Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
May 5, 2021
Red Dress Day reminds us change is needed
Today is Red Dress Day, a national day of awareness for murdered and missing indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people.

Too many lives are lost to violence. We grieve the loss of these daughters, sisters, mothers, and wives. The Chamber supports those families and we promise to advocate for change to end this national tragedy.

Saanich council votes against pursuing casino
The District of Saanich won't be home to our region's second casino.

After being approached by the BC Lottery Corp., Saanich council decided to take a closer look at the pros and cons of the revenue-generator. Responses from Saanichites appears to have tipped the decision to decline.

“The cons would be around money laundering, the deleterious effects of gambling addiction on a family, etc.," Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes told the Times Colonist. "The pros would be the economic-development side around entertainment, hotels.”

A casino would have brought in up to $3 million per year for the municipality, but ultimately wasn't the right fit for the community.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Real estate continues to set pace for economy
A lack of housing supply and an eruption in demand has Greater Victoria's real estate market continuing to set the pace for the economy. The benchmark price for a single family home in the region's four core municipalities was $996,500 for April. That's up 2.9% from March and 12.6% higher from April 2020's benchmark price of $884,600.

"We've seen an imbalance in our market for a quite a few months," Victoria Real Estate Board President David Langlois said in a news release. "Our market is based on supply and demand and there is a disconnect right now with record low supply and high demand. Unfortunately, our housing supply is not as elastic as market demand is."

Langlois says markets such as Greater Victoria can "erupt quickly," and outpace the time it takes to build new homes.

"These realities make it hard to bring our market into balance. Efforts by government to dampen demand by making home ownership more expensive through taxes and borrowing limitations do not bring balance. Municipal governments adding costs and time delays to new developments do not bring balance. A commitment to developing our communities over the long term may."
Victoria Real Estate Board: Member since 1969
Indoor housing options mark end of encampments
People encamped in City of Victoria parks are officially transitioning to indoor housing, after the city's bylaw prohibiting daytime camping took effect May 1. It's expected to take time to move everyone in the park who is homeless into accommodations secured by BC Housing.

"I don't want people camping in the city of Victoria," Mayor Lisa Helps told CBC Radio. "It's not good for anyone. I mean, that's been abundantly clear ... Our parks are not campgrounds."
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
BC Housing: Member since 2021
Mark your calendar for May events
Grants and Taxes in 2021 - Tools to bounce forward
Join our Chamber CEO Bruce WilliamsMatthew Hohnsbehn, Liaison Officer at the Canada Revenue Agency, and Kris Wirk, Partner at Dusanj & Wirk Chartered Professional Accountants as they explain how you can utilize existing and new programs to keep your business running and give you the ability to bounce forward out of this pandemic.
Homeless to Sheltered with BC Housing
Greater Victoria is facing crises in housing, overdose deaths and COVID-19, with all posing significant challenges for our region.

Over the past year, BC Housing has worked with the City of Victoria, local non-profits, the private sector and Island Health on a coordinated response to shelter more than 500 people experiencing homelessness in Victoria.

Learn about recent initiatives including:

  • BC Housing’s response to COVID-19
  • Shelter to Housing Initiative in Victoria
  • Community benefits of new housing
  • Opportunities for the business community
Special Event!
Co-op Students - Business Connector
The Chamber is hosting a special networking event for students and employers to network and create new connections. Students in the Co-operative programs at Camosun College and the University of Victoria are a great resource for employers to engage with new talent. 
Students representing a wide range of skills and talents are looking for employment opportunities to put their studies into real life practice. 

Employers of all sizes of businesses can participate. With multiple funding programs available, this is a great opportunity for your business to tap into new talent.
Wed., May 26 |5 - 6 PM
Special thanks to the Camosun College and University of Victoria Co-op programs for sponsoring this event:
Opportunity on the Path to Reconciliation
Hear how British Columbia is working to promote Indigenous-led economic development opportunities by strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities and leveraging Indigenous knowledge and prospectives.

British Columbia is the first province in Canada to recognize Indigenous peoples’ human rights in law and to put the UN Declaration into action as we work towards the creation of true and lasting reconciliation.
Shining the Spotlight on Business Excellence
in Greater Victoria
Celebrate the Business Awards with Dinner for Two
Have a delicious celebration with a catered Dinner for 2 from Chamber Member Food for Thought Catering. Your meal comes ready with instructions to heat in your oven. Deadline to place your order is 4 pm on Thursday, May 13.
As we prepare for the May 15 awards broadcast on CHEK, learn about our finalists and sponsors in the 2021 Greater Victoria Business Awards Program. Click here to read the program.

The Greater Victoria Business Awards recognizes businesses in the Capital Region that have achieved a standard of excellence in the community through their own abilities, efforts and initiatives. A spectacular night of prestige, entertainment and celebration, the Greater Victoria Business Awards recognizes members in 14 different award categories.
Follow along on social media as we countdown to the Awards ceremony on May 15.
Sat., May 15| 6 PM on CHEK TV | Facebook and YouTube
Guide helps BC post-secondaries plan for fall
As post-secondary schools in BC prepare for students to return to campus in the fall, the provincial government has created guidelines to help the process.

The COVID-19 Return to Campus Primer offers high-level advice to ensure the safe return of students, staff and faculty. BC's Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has said that, by the fall, transmission of the virus is expected to be low and serious infections will be uncommon.

"COVID-19 is a virus that is unlikely to be eliminated from the population, but can be managed in the same manner as other common respiratory infections," states the province's news release.
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
Camosun College: Member since 1981
Royal Roads University: Member since 1996
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Pivot Pilots 5.0
In this Chamber Chat we learn about the pivots undertaken by a live-music venue, an event planner and a public safety and security provider. 

Featuring Nichola Walkden of Hermann's Jazz Club, Tami Tate of Social Media Camp and Mirko Filipovic of Themis Security.

All have been Pivot Pilots as we taxi along the Recovery Runway.
Hermann's Jazz Club: Member since 2020
Social Media Camp: Member since 2012
Themis Security Services: Member since 2020
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Business Examiner column: Getting back to business
At some point, the state of emergency must end and the Provincial Health Officer will step away from regulating so much of our daily lives. It will be up to each of us, and, importantly, our business communities to continue the practices we know keep our staff and customers safe.

Government, with its enormous size and available resources, has been essential to backstopping our economy through its darkest hours. Relief programs will continue to play a role as we taxi down the recovery runway and prepare for better times in the years ahead. But it will be the private sector that will allow us to reach our economic capacity and build resilience.

Businesses, especially retailers and hospitality providers, have gone out of their way to find innovative solutions to fight the spread of COVID-19. They’ve listened intently to the directions from our health authorities and have done the right things.

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and our chamber network, as well as our community partners, are hard at work as your voice of business to forge a new role for business.
Highlighting our Chamber Champions
As part of the celebration of Chamber Week in February, our Chamber Champions submitted quotes highlighting the importance of investing in The Chamber. Each week we will be showcasing these quotes.
"We are one of the region’s largest employers, and together with our employees and partners we deliver quality work to our customers and are actively engaged in supporting our community."

Chamber Job Board
As we continue into spring, make sure you’re acknowledging your employee’s mental health and continuing to provide support.

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to make sure that your organization is well-staffed for the challenges ahead.

If you’re expanding your workforce, target motivated applicants through The Chamber’s Job Board. We’re here to help great employers connect with great employees in need of work.

Learn more about our job board here. ​
If you have any questions or need help uploading your job posting, please email [email protected]
Make your mental health a priority
This week is Mental Health Week – a time to express and embrace all the emotions we're feeling, including uncomfortable ones. Throughout the pandemic, more people have been experiencing anxiety, frustration and worry. It’s up to us to support each other during these times as we look forward to the summer. 
Stay connected with friends or family by ordering takeout and enjoying a distanced picnic as we take in nicer weather. If they live in a different community, chatting on the phone or through a video chat is a great way to stay connected to a loved one.
Take time to relax. Enjoy time in a local park and give yourself a moment to catch your breath and unwind. If you have a furry friend, pick up some pet toys and get outside.

Through the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan Employee Assistance Program (EAP) - Arive®, you and your employees can access confidential, professional counselling services. Counselling from Chamber members is also available, and can provide a variety of services for specialized help.
The Conference Board of Canada is providing free Mental Health and Wellness Resources to all Canadians. From tips to support employee mental health to videos on how to reduce mental fatigue. 

The BCCDC Foundation for Public Health has also provided mental health resources that include information for children, post-secondary students and heath-care workers.

If you’re not sure what resource is most helpful for you, take the anonymous Mental Health Check-In Assessment from the Canadian Mental Health Association
Minimize your stress by taking time for yourself. Whether that’s discovering a new hobby or taking time to #ExploreVictoriaLocal, make sure your mental health and happiness is a priority in your life.
The Chamber welcomes Alex Farah
The Chamber is pleased to welcome co-op student Alex Farah as our new Events and Administration Assistant!

Alex is in his second year of his Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with a major in marketing at Camosun College. Upon graduation, he plans to work in advertising and hopes to produce commercials for sportswear brands.
Alex enjoys spending time designing clothing and playing recreational basketball. He says he looks forward to networking with the community and the chance to connect with Chamber members. You can connect with him at [email protected] or 250 953-6684.

The Chamber was able to use federal programs to hire Alex. Hiring a co-op student is an investment in our future and a great addition to your team. We strongly encourage you to reach out to co-op programs at Camosun College and the University of Victoria to see how a co-op student can benefit your organization this year. Want to learn more, join us for the first ever Co-op Students - Business Connector event.
Member News
New master’s program at UVic

The University of Victoria has launched a new accelerated Master’s of Management program. The program is designed for students with a non-business undergraduate degree who are looking to learn new career skills. The 12-month program will offer cross-disciplinary cohorts, practical management expertise and more. Learn about the program in Douglas Magazine here
University of Victoria: member since 1976
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
Douglas Magazine: member since 2004
Inner Harbour vendors return

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has announced the Inner Harbour Summer Line Up will return this year. Hosted on a smaller scale to ensure distancing measures are in place, the Inner Harbour will once again showcase artisans and vendors until Sept. 21.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: member since 2003
VICA 2021 Awards

The 2021 VICA Awards from the Vancouver Island Construction Association highlighted excellence in the construction industry over the past year. Congratulations to the winners:

Knappett Projects Inc. – Prime Contractor Award over $10 million, Employer of the Year and a Safety Award

Kinetic Construction – Prime Contractor Award over $5 - $10 million

Durwest Construction Management Ltd. – VICA Member of the Year 

Don Mann Excavating Ltd. – Safety Award

Houle Electric Ltd. – Safety Award

Kathy Price of Knappett Projects also received the Woman in Construction of the Year Award, while Cori Coutts of Knappett Projects received the Education Leadership Award and a Safety Award from the BC Construction Association. Congratulations! 
Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA): member since 1986
Knappett Projects Inc: member since 1987
Knappett Projects Inc: Chamber Champion since 2020
Kinetic Construction: member since 2018
Kinetic Construction: Chamber Champion since 2020
Durwest Construction Management Ltd: member since 1988
Don Mann Excavating Ltd: member since 2015

Houle Electric Ltd: member since 2001
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you
Health Care Hero program

From now until May 14, Current Taxi is offering free rides for Island Health workers to and from their places of work. Employees are encouraged to pre-book their ride on their app, add “IH employee” in the notes section and show their badge to the driver at the beginning of their trip.

In Spring 2020, Current Taxi provided 475 rides for health care heroes.

Current Taxi: member since 2019

Island Health: member since 2020
Clean Coast, Clean Waters

The province is providing $2 million to the Salish Sea Indigenous Marine Stewardship Project. The project, which is comprised of local groups including the Songhees Nation, is working towards a goal of removing 100 abandoned boats from the Salish Sea. The funding was provided by the Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative.

Songhees Nation: member since 2017
TELUS Business contest

TELUS Business is hosting a contest for small business owners. Chamber members can enter for a chance to win one of three giveaways from TELUS Business, including an Apple iPhone, Apple iPad or Apple Watch! Enter here until May 31.
TELUS Communications | TELUS Business: member since 1962
TELUS Communications | TELUS Business: Chamber Champion since 2020
Be a Mama's buoy this Mother’s Day

Whistle Buoy Brewing Company has created a gift set just in time for Mother’s Day. Featuring a crowler of Currant Swill, Black Currant Ale and two branded glasses, the set also comes with a succulent plant from Brown’s The Florist and a bag of bath salts from Nezza Naturals Inc.

Whistle Buoy Brewing Company: member since 2019
Brown’s The Florist: member since 1981
Nezza Naturals Inc: member since 2021
Wildlife rehabilitation auction

In an effort to support injured animals, the BC SPCA is hosting an online auction to raise funds for wildlife rehabilitation. From eagles to raccoons and every animal in between, the auction helps support animals through the sale of artwork, gift certificates and much more. 
BC SPCA Victoria: member since 2017
Welcome to our newest Members!