Tomorrow, March 15, network with over 300 people and meet over 50 businesses who will be showcasing their services and products at the 2018 Marketplace Mixer. We have 9 amazing door prizes from an executive portrait session to a living wall. Register today
5 Chambers host Premier Horgan 
With unprecedented representation in the provincial government, Greater Victoria businesses have high expectations that our concerns and ideas are being heard. On May 15, Premier John Horgan, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, will present his vision for our region and the province at a Business Leaders Luncheon sponsored by Deloitte Canada and the City of Victoria. The event will be hosted by the chambers of commerce for Greater Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, WestShore, Sooke Region and Esquimalt.

First elected as an MLA in 2005, Premier Horgan has been leader of the BC NDP since 2014 and was sworn in as the 36th Premier of B.C. last July. His government has four MLAs from Greater Victoria, including three in his cabinet, as well as vital support from two local Green Party MLAs.
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
Event Photos
Best Managed Companies
Fifteen Chamber members were honoured with the prestigious Canada's Best Managed Companies designation. Now in its 25th year, the program recognizes the best-in-class of Canadian privately-owned and managed companies with revenues over $15 million demonstrating strategy, capability, and commitment to achieve sustainable growth. 
"It's been a quarter of a century and we continue to be amazed with the outstanding calibre and dimension of our Best Managed companies, each year growing in size and scope," said Peter E. Brown, Partner, Deloitte and Co-Leader, Canada's Best Managed Companies program. "These companies are making bold bets and demonstrating deliberate action in ways we've never seen before - and it's proving to be successful, positively driving their businesses forward."

Congratulations to all the winners!
Platinum (winner for 7 or more consecutive years)
Bayshore HealthCare
Cactus Club Cafe
Coast Capital Savings Credit Union
Goodlife Fitness
Great Little Box Company
Harbour Air Seaplanes
Odlum Brown Limited
Omicron Canada Inc.
Quality Foods 
Gold (winner for 4-6 consecutive years)  
AFD Petroleum
Canadian Tire Best Managed (winner for 2-4 consecutive years)
Deloitte Canada: member since 2015   
Hear from Mark Collins on his plans to improve the public's attitude towards BC Ferries and to create a local commuter service between downtown Victoria and the Westshore.

Wed, Apr 18 | 11:30 am-1 pm
Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St.

Employer Health Tax throws shade on growth
In addition to the problems with the Employer Health Tax (EHT) we have highlighted in previous BizNews editions, t his attempt to replace revenue lost by eliminating MSP Premiums will have unintended consequences for employment.

It goes without saying that good businesses adapt to survive. They find efficiencies that allow them to stay competitive and they will find creative ways to avoid the Province's poorly designed Employer Health Tax.

The EHT is applied on a tiered basis to annual BC payrolls, so employers have an incentive to reduce, or at least not increase, their payroll. Strategies we have already heard about include:
  • Holding off on adding new staff
  • Avoiding increases in the wages of existing employees
  • Hiring contractors rather than permanent staff
  • Reducing benefits or other payroll perks
  • Setting up separate companies to split payrolls.
The Chamber will keep asking the Province to include businesses in consultations before the tax kicks in in 2019.

Employers in this region are already having difficulty attracting and retaining employees due to the high cost of living. Businesses with the lowest margins are faced with regular increases to the minimum wage. Piling on the EHT, will be another burden weighing down their ability to hire or promote staff.

The Province says it puts a high value on creating good jobs for British Columbians. If doesn't want that message to ring hollow, it's going to have to rethink the EHT.
BC gov't looking for ways to stop ticket bots
BC's Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, has announced that government intends to regulate how tickets for live events are bought and sold, to make it fairer for British Columbians. This would include measures to  prevent scalpers and ticket bots from scooping up tickets to music and sports events and jacking up the prices.

Public frustration with ticket scalpers reached a boiling point in 2016 when Tragically Hip fans were shut out of tickets to see frontman Gord Downie's farewell tour, before his death from brain cancer.

The online questionnaire will be open from Mar 6-27. A public report will be released summer 2018.
International Women's Day aboard the HMCS Nanaimo and Canada's new $10 bill 
Last Thursday, to mark International Women's Day,
Leading Seaman Karie Robinson
Chamber CEO Catherine Holt, along with women business and community leaders from across Victoria, took sail with Honorary Captain Mandy Farmer and CFB Esquimalt on HMCS Nanaimo. Catherine heard about some of the incredible work women in the Navy are doing. For example, Leading Seaman Karie Robinson received her first medal, an Operational Service Medal (Expedition) for serving on HMCS Nanaimo during Operation Caribbe, part of the Canadian Armed Forces contribution to ongoing international efforts to combat illegal drug trafficking in the eastern Pacific region. During the operation, they seized 1,200 kilos of cocaine. 

International Women's Day
also marked the unveiling of Canada's new $10 bill by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen S. Poloz. The new bill features Viola Desmond who in 1946 refused to leave a 'whites-only' section of a segregated movie theatre in Nova Scotia. The purple polymer bill - the first vertically oriented bank note issued in Canada - includes a portrait of Desmond and a historic map of north end Halifax on one side and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg on the other.  

CFB Esquimalt: member since 1979
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.
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. 

Wed, June 27 | 11:15 am-1 pm
Crystal Gardens
720 Douglas St. 

Federal Gas Tax regional projects
Four projects in Greater Victoria have been approved and one project has been conditionally approved to receive funding from the federal Gas Tax Fund.

The City of Victoria has received conditional approval of $6 million in Federal Gas Tax Funding to support the estimated $69.4 million Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre Replacement Project. This contribution is conditional on the balance of the remaining funding being acquired within one year. The City of Victoria has already committed $10 million to the project and is actively seeking further funding through federal-provincial infrastructure programs, as well as other partners.

Approved infrastructure projects in Greater Victoria:
  • $4-million to replace existing natural gas boilers with biomass boilers at Saanich Commonwealth Place.
  • In Sooke, a $1.24-million grant will help expand the SEAPARC Leisure Complex with a movement studio, multi-use room and fitness gym.
  • $100,000 for a groundwater project in the District of Highlands.
  • $668,069 for the Oak Bay Recreation Centre's energy recovery project.
Read the full list of funding announcements here.

Members Around Town
Peninsula Co-op donates to Nigel House 
Peninsula Co-op has donated $100,000 towards the new Nigel House, which is owned and operated by Broadmead Care. Nigel House is a residential care program for adults with disabilities between the ages of 19 to 55. Construction for the new Nigel House, the first building of the Nigel Valley Master Plan, is scheduled to start later this summer on land adjacent to the current site.
Peninsula Co-op: member since 2013
Broadmead Care: member since 2017
Best In Show at the Taste BC Awards  
Seaside Gin, crafted by Sheringham Distillery, won both a Gold Medal and Best of Show at the Taste BC Awards. The gin features a local mix of botanicals
including juniper berries, lavender, wild rose, citrus peel and Canada's first use of dried wing kelp, a renewable resource that is sustainably harvested from the Pacific Ocean a mere kilometer from the distillery itself.  
Sheringham Distillery: member since 2018  
Flower Count finishes today! 
Today is the last chance to count your blooms for Victoria Flower Count! 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. 
Chamber staff nominated for award
We are excited to announce that Sophie Clodge, our Office
Manager and Emara Angus, our Membership and Marketing Coordinator have been nominated for a United Way of Greater Victoria Spirit Award in the Outstanding Employee Campaign Chair category. This nomination is in recognition of the fundraising campaign they led this past December to raise awareness and funds for the United Way of Greater Victoria.

The campaign kicked off with a Holiday Open House at The Chamber with over 100 people in attendance. Donations of holiday tea from Silk Road, delicious treats from Crust Bakery and door prizes from Lifestyle Markets and Max Furniture added to the spirit of giving. Alongside the Open House, there were bake sales, guests presentations and staff pledges to raise funds for the cause.

United Way of Greater Victoria: member since 1972

Silk Road: member since 2015

Crust Bakery: member since 2016

Lifestyle Markets: member since 2015

Max Furniture: member since 2008
Spring Break activities
Sunshine is in the air and with Spring Break just around the corner, now is a perfect time to enjoy all that Greater Victoria has to offer! Join us in experiencing arts and entertainment, attractions, great food and bevvies, a little shopping, that lingering home project, or even planning a last minute getaway.

Here are just a few of the many events this Spring Break:
  • March 31-April 1 - Bear Mountain Bike Festival
    Witness the bike event of the year! This event will draw 500+ participants and hundreds of spectators with fun activities for cycling enthusiasts of all ages and abilities.
Check out our community calendar for even more events that are happening around town!
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  

Chamber Name Tags
Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber Name tags? Email Reception to order yours today.