since 1981
Transit corridor expansion breaks ground
Construction has started on the $14.2 million northbound Douglas Street bus lane extension from Tolmie Ave to the Burnside Bridge, between Tillicum Rd and McKenzie Ave. The Douglas St corridor is one of the busiest commuter routes in the city. BC Transit buses move 40% of the people taking this route during peak hours, while only making up 3% of the traffic.

"We are already seeing the positive impacts of the existing bus priority lanes on this critical corridor," said Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit president and CEO. "The upcoming extensions to the bus lanes will contribute to making transit a more effective and efficient transportation option, so that commuters can spend less time on the road."

Construction of this northbound bus lane complements the City of Victoria's southbound lane, currently underway from Tolmie to Hillside Ave. Between bus lane projects already in construction, and future work in planning stages - such as the Colwood/View Royal bus lanes - Greater Victoria's West Shore transit priority corridor is quickly becoming a reality.

BC Transit: member since 1999

City of Victoria: member since 1962

2018 Marketplace Mixer  mixer
Network with more than 300 people and meet over 50 businesses who will be showcasing their services and products at the 2018 Marketplace Mixer.

Check out our 9 amazing door prizes:
Thu, Mar 15 | 4-7 pm
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa
100 Harbour Rd.

Members Around Town
International Women's Day 
It's International Women's Day tomorrow, Mar 8! The day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. We'd like to see what you're up to so be sure to tag The Chamber on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so we can like or share your posts!

Camosun to host Men's Volleyball Championship at PISE 
Camosun College is hosting the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA)
Men's Volleyball National Championship Mar 7-10 at the Pacific Institute of Sports Excellence. The Camosun Chargers men's volleyball team won the western division for the 3rd year in a row, so they are primed to face the best of the best from Canada over the next few days.
Camosun College: member since 1981 
Pacific Institute of Sports Excellence: member since 2008 
Flower Count kicks off today
Victoria Flower Count starts today and runs until Mar 14 . Not sure just how many blooms your large heather bush and small cherry tree carry - never fear there is a formula for that. In 1975, The Chamber started the annual program to promote the beauty and colour of our region to help attract tourists. Today a wide variety of community leaders support this tongue-in-cheek event. 

Spring forward this Sunday for DST
Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, Mar 11 at 2 am.
In Fall 2017, The Chamber conducted a mini poll on Facebook and 70% of people said they would support year round DST. The BC Chamber of Commerce has an active policy advocating for year round DST. Their reasoning is it would reduce workplace accidents, prevent increased sleep deprivation, reduce heart attacks, prevent an increase in traffic accidents and boost tourism.  
BC Innovation Council transforms into Innovate BC
The Province says technology
Chamber CEO Catherine Holt, Minister Ralston and Chamber Past-Chair Al Hasham at a Chamber Luncheon in Nov 2017.
entrepreneurs and businesses throughout British Columbia will be better able to access provincial funding and support through Innovate BC, it's new innovation commission. Innovate BC will absorb all the programs and services currently delivered by the BC Innovation Council, in addition to expanding its mandate. These changes are designed to ensure that BC is more competitive nationally and globally, and can attract additional investment to scale up the provincial tech ecosystem.

"By making Innovate BC a single point of contact for entrepreneurs and businesses across BC, we will ensure people get the help they need to create good jobs and benefit from the opportunities of the emerging economy," said Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston.

Chamber wins discounts for Climate Smart training
Have you considered making changes to your business to increase your energy efficiency? If the idea of cutting costs, improving operational efficiencies and reducing your carbon footprint appeals to you, we have some good news.

We are one of only three chambers of commerce in Canada to win a contest to participate in a subsidized Climate Smart training and certification program in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

And when we win, you win. The first 10 businesses that sign up get a $1,000 discount on the program, which measures and helps reduce a business's emissions. You will also earn certification that can help win bids and RFPs, and, ideally, help your bottom line.

Check out  Climate Smart for more details or email us to sign up now and grab the $1,000 discount.
Spring into savings on office supplies! 
With longer and sunnier days, not to mention  blossoms blooming around town, you want to spend less time at your desk and more time enjoying the region. It's a perfect time to maximize efficiencies - both time and money - by taking advantage of our exclusive member discount for Grand & Toy.

You can save up to 85% off of 7,500 quality office products from furniture, office supplies, tech, facility supplies, and print and promotional products. So you can restock your office all you want with major savings! Click here to find out more.
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