January 15, 2020
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
Our unemployment rate now the lowest in Canada
Greater Victoria had the lowest unemployment rate in Canada in December 2019, overtaking Quebec City which had held the distinction for much of the past year.
The unemployment rate in our region was 3.4%, down from 3.5% in November.
Statistics Canada numbers show an additional 1,500 people were employed in December in Greater Victoria, bringing the total workforce to 205,200.

Across the country, more than 35,000 jobs were added.

BC Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Bruce Ralston, said British Columbia is forecast to lead the country in economic growth in 2020.

“Investing in people paid off for British Columbians in 2019 with average wages increasing by $1.52 an hour, the highest wage growth in Canada,” Ralston said.

The Chamber continues to call on all levels of government to invest in services that will grow our workforce and help employers find and keep staff. We need practical solutions, such as affordable child care and non-market housing, to ensure Greater Victoria continues to be a community of choice for working families from across Canada.
Lunch with Minister Ralston
Have a question for the Minister? One of the benefits of Chamber membership is the opportunity to hear directly from high-level decision-makers. Register today for The Chamber’s Jan. 22 Business Leaders Luncheon with Minister Ralston. After you sign up, send your question for the Minister to
Royals among working families moving to Island?
Having trouble keeping track of Megxit ? That’s the term the British press have given the decision by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to step down as senior royals and live part time in Canada.

News that Meghan was back in BC this week created an international buzz, and had Premier John Horgan saying he was happy to help them find gainful employment in the province.

“Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are hardly the first people to want to make Greater Victoria their home after visiting our exceptional corner of the world,” Catherine Holt, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce said in a statement to the Times Colonist. “It’s wonderful that all of this intense coverage of their vacation to our region, and their decision to now spend their future split between Britain and North America, has created interest in Greater Victoria as a destination. There is an increased international awareness that we are truly a world-class city that is a safe community for raising a family.”

In fact, CNN has declared Vancouver Island as one of the 20 best places to visit in 2020.

The extra attention is also potentially great news for Greater Victoria employers. The Chamber is investing revenue from our job board into promoting our region to workers in target Canadian markets. The goal is for BC and Vancouver Island to be seen as a great place for families to set down roots — including Meghan, Harry and young Archie!
Don't delay, nominate your favourite business today
Start the year off right. Nominate your favourite Greater Victoria business today. Yes, you can nominate your own!

From start-ups to local legends, the awards shine a light on hard-working businesses, business people and community leaders in 12 categories worth celebrating. Finalists are chosen by an independent panel of prominent community leaders who serve as judges.

See categories and judging criteria for details at
Thank you to our 2020 Greater Victoria Business Awards Sponsors:
Business confidence up, Bank of Canada says
Even before news that a trade deal has been reached between the United States and China, businesses are feeling more confident about increased investment. The latest survey by the Bank of Canada shows that a lessening of global trade tension has business feeling optimistic, though many also say the ongoing labour shortage is the biggest hurdle to meeting increased demand.

"Hiring plans are widespread across most sectors but are concentrated among firms in Quebec and British Columbia," the bank's report said. "Firms frequently reported a shortage of specialized labour (e.g., skilled trades, engineers) as well as of workers in lower-paid, less-skilled occupations. The indicator of labour shortage intensity suggests that firms consider labour markets to have tightened compared with a year ago."
John Wilson to guide Chamber as board chair
As we head into 2020, p rominent business person and community supporter John Wilson takes over as the new Chair of The Chamber's Board of Directors . John is the latest in a long line of Chamber leaders going back to 1863.

As owner and CEO of Wilson’s Group of Companies, John’s businesses are part of the fabric of Greater Victoria.

“Over the next two years, my focus as Chair will be on strengthening The Chamber’s role as an advocate for safe communities, good governance across our region and a vibrant economy that enables employers to better find and keep workers,” he says.

If you’ve taken a shuttle to the airport, a bus to the ferry or attended a HarbourCats, Peninsula Panthers or Victoria Grizzlies game, you’ve experienced one of John’s companies.
Everything John does is devoted to his community. It’s reflected in his approach to business. He’s always quick to remind that “family is life, and work is income.”

It’s an approach that works because it resonates with his staff, his customers and everyone he comes in contact with. Please make sure to say hello to John at the next Chamber event and congratulate him on the new role!
Chamber announces Lifetime Achievement winner
Bill McCreadie — a partner at McCreadie & Tait — has been awarded the 2020 Lifetime Achievement award by The Chamber’s Board of Governors and Board of Directors.

“As a rocksteady entrepreneur, Bill McCreadie is a model for many business leaders. He has been a member of The Chamber since 1971 and has run a successful accounting practice for 50 years,” said Dan Dagg, incoming Chair of the Board of Governors. “Not one for stealing the limelight, Bill deserves recognition for volunteering behind the scenes to serve high-profile sports events and for quietly working on behalf of business in Greater Victoria.”

In 2020, McCreadie is acting as a liaison between the Canadian Olympic Association and the Japanese city of Morioka, which is hosting Canadian Olympians in training for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics. McCreadie has served as president of the Victoria-Morioka Friendship Society since 1986. In 2011, after an earthquake devastated Japan, McCreadie travelled to Morioka to present $20,900 as a show of support for our sister city.

“It occurred to me that many people in Victoria had no idea about the 30 years Bill had devoted to the sister-city friendship society or his decades of service to community organizations, including The Chamber,” said Robin Adair, the Chamber Governor who nominated McCreadie.

Victoria’s sister city relationship with Morioka began in 1985, and a number of delegations have gone back and forth between the cities since then. Last year, a group from Morioka brought 900 kilograms of sweet crisp apples to distribute for sale in Greater Victoria and on the Lower Mainland. The shipment was part of a total of six tonnes of award-winning apples the Morioka region exported to Canada.
McCreadie & Tait: Member since 1971
Special constables a good start for VicPD
Four new special constables are expected to be approved for the Victoria police department. In ongoing budget deliberations, Victoria City Council appears set to cautiously approve increased funding for the additional officers. Special constables are not armed and are used for work that does not require a fully trained and equipped police officer.

The Chamber supports the use of lower cost support for police. We have increasingly heard from downtown businesses that more police resources are needed to ensure public safety.

VicPD are waiting for the provincial government to decide whether it will require the City of Victoria to hire three new police officers — something city council refused to do with its last budget.
Victoria Police Department: Member since 2008
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Find your next employee
Do your 2020 resolutions include hiring more staff? The Chamber has a plan to help.

Our recently launched job board is for Chamber members only, with proceeds being used to encourage Canadians that Greater Victoria is more than great place for the Royals — it's a great place for everyone to live, work and play.

Every Chamber member receives one free job post annually. Learn more here .
Chamber Member Tip of the Week

"Employees can spend a third of their daily lives at their place of employment, which is why workplace culture is so important to them. Fostering an atmosphere of respect, communication, and positivity has a major impact on retention. Wages are why people need to come to work. Culture is why people want to come to work."

Justin Young, Owner of Canadian Tire Hillside
The Chamber comes with numerous benefits , for your team including The Chamber’s Group Insurance Plans. Contact us for details.
2020 Marketplace Mixer
Thurs., March 19 | 4 - 7 pm
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort
100 Harbour Rd.
Book your booth today! Showcase your business to more than 300 people, including Chamber members and the public. 
Special Times Colonist advertising offer to exhibitors only – a full colour, three column (3.092” wide) by 3.57” ad in print for only $100 ($441 value). If you don’t have an in-house creative team, the Times Colonist can create your ad at no additional cost! Please book by March 8.
Wed., Jan 22 | 11:30 am - 1 pm
Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville St.
Sponsored by:
Thu. Jan. 23 | 4:30-6:30 pm
Future Home of Max Furniture
3460 Quadra Street
Please note special date and time
Sponsored by:
Snow Worries
With Greater Victoria beginning to look like the rest of Canada, be sure to follow these winter tips to stay safe, productive and helpful this winter. 

  • Ensure your vehicle is winter-ready by visiting a local automotive centre.
  • Bundle up with jackets, gloves and hats from a clothing retailer.
  • Ensure you have proper footwear for icy sidewalks.
  • Stay warm with a cup of coffee or tea.
  • If you prefer staying indoors, make sure you have snacks and candy for the cozy nights ahead.
  • And stock up on bird seed! Wait, bird seed? Yes! During last year's blizzard, Canadian Tire Hillside reported selling more bird seed than snow shovels, salt or even snow tires! It's priorities like this that prove we truly live in paradise.

Regardless of the weather, it’s important to stay prepared. Attend a free Emergency Preparedness Workshop hosted by the City of Victoria to learn more about how to stay safe during any circumstance. 
Members Around Town
Spa reopens at Westin Bear Mountain

The spa at Westin Bear Mountain Resort has re-opened to the public. The spa, which offers massages, facials, hot stones and other add-ons, will implement more services once renovations are completed in time for Valentine’s Day.
Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa: members since 2003
$20,000 for local families

Members of the Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) have raised more than $20,000 for families in need throughout the region. To help with the increasing cost of living, families were given grocery store gift cards and unwrapped toys to help alleviate financial constraints. Companies involved with raising funds for the initiative included Farmer Construction Ltd. and Knappett Projects Inc.
Vancouver Island Construction Association: members since 1986
Farmer Construction: members since 1962
Knappett Projects: members since 1987 
Raymond James leadership changes

Raymond James Ltd . has recently announced strategic changes to their local leadership team. Mario Addeo has been appointed to vice-chair, Private Client Group, while Sybil Verch has been appointed to EVP, Head of Private Client Solutions. 
Raymond James Ltd: members since 2003
Festival of Trees

With a record breaking $203,650 raised for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, the 28 th annual Festival of Trees was an overwhelming success! Innov8 Digital Solutions received first place in the Spirt of Giving Award, with honorable mentions going to and Island Kids Academy!

Starfish Medical also received an honorable mention for the People’s Choice Award!
BC Children’s Hospital Foundation: members since 2016

Innov8 Digital Solutions: members since 2016 members since 2011

Island Kids Academy: members since 2017
Starfish Medical: members since 2009
Il Terrazzo among best in Canada

Yelp’s list of the 100 best eateries in Canada has been announced, and a well-known Victoria restaurant is in the top 5! Ranked fourth in the nation, Il Terrazzo Ristorante has more than 460 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Il Terrazzo specializes in candlelit Italian cuisine.
Angel Foods - Il Terrazzo: members since 1998
Welcome to our newest members!
Need to get one of our snazzy Chamber name tags?