Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
October 7, 2020
The Chamber celebrates
Small Business Month in October
The Chamber Celebrates Small Business Month in October
Take a photo of your team or business and tag @VictoriaChamber to be featured on our social media platforms. Don't forget to tag #SmallBusinessMonthYYJ
Dates set for Chamber's provincial election panels
The Chamber is setting up Election Panels to help our members get information on candidates running in Greater Victoria for the provincial election on Oct. 24.

We'll be collaborating with community chambers so make sure to save the following dates and plan to watch via Facebook Live!

As for the election itself, it will, of course, look a little different this fall. Voters will have a number of options to safely mark their ballot, including by mail, and physically distanced voting stations. The important thing is to make sure you vote!
Each week, The Chamber will profile one of the 14 different award categories, encouraging members to nominate a deserving Chamber member.

New Business honours a new business (3 years or less from the date of incorporation) that:

  • Has achieved outstanding business performance in a short period of time;
  • Demonstrates exceptional promise of continued growth;
  • Serves as an inspiration for other new businesses;
  • Displays a commitment to the community; and
  • Demonstrates leadership and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic
Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2020 New Business finalists below. Thanks to Community Futures – Entrepreneurs with Disabilities for sponsoring this award.
KWENCH (Winner)
 Fettle + Food (Finalist)
Chamber CEO column: Time to act on mental health

Mental health is at the root of the front-facing issues we see manifested on our streets every day.

Drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and crime related to both are the result of untreated mental health issues.

So, what can we do to ensure everyone feels safe in their homes, in their workplaces and in public spaces? How do we solve homelessness in our region, and the corresponding increase in property crimes, overdose deaths and anxiety? Manage the mental health crisis, that’s how. And do it now.
Victoria council to consider extending patio season
The Chamber has written a letter to Victoria Council urging an extension of the Build Back Victoria plan until next spring.

"The City’s leadership and investment in innovations led by business are making a difference," states the letter, which is included in a staff report outlining experiences with the program so far. "Many of our restaurants, cafes and pubs were able to sustain their operations because of the opportunity they were given to expand their spaces."

Council will consider extending the program tomorrow, as well as a suggestion to allow for vehicle access to businesses on the section of Government Street closed to traffic.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Regulatory standard vital to single-use plastic ban
The Chamber supports efforts to protect the environment from harmful single-use plastics, and we call on governments to work with businesses to support innovations that address these concerns.

Today's announcement from federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to eliminate waste plastic by 2030 is welcome news. The plan is to target single-use plastics, specifically plastic checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and hard-to-recycle food containers.

Having a national strategy will help ensure the rules are standardized so that businesses understand their requirements. The public has, for many years, supported businesses that provided alternatives to plastic waste. Going forward, governments need to ensure they are following the lead of the public and businesses in order to get the best response to this new initiative.
Tourism News
Victoria listed among top Small Cities in the World
Even after 157 years, The Chamber still marvels at this exceptional gem of a region we're lucky to call home. So, we're not surprised Victoria has once again been named one of the Best Small Cities in the World by Conde Nast Traveller.

Visitors can't get enough of our region, and we can't either. The tourism sector might be down right now due to the pandemic, but we know it will be back. And we can't wait to welcome the world.

Make sure to get out this long-weekend and see our city and our remarkable Island with the fresh eyes of a world traveller. There is a reason outsiders say we stand alongside world cities such as Florence, Edinburgh and Monte Carlo.
Fairmont Empress closing over winter for upgrade
One of our region's most famous landmarks is taking the winter off to freshen up and modernize its heating system. The storied 112-year-old Fairmont Empress Hotel announced this week that it will be closed from January to April. The $3 million upgrade will make the building more energy efficient — always worth the effort. The work is timed for what is traditionally the slowest season for tourism in the region.
Fairmont Empress: Member since 1962
Real estate market stays strong in Greater Victoria
Real estate sales in Greater Victoria continue to set records as pent-up demand from the spring has made conditions hot in the fall. The Victoria Real Estate Board's latest statistical package shows 989 properties sold in September, roughly accounting for the loss of expected sales in the spring.

“I don’t think that anyone who was trying to predict market outcomes in our area over the course of the pandemic expected that the pent up demand from dampened sales in April and May would result in this level of market activity. There’s no doubt that buyers are extremely motivated and this increased demand, coupled with limited inventory, fueled the September market.” VREB President Sandi-Jo Ayers said in a statement.
HR Best Practices in Uncertain Times
In this seminar, Denise Lloyd, Chief Engagement Officer of Engaged HR will examine five key questions that employers need to know as we head into the fall season of COVID-19.

After the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to share concerns and ask questions.
Registrants will also receive access to the recording post-event.
Thurs, Oct. 8 | 12-1 pm | Zoom
October Mingle: Back to Business (Forum Style)
Experience something new as this Mingle breaks out into rooms talking about government programs, marketing, retail and financial challenges.

Prodigy Group Mingles are open to Chamber members and their guests. Learn more.
Thurs., Oct. 8 | 5-6 pm | Zoom
Virtual October Business Mixer
This virtual after hours business social event provides an excellent opportunity for members and prospective members to establish or renew valuable business relationships. 
Sponsored by:
Thurs., Oct. 15 | 5-6 pm | Zoom
Four Mayors, One Hour, Your Questions
AGM & Mayors Panel (Online)
Join us for an historic event, as we bring together mayors from across the Capital Regional District to discuss what's ahead for our region as we move through this pandemic.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams will facilitate a discussion on future collaborations between our regional municipalities.
Tues., Nov. 3 | 11:45 am - 1 pm
Sponsored by:
Saanich safely expands recreational offerings
The District of Saanich is taking the next step in the gradual re-opening of its recreation offerings. The largest municipality in Greater Victoria is a hub of parks and active living. Over the last few months, Saanich staff have fine-tuned their safety protocols around COVID-19.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Victoria by-election re-scheduled for Dec. 12
The City of Victoria by-election has been officially rescheduled for Dec. 12. The by-election was originally scheduled for April but was postponed by the pandemic.

Municipal by-elections also provide an opportunity to vote for people who own a commercial property within the city. You can learn more about the rules for non-resident property electors, and whether you qualify, at
It’s a great opportunity for business owners to ensure their voice is represented on Victoria council.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Chamber job board
If you're an employer looking for your next great hire, make sure to post your career opportunities on the Chamber job board.

The job board is an exclusive benefit of Chamber membership.

If you have any difficulty posting, email

We will get back to you within one business day. We know how important hiring the right person can be.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Current Job Listings:
Giving Thanks
Whether you’re looking to cook your own Thanksgiving meal, or prefer someone else do the work, Thanksgiving is a great reason to enjoy good food and time with people you love.

Take time this season to check out some of the exciting activities and venues in Greater Victoria this weekend. If you’re in the mood for a staycation, check out one of the great hotels Greater Victoria has to offer.

The fall is a perfect season to support one of Greater Victoria's local charities. Thanksgiving Dinner at Our Place Society will look a bit different this year, as they are extending hours and implementing a cafeteria style arrangement to ensure those in need are able to receive food while maintaining social distancing. Gordy Dodd from Dodd’s Furniture & Mattress is also hosting his annual Thanksgiving meal from 4:30 to 6:30 pm on Friday, Oct. 9.

Whether you’re connected with your loved ones in person or virtually this year, The Chamber would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

The Chamber will be closed Monday, Oct. 12.
Last call to join a Chamber committee
The Chamber has a number of active and engaged committees that report to our Board of Directors. A key reason for the success of our board committees is the involvement of our Chamber members as volunteer committee members.

Each year, there are a few openings on our committees for new members. We are recruiting now for members who will be available starting Jan. 1, 2021 for at least a two-year term. Here are our committees:
  • The Ambassador Committee
  • The Finance and Audit Committee
  • The Prodigy Group
  • The Public Policy and Advocacy Committee

The opportunity to apply for any of the above committees is open until Oct. 11. At the end of the application period, the chair of the committee will review your application and you will be contacted by email or phone.
Members Around Town
Takaya the lone wolf

The lobby of the Fairmont Empress is now showcasing a large driftwood sculpture of Takaya the wolf. Comprised of more than 1,000 pieces of driftwood, the art installation memorializes Takaya, a lone wolf that lived on an archipelago of Songhees’ islands known as Tl’ches (Chatham and Discovery). Takaya died tragically in March, but his story captured the attention of people around the world.
Fairmont Empress: member since 1962
Songhees Nation: member since 2017
Canada’s Great Kitchen Party

On Thursday October 29, Canada’s Great Kitchen Party will feature culinary competitions that give attendees the chance to order 3-course meals from competing chefs. Chamber member chefs included in the competition are Castro Boateng from House of Boateng, Chris Klassen from The Courtney Room, Nicholas Waters from Toque Catering, and Sam Harris from Canoe BrewPub. Buy your tickets for this delicious event here.
House of Boateng Food Inc: member since 2016
The Courtney Room (Magnolia Hotel & Spa): member since 1998
Toque Catering: member since 2020
Canoe BrewPub: member since 1998
RBC Race for the Kids

The RBC Global Virtual Race for the Kids will be taking place Oct 17-18 this year. Traditionally an in-person event, the race will be conducted virtually with registrations open now for individuals and teams. All funds raised from the race will support BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
RBC Financial Group: member since 1962
BC Children’s Hospital Foundation: member since 2016 
Leadership in Greater Victoria

Leadership Victoria has created The Community Leadership Development Program, an immersive program to train aspiring leaders in Greater Victoria. Participants will learn new skills by completing a Community Action Project, all while making and developing connections. With support of The City of Victoria and the University of Victoria, bursaries are being offered to support emerging leaders who identify as indigenous, or who are new arrivals to Canada.

For more information, please email Stephen.
Leadership Victoria: member since 2008
City of Victoria: member since 1962
University of Victoria: member since 1976
A Taste of Langford

The City of Langford has launched Taste of Langford, an initiative to promote and support local restaurants and businesses. Participating businesses are currently offering promotions, including discounts and special offers.
City of Langford: member since 2019
Is your business implementing new strategies or innovative ways of connecting with consumers?

Welcome to our newest member!