At The Prodigy Group's April Mingle enjoy cold craft beer, a waterfront location, interesting conversation and new connections . The fun happens Thursday, April 11 from 5-7 pm at Swans Brewery, Pub & Hotel.
Chamber members advocate for sensible changes to Employment Standards Act
Thanks to all our members for the outstanding response to last week's call to write to the province regarding proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act. The consultation stage is now closed, so it will be up to BC's Ministry of Labour to review all of the input it received before deciding on any changes.
 
For a great example of a letter outlining the impact on businesses, read the submission shared with us by the owner of Little Jumbo Restaurant and Bar, Bruce Gillespie.

Read More:
Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce - Province changing Employment Standards Act  
 
Little Jumbo Restaurant and Bar: member since 2013 
Chamber News
Events
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Prodigy Group April Mingle
April Business Mixer
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YYJ Eats 2019
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New law aimed at money laundering 
 
New legislation introduced yesterday is aimed at making land ownership more transparent in BC.
 
The goal is to crack down on people who avoid paying taxes or purchase property to hide proceeds of crime.
 
"Information on the ownership of, and interests in, private land in BC has been registered and available to the public through the land title registry since it was established in the 1800s," says Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "The registry has served British Columbians well by providing conclusive proof of ownership. But the registry does not record who benefits from the land ownership. Beneficiaries could remain anonymous by using shares in numbered companies and bare trusts to transfer ownership of land, for example."
 
This practice has been identified by the provincial and federal governments as a contributing factor to money laundering, tax evasion and real estate speculation.
 
"Requiring companies, trusts and partnerships to disclose their controlling shareholders, beneficial owners and partners protects the public by letting everyone know who they are dealing with in BC's real estate market," said Nancy Merrill, president of the Law Society of BC in a news release from the BC Ministry of Finance. "This groundbreaking move ... will increase the transparency of land ownership in B.C. and make it more difficult to use such arrangements for tax evasion, fraud and money laundering. British Columbians will benefit from a fairer and more transparent real estate market."
 
The act requires all beneficial ownership be registered within a specific timeframe, yet to be determined, and the registry is planned to be up and running by next year.
Chamber working with federal counterparts to fix tax system
 
Last week, The Chamber hosted a roundtable discussion between the President of Canada's Treasury Board, Joyce Murray, and a small group of major employers from Greater Victoria. Murray, who is also Minister of Digital Government, answered questions about the recently released federal budget.
 
The budget adds to the tax burden faced by business, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has assembled a tool kit to help advocate for progressive changes to the system.
 
"After decades of cutting and pasting, navigating our bloated and byzantine tax code is a significant challenge for local businesses," the Canadian Chamber says.
 
To learn more about what's wrong with Canada's tax system, and what's being done to fix it by Chambers across Canada, go to ATaxingIssue.com.
Launched in the fall of 2017, the South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP) Prosperity Index was developed to measure a number of indicators across the South Island such as employment, education, governance, affordability and innovation.

This lunch will provide an update on how the region is doing against its previous numbers as well as comparing it to other peer cities.
Sponsored by:
Thurs, Apr 18 | 11:30 am-1:00 pm
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour    
728 Humboldt St.


Dip in tourism numbers likely an anomaly
 
The latest Victoria tourism bulletin from Chemistry Consulting shows a dip in February's average hotel occupancy rate compared to the same period last year. In February 2019, Greater Victoria hotels recorded a 63.8% occupancy rate with an average daily room rate of $137. In February 2018, the rate was 65.6% with an average room rate of $131.
 
However, a strong January made up for the slowdown, and tourism growth is expected to continue across BC.  
 
Frank Bourree of Chemistry Consulting told the Times Colonist he's concerned about how our region's limited labour pool could affect tourism businesses this year. The Chamber continues to advocate for solutions to help businesses attract and retain workers.
 
 
Chemistry Consulting: member since 2006
Cruise season kicks off this month
Victoria's cruise season officially starts on April 16 with the arrival of the 1,041-foot Celebrity Eclipse. Coming from Seattle, the Eclipse and its 2,850 passengers are scheduled to arrive at 8 am before departing at 5 pm. To check out the entire draft schedule of this year's cruise season, go to VictoriaCruise.ca.

Have your say about the bike lanes  
The City of Victoria is asking you for design input on 2019 Cycling Network Projects, which include traffic calming, protected bike lanes and active transportation improvements. There are three major projects proposed for 2019:
In person engagement opportunities:
  • Open House & Design Workshop: Saturday, April 6 between 10am - 1pm at Victoria City Hall
  • On-street information stations: Sunday, April 7 (map of locations)
  • Open House & Design Workshop: Monday, April 8 between 11am - 1pm and 3 - 5pm at Victoria City Hall
Online engagement opportunities:
Check out the city's story map with survey (best for desktop and tablets) and its online survey (best for mobile devices) to find out more about the projects and provide your feedback.     
 

City of Victoria: member since 1962
Annual General Meeting & Mayoral Address
Residents of the City of Victoria and District of Saanich gave an enthusiastic yes when asked, "Are you in favour of spending up to $250,000 for establishing a Citizens' Assembly to explore the costs, benefits and disadvantages of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria?"

The Chamber is looking forward to a Citizen's Assembly examining the benefits for business resulting from amalgamation.

Hear how Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes plan to encourage this and other historic collaborations between the two municipalities.
Sponsored by:
Tue, May 7 | 11:30 am-1:30 pm
Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville St


Members Around Town

Toque Catering wins national award
Toque Catering won "Best Overall Catered Event" at the 2019 National Canadian Event Industry Awards in Toronto. It won fo r its event Farmed and Foraged, a multi-course meal featuring foraged foods from nearby forests and ocean, alongside farm-fresh produce and meats. The Canadian Event Industry Awards is a platform for event and meeting professionals to be recognized and celebrated for their talent, hard work and success.
Toque Catering: member since 2018 
Harbour Air and magniX partner to build world's first all-electric airline   
By modifying existing Harbour Air planes with innovative, all-electric magniX propulsion systems, the partnership will create the world's first completely electric commercial seaplane fleet. A Harbour Air ePlane will have zero reliance on fossil fuels and produce zero emissions - a significant step forward in the innovation and advancement of the airline industry. Harbour Air and magniX expect to conduct first flight tests of the all-electric aircraft in late 2019.
 
Harbour Air: member since 1993   
Small Business Info Session
The City of Victoria Small Business Info Session takes place April 9, from 9 am to noon at Victoria City Hall. The morning will feature an introduction to services available through the city and community partners. For more info or to register, click here.
 
 City of Victoria: member since 1962 
New name for Bateman gallery puts more focus on nature
The Robert Bateman Centre is changing its name to promote its mission to reconnect people with the natural world. The centre will now be known as The Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature. The gallery, located in the historic Steamship Terminal building in Victoria's Inner Harbour, opened in 2013.
The Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature: member since 2013  
Modernizing the museum
The provincial government wants new ideas for a modernized Royal BC Museum and it's looking for input from citizens from around the province. The museum, which opened in 1967, holds more than seven million objects, archives and specimens of BC's natural and human history, in addition to the provincial government archives. More than 880,000 people visit the museum each year. 
 
Royal BC Museum: member since 1994   
GoodLife Fitness closing in Vic West, seeks new location 
After 10 years in business, GoodLife Fitness is closing its Vic West gym, but plans to open a larger facility at a new location, yet to be determined. The last day of operations for the Vic West location is July 26. The Bay Centre location will remain open.
GoodLife Fitness | Bay Centre & Vic West: member since 2013   

Chamber members can save $100 with coupon code "TheChamber100".
Real estate sales enjoy spring boost
The arrival of spring has given a boost to Greater Victoria's real estate market, with 640 properties sold this March. That's up from 421 sales in February, but less than the 688 properties sold in March 2018.
 
"The mortgage stress test continues to put further pressure on lower-priced properties by reducing the borrowing power of many prospective buyers and pushing a lot of buyers into an already compressed price bracket with limited inventory," says the president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, Cheryl Woolley in a news release. "The federal government recently announced a CMHC shared-equity mortgage program, which aims to reduce first time home buyer payments. However, this program applies only to properties $480,000 or less, and will put even more pressure on lower priced homes and condominiums. These current market dynamics make it increasingly important for our region to continue to find ways to create more affordable housing options to avoid price pressure on the lower-priced properties."
 
You can find VREB's latest Statistic Package here.
Not those kinds of Arms, Sergeant!
 
Kudos to the BC Legislature for moving quickly to update its dress code, which caused a sensation last week when the Sergeant-at-Arms told women working in the building that sleeveless shirts were unacceptable. The 40-year-old dress code had been designed with menswear in mind. When the dress code was reviewed by the Acting Clerk of the House Kate Ryan-Lloyd, she concluded that professional business attire for women includes sleeveless dresses and tops.
YYJ Eats   
Experience an exciting variety of gourmet food samples, local wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails created and presented by s ome of Victoria's most   popular  restaurants, breweries, wineries, cideries & spirit makers .
 
Tues, Jun 4 | 5-7 pm
St. Ann's Academy Historical Site
835 Humboldt St.
Sponsored by:  
Show hay fever who's boss!
 
Allergy season has hit BC hard this Spring! According to CBC News, tree pollen counts are off the chart. Many people this year are suffering from seasonal allergies - symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, sore throat, itchy eyes, congestion or a runny nose.  
 
Are allergies getting the best of you? Here are some tips to managing your allergies:
  1. Check theDaily Allergy Outlook for pollen conditions and minimize exposure
  2. Keep pollen out of your workplace or home by keeping windows closed and using an air purifier
  3. Exercise indoors to avoid contact with pollen
  4. Use over-the-counter or prescription allergy medication
  5. Look for natural remedies, including tea
  6. If you need extra help with your allergies, visit a health care professional
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