April 5, 2023
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria!
Chamber CEO Bruce Williams, centre right, served as emcee for today's announcement of funding for shore power at Ogden Point.
Housing plan promises action but light on details
A high-level plan to disrupt housing supply in BC was announced by the province on Monday.

“Even though our province is currently building more housing than ever before, it’s just not enough to meet the need," BC Premier David Eby said in a news release.

The province identified four areas of focus that it says will increase the number of available homes, make them more affordable, help people in need and reduce the appeal of homes as short-term investments.

Most of the changes will come after legislation is introduced in the fall, though critics are questioning whether the proposals will inadvertently make housing less affordable.

"Everyone agrees that we need more housing supply," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "There are some positive ideas in this announcement but we'll need to see more details to know how this will impact things like municipal governance and how realistic the plan is, given the dire need for more skilled workers to build enough homes to meet demand."
BC's minimum wage jumps June 1 to $16.75/hour
The minimum wage in BC is going up to $16.75 an hour starting June 1. The increase is expected to affect 150,000 employees in the province. The current minimum wage is $15.65 an hour.

The new rate was brought in to reflect the high rate of inflation in 2022. After the change, BC will have the second highest minimum wage in Canada after the Yukon, where it is $16.77 an hour.

"The Chamber is concerned about how businesses will be affected by this decision, which was made without adequate consultation," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "Most of our members pay their employees higher than minimum wage but this increase has the potential to create a domino effect that will add unexpected costs for all businesses as well as for consumers who ultimately pay the price."
Surveys show long-range optimism in economy
On Monday, the Bank of Canada released its Canadian Survey of Consumer Expectations as well as its Business Outlook Survey. Both are for the first quarter of 2023.

The surveys show that many Canadians are concerned about how high levels of government spending will impact inflation.

Consumers are optimistic that costs will come down eventually but are reducing their discretionary spending for the time being. The survey found that low unemployment was giving confidence to workers, though there was some concern about the quality of jobs related to the quantity available.

Businesses are planning for sales to grow at a slower pace than the exceptional growth many experienced in the past year. As supply chains continue to normalize, businesses said they expect the prices of their services and products to stabilize.

The Chamber is thrilled to welcome the Bank of Canada's Deputy Governor to Victoria on June 8 to deliver the bank's next Economic Progress Report. See below for more information.
Victoria, Saanich get Citizens' Assembly on track
Rethinking governance in Greater Victoria has been a popular topic of coffee shops, talk radio and opinion columns for decades. The Chamber has long advocated for better regional services and we're happy to see the Citizens' Assembly process back on track between the City of Victoria and the District of Saanich.

On Monday, the mayors of Saanich and Victoria as well as two councillors from each municipality met to talk about next steps. The municipalities and the provincial government are splitting the $750,000 cost of holding a Citizens' Assembly.

The assembly will have 27 people from Saanich and 21 from Victoria based on population. Ideally, it will also be representative of the municipalities' demographics regarding gender and age as well as the ratio of renters vs. homeowners and Indigenous population.

A progress report is due at the end of this year.
Upcoming Business Leaders Series
The future of tourism in Canada
Join us as we speak virtually with the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, Hon. Randy Boissonnault, on the federal government’s work on Canadian innovation, economic development, the federal budget and tourism.
Fri., April 14 | 9 - 10 AM
Virtual Meeting via Zoom
Sponsored by:
What's next for economic development?
Elected in 2020, Minister Bailey's mandate is to make "B.C. a global destination for investment in clean industries." Learn how her ministry will leverage federal money and attract the type of new business our province needs to adapt to and build resilience in a changing economy.
Mon., May 8 | 11:30 AM - 1PM
The Union Club of British Columbia
Sponsored by:
Venue Sponsor:
Economic Progress Report
Join us as we host Bank of Canada, Deputy Governor Paul Beaudry as he delivers the Economic Progress Report. This presentation will discuss recent developments in the Canadian economy and the implications for monetary policy.
Thurs., June 8, | 11:30 AM - 1 PM
Victoria Conference Centre - Carson Hall
Sponsored by:
BC Hydro's electrification plan

With a focus on climate change and the electrification of more devices, homes, vehicles and industries, find out how BC Hydro is helping their customers make the switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity.
Sponsored by:
May Member Networking Breakfast
Start your morning with a business development and community building check mark. Hosted by Revera at their Kensington Retirement Residence, known for the independent, active senior living lifestyle it provides, this breakfast is a must-attend event for Chamber members. It's a great way to learn about services offered by one another and how you can positively contribute to our local business community.
Sponsored by:
Hoppy Easter from The Chamber!
Not sure what to do for the Easter long-weekend? Enjoy these egg-cellent ideas to make this Easter relaxing and memorable.
  • Plan a brunch with family or friends
  • Buy a spring bouquet from a local florist
  • Make an Easter basket filled with delicious treats
  • Host an Easter Egg hunt in a local park
  • Make a fun snack — Devilled Eggs and Carrot Cake Muffins perhaps?

Whatever your Easter traditions may be, we hope you have a hoppy day while buying Easter supplies locally and sustainably!

The Chamber will be closed on Good Friday, April 7, and Easter Monday, April 10.
Passover begins tonight with the setting sun
Tonight is the start of Passover for Jewish people around the world and in Greater Victoria. The celebration begins as the sun sets, and traditions include food, drink and song.

"The occasion is a good time for all of us to celebrate the long history of Greater Victoria's Jewish community," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "I encourage you to check out The Chamber 1863 web project for great information and stories about the important role the Jewish community has in our region."
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
People, Planet, Profit 
In this Chamber Chat, learn about three operations working to make people and the planet healthier.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams speaks with Rosemary Sutton of Tire Stewardship BC, David Lawes of BC Used Oil, and Megan Johns of The Green Kiss.
BC Used Oil MA: Member since 2021
The Green Kiss: Member since 2021
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Tire Stewardship BC: Member since 2015
Find great employees this April with our job board
With Easter just around the corner, there’s no better time to hop to The Chamber’s job board.

Finding the perfect candidate can sometimes feel like an easter egg hunt. As an exclusive Chamber member benefit, you can post a free 30-day listing on the job board every calendar year to maximize your applicants. Use the code INTRO2023 at checkout to utilize this offer today.

Reach the right candidates with the help of The Chamber. If you have any questions or need assistance uploading your job posting, email [email protected]
Due to overwhelming demand, The Chamber is excited to share that our 2023 Business Awards Gala is now sold out! If you missed out on getting tickets, you can register for the waitlist here.
Thurs., May 4 | 6 - 10 PM
Fairmont Empress - Crystal Ballroom
721 Government St.
Member News

Big Wheel Burger is opening a new location in the City of Langford. Located within the Westshore Town Centre, this will be the fifth location Big Wheel Burger has opened on Vancouver Island. Also, in time for the grand opening, the company has unveiled a new app to give customers a chance to earn loyalty points and claim a free order of fries.
City of Langford: Member since 2019
Big Wheel Burger: Member since 2020
Big Wheel Burger: Chamber Champion since 2020
10 to Watch Winners

Douglas Magazine announced their 10 to Watch winners, and two Chamber members were recognized as exemplary businesses. BCause won for their focus on helping local brands reach new markets through accessible deliveries, and Refire Kitchen was recognized for their creativity in creating fresh and flash-frozen meals.

BCause: Member since 2022

Refire Kitchen: Member since 2021
Douglas Magazine: Member since 2004
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you
PacificAll Aboard new BC Ferries app

BC Ferries has launched a new app, giving travellers the opportunity to check schedules, book sailings, and much more. Guests can personalize travel preferences to quickly book recurring trips, and seamlessly check in upon arriving at a terminal.
BC Ferry Services Inc.: Member since 1983
BC Ferry Services Inc.: Chamber Champion since 2022
Harbour Ferry unveils Hop Cards

Are you a frequent traveller on Ralmax Group’s Victoria Harbour Ferry? Hop Cards are a new way to travel across Greater Victoria’s waterways. Guests can purchase a card entitling the user to 10 one-way passes all season long.
Ralmax Group of Companies: Member since 2011
Blink RapidBus connecting communities

On April 10, BC Transit is launching a new rapid transit service between West Shore and Downtown Victoria. Blink RapidBus, launching as RapidBus Line 95, will replace the current Route 50 service. Line 95 busses are expected to arrive every 7-8 minutes during peak hours.
BC Transit: Member since 1999
Garth Homer Society receives legacy donation

The Garth Homer Society has received a $34 million legacy donation. It's one of the largest gifts for senior care in Canadian history, and funds will be used to support hundreds of people and their families with quality-of-life enhancements. The donation was given through the will of the late Kathleen Sheret, daughter of Andrew Sheret and founder of Andrew Sheret Ltd.
Garth Homer Society: Member since 2000
Andrew Sheret Ltd.: Member since 2008
Member to Member Discounts
Members can post Coupons and Discounts free of charge here.
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