Ahead of the Oct. 21 federal election, The Chamber is once again partnering with the City of Victoria, the Downtown Victoria Business Association, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Destination Greater Victoria to host an All-Candidates Listening Session.
Leaders from these organizations will present the
key regional priorities to local candidates who hope to represent our region in Ottawa.  
The regional priorities are:
  • Labour Shortage - presented by Paul Nursey, CEO, Destination Greater Victoria
  • Improved Transportation- presented by Catherine Holt, CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
  • Available and Affordable Child Care - presented by Catherine Holt
  • Affordable Housing - presented by Councillor Jeremy Loveday, City of Victoria; and Jeff Bray, CEO, Downtown Victoria Business Association
  • Climate Change Solutions - presented by Mayor Lisa Helps, City of Victoria
  • Reconciliation - presented by Mayor Lisa Helps
There will be an opportunity following the presentations to engage with the panel and candidates. The All-Candidates Listening Session will take place Wed., Sept. 11 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Lecture Theatre in the Victoria Conference Centre.  
There is no need to pre-register for this free event - just mark you calendars and we'll see you there!  
Chamber News
Women Business Owners' Roundtable
Prodigy Group September Mingle
5 Chamber Business Mixer
37th Annual Dinner Auction Gala
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events
Chamber calls on province to ensure adequate policing
The provincial government is ducking its responsibility to ensure Greater Victoria has adequate policing, Chamber CEO Catherine Holt says.
Holt was interviewed by the Times Colonist after BC Solicitor General Mike Farnworth wrote a letter to the City of Victoria saying any change to policing would have to come from the municipalities involved.
However, getting consensus to change the status quo among Greater Victoria's 13 municipalities has historically proven to be exceptionally difficult. Our region is served by four municipal police departments and three RCMP detachments, whereas most metropolitan areas in Canada have a single police force.
VicPD has faced extraordinary budgetary pressure this year, with Police Chief Del Manak opting to shift resources away from crime prevention to try and better meet the demand of 911 calls.
One solution The Chamber has advocated for is to combine Saanich and Victoria police departments. This issue should be at the top of the list for the upcoming Citizen Assembly examining amalgamation between Saanich and Victoria.
"If the resources were combined between just those two departments - Victoria and Saanich - we would have a caseload, a budget, an officer-per-capita ratio that is far more balanced than we have at the moment with Victoria carrying a disproportionate amount of the weight," Holt told the Times Colonist. "I think it would be a step in the right direction for the solicitor general just to look at the advantages of those two departments being combined."
How do businesses successfully attract and retain workers?
The number one issue we hear across all sectors is the challenge of finding staff and keeping them. Employers are looking for solutions to this ever growing problem of an almost zero unemployment rate.
Join our panel of experts as we look at successful strategies, trends for the future and the changing culture of employment in this region.
Sponsored by:  
Thu, Oct 10 | 11:30 am-1 pm  
Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville St.    
Big changes to Canada Labour Code 
On Sept. 1, sweeping new changes to the Canada Labour Code took effect for federally regulated employers. The changes have created confusion for employees, the bosses they work for and even the minister responsible.  
"I can't actually speak to which employers and which employee classes will be subject to these limited exemptions because that is still being worked out with the department right now, and I'm looking forward to their advice," federal Employment Minister Patty Hajdu told the CBC. "I'm not certain exactly when I'll have those recommendations."
Among the changes to the code are a limited right to refuse overtime and new forms of leave for personal or family violence situations. These changes threaten to increase costs for business and further aggravate the serious labour shortages facing industries such as transportation.

Small business has big role in low-carbon economy

Neil Dobson, executive director of CleanBC, was the guest speaker at The Chamber's Public Policy and Advocacy Committee meeting this morning.
CleanBC is the provincial government's plan to reduce carbon emissions and use the changes to create BC-based expertise, economic opportunities and jobs. The bulk of reductions will come from innovative approaches that clean up heavy industry.
Committee chair John Wilson, whose transportation company has invested heavily in reducing its fleet's emissions, asked Dobson what CleanBC was doing to encourage consumers to make choices that benefit the environment.
Dobson said it will require a combination of regulations and education to convince consumers to vote with their wallets. The initial expense of choosing efficient technologies pays off over time as operating costs go down, he said.
Province extends plastics engagement

A survey asking the public to comment on reducing single-use plastics has proven so popular that the provincial government is extending its deadline. The survey, a CleanBC initiative, was scheduled to close Sept. 18, but has been extended to Sept. 30.

The province says the survey has been one of BC's most popular public consultations.
This black-tie evening includes cocktails, chef stations, a silent and live auction and entertainment, including dancing and an interactive photo booth.

Sat, Nov 2 | 6-10:30 pm
Fairmont Empress, 721 Government St.

Here's a sneak peek at a few auction items:
  • Soar above the clouds with Harbour Air Seaplanes on a round trip for two from Victoria to Vancouver
  • Spice up your kitchen with a Cherry Butcherblock Island Countertop from Paterson Countertops Ltd.
  • Sit by the ocean with a view of the waves from the comfort of your room at Oak Bay Beach Hotel 
  • Not a fan of flying? BC Ferries can get you there with two tickets for a vehicle and driver or two walk-on passenger tickets
Want to see your item showcased at the auction? Contact chamber@victoriachamber.ca.
Sponsored by
Bus priority
lanes save time 
Depending on the time of day, the priority bus lanes on Douglas Street and the Trans-Canada Highway are saving BC Transit commuters anywhere from 13 to 20 minutes between downtown and Tillicum Road, Christy Ridout, BC Transit vice-president of business development told the Times Colonist. The #50 bus from the West Shore to downtown Victoria has become the busiest in the region, with a 44% increase in ridership in the past five years.

Work is underway on a 2.3-kilometre southbound stretch of bus lane that links Tolmie Avenue to Burnside Road West and Interurban Road. BC Transit is also in talks with Colwood and View Royal about investing in bus lanes.

BC Transit: member since 1999
Camosun's new health facility  
Camosun College's students taking courses to prepare them for a career in health care - such as nursing, radiography or laboratory work - will study in the just-finished Alex and Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness.
The centre is a $48.5-million facility at Camosun's Interurban Campus named for well-known Thrifty Foods founders and philanthropists Alex and Jo Campbell. The 8,900 square foot building has classrooms, labs, simulated hospital environments and socializing areas.
Additionally, the Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence, on the Interurban campus, is introducing a massage therapy program. Camosun is the first college in the province to offer such a program. In the past, only private instruction was available.
Camosun College: member since 1981 
Thrifty Foods: member since 1981 
Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence: member since 2008
BREAK into new global markets online! 

New trade agreements and a competitive Canadian dollar make it an ideal time to extend your company's reach through the export of goods and services online. Discover online marketing strategies to best achieve your international e-commerce sales goals.

Free to our members!

Wed, Sept 25 | 7:30 am-3 pm
Victoria Conference Centre
720 Douglas St.

Members Around Town
Victoria Airport 
Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) has received Level 2 Airport Carbon Accreditation by the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation Program. To achieve Level 1, the airport was required to map carbon emissions and understand where improvements could be made to reduce those emissions. To achieve Level 2, YYJ demonstrated that those efforts resulted in a reduction in carbon footprint by 14.4% from the initial 2013 baseline year. To achieve Level 3, VAA will be working with airport business partners including ground handlers, airlines and service partners to reduce their emissions and YYJ's total carbon footprint.    
Victoria Airport Authority: member since 1981
Hotel operations sold 
Ecoasis, the company that owns the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa has entered a "working alliance" with Raoul Malak, a local entrepreneur and businessman. Ecoasis will still own and be responsible for Bear Mountain's golf and tennis operations and developable lands while Malak will take over the Westin Bear Mountain's hotel operations.  
Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa: member since 2003
New name, same great honey 
Urban Bee Honey Farm, a finalist in the New Business category at the 2019 Greater Victoria Business Awards, has rebranded to Country Bee Honey Farm. The Saanich Peninsula business originated in Vancouver and still had a location there. Selling the Vancouver business meant having to change their name on the Island. Nothing else has changed, still great honey, coffee and gifts.  
Country Bee Honey Farm: member since 2019   
ICBC tool helps calculate cost of adding drivers
New rules took effect on Sept. 1 for car insurance in BC. Thankfully, ICBC has an online calculator to show you exactly how much you can expect to pay in premiums under the new system. You will need your driver's licence and your current insurance papers to use it.

ICBC has moved to a new model that spreads risk to individual drivers rather than making vehicle owners responsible for any injury or damages caused during a crash. When buying insurance, ICBC now wants you to list everyone who will be driving the vehicle. The primary driver's experience and history behind the wheel will account for 75% of your basic insurance premium. The remaining 25% will reflect the driver who represents the most risk. ICBC will also offer Unlisted Driver Protection at no charge, though that increases to $50 per year if an unlisted driver is involved in a crash.
Access to a doctor right away
Chambers look after their members and we want to help you look after your employees. With the shortage of family doctors, your staff can now access a qualified doctor right away by phone. 

Chambers Group Health Plan is the first in Canada to offer Teladoc's world-leading services. The Teladoc telemedicine service helps members consult with a physician about non-urgent medical matters by video conference or phone from wherever they are, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Contact Rob Jack to find out how you can take advantage of this Chamber benefit.
Online Directory Listing Check-Up
Make sure you're putting your best self forward by updating your online directory listing . Through search engine optimization, a ton of people are visiting our member directory every month! So we made an easy checklist for you to make sure your listing is stellar.
Online Directory Listing Checklist:
  • Your logo, pictures and YouTube video are all up-to-date
  • All your social media channels are listed
  • Your listing description reflects your brand
  • All relevant keywords are added
It's easy to make changes to your listing - simply login here . To update your logo, photo or video, select the Media Update link listed at the top of the page. To update your listing description, keywords and social media channels, select the Profile Edit link. You can always email us the changes you would like to see and we can make them for you too.  
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