Our thanks to Minister Sohi for talking with Chamber members yesterday about federal plans and opportunities for the region. Thanks as well to our sponsors - Clipper Vacations and Black Ball Ferry Line. Click here to see photos.
Investing in Our Future
Federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi addressed Chamber members at a sold out Business Leader's Lunch , August 1st on the federal government's 12-year, $186-billion long-term infrastructure plan. 
   
 
Minister Sohi
His personal connection with his portfolio, which includes funding for public transit, began when he first rode public transit to school, as a new immigrant in Edmonton.  He later became a bus driver and learned how important the service is to those with no alternatives. Then, as an Edmonton city councillor, he advocated for public investment in transit. "Now I've come full circle," he laughed "and I'm paying for the bus again." As he referenced his role in funding the many public transit projects across the country. 
 
During his time in Victoria, Minister Sohi will be meeting with a number of local governments and stakeholders including the City of Victoria, South Island Prosperity Project as well the province's new Transportation Minister on local priorities for infrastructure investment.
Chamber News
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Prodigy Group Mingles
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Electrifying Changes
Today the provincial government has asked the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to begin reviewing the Site C project. The review is expected to answer whether BC Hydro is on target to complete the project on time and on budget, and the implications behind proceeding, suspending or terminating the project. And if terminated, set out what, if any, other initiatives could provide similar benefits. The final report is due by Nov 1.

Site C Dam Construction Site
Site C Dam - no stranger to setbacks and challenges - has had a tumultuous last few months. The month prior had seen the Supreme Court dismiss 2 lawsuits from BC First Nations, ending a 2 year fight. Over the last two weeks there have been some significant changes in personnel, starting at the top with Jessica McDonald, BC Hydro's CEO being terminated and a new CEO/Chair, Ken Peterson put in place. As well nearly 200 of the 2,522 people employed on the dam project in some capacity have been laid off (72 last week and 120 this week).

Construction on the $8.8 billion project began in 2015.

Members in the News
Fairmont Empress recently celebrated the end of their $60 million, two-year renovation with a celebration worthy of an empress. From renovated restaurants and bars to health and spa facilities, this facelift to the facilities demands a visit. See you on the veranda!

Blowing out the candles on a very big cake this year:
CIBC celebrates a spectacular 150 years of banking service across Canada.
Slegg Building Material is building stong as they enjoy 70 years of success.
Thrifty Foods has been delivering food and smiles for 40 years
And looking good behind the wheel, the Campus Auto Group - Campus HondaCampus Nissan & Campus Infiniti is also 40 years young.
Our wish for our local businesses celebrating anniversaries is that they'll celebrate many, many more years to come and eventually join the club of Greater Victoria businesses over 100 years old.

FreshWorks Studio winner of the 2017 New Business of the Year award from the Chamber has doubled in size since last fall and recently expanded to Vancouver. Next stop on the two-year plan is an office in Seattle.




The Fairmont Empress: member since before 1962
CIBC: member since before 1962 
Campus Nissan - Campus Infiniti: member since 1972
Campus Honda: member since 1979
 
Thrifty Foods: member since 1991

Slegg Building Materials: member since 2013
FreshWorks Studio: member since 2017
 
Price for the Podium
The official submission from Victoria last month has placed the region on a very, very short list of potential host cities for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Video coverage Commonwealth Games
With a price tag rumoured to range from $500 million to $1.5 billion questions are being raised in the community around who will be paying, what the community will receive in return, what is being promised on both sides and, ultimately, who has the authority to make those promises.

This year both Toronto and Edmonton withdrew citing risks and potential high costs, leaving Victoria as the sole Canadian city bidding. The bid process is being fast-tracked due to Durban's last minute withdrawal and official bids must be submitted by the end of August.

The Chamber looks forward to more public information from David Black, chair of the bid committee and his supporters on the challenges and opportunities around winning the bid.
 

        Your message featured on a website for business leaders. Click here.
The Employer's Best Friend     

Checkfront's best four-legged employee - Rogue
Dogs have a long proud history in the workforce but almost exclusively in the home or a rural environment. Today's furry friends are just scratching their way into the office.

Several studies in recent years have demonstrated an overall reduction in stress and increase in productivity for the whole office when dogs are incorporated into the team. Pet-friendly workplaces enjoy higher levels of job satisfaction, better interpersonal skills and loyalty.

That's not to say that it's all treats and belly rubs. There are challenges to integrating the unique needs of these four-legged team members. Do a test run with each prospective "candidate", designate one-day a week as "dog-day" to start and make sure there are clear cut policies in place to address problems before they become an issue.
Checkfront: member since 2015

Taxing Times
Small business owners, and professionals, who are incorporated could be facing a major tax hit.

It's common practice to issue shares to family members and then distribute dividends to them as a legitimate way to reduce overall taxes.

The federal government is proposing to end that practice, which it has dubbed "tax-sprinkling", and a few other tax-reduction practices used by incorporated businesses, as summarized here

The Federal Finance Department is asking for your answers to specific questions related to the changes. 

And the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is asking individuals and businesses concerned about the potential cost to contact Hendrik Brakel with real examples of the impact. With chambers across Canada working together to address this issue with the federal government, we'll be able to provide solid advice and options.  

 






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Call 250-383-7191 or email us to find out how you can leverage this year's auction to promote your business.
Clark Gives NDP/Greens Some Runway
 
Christy Clark video footage
The resignation of Christy Clark as Leader of the Opposition and MLA for Westside Kelowna has bought the NDP government a bit of breathing room. 

The process for the Liberal Party to identify a new leader and then for a by-election to run its course in the Westside-Kelowna riding may take up to a year. 

During that time the NDP will have a majority of two votes, as long as their alliance with the three Green Party MLAs remains solid and no other strange or unpredictable events destabilize the situation.
 
Winter is Coming     
 
The race for the highest minimum wage in Canada begins again this winter. Ontario and Alberta both plan to raise minimum wage in their provinces to $15 per hour with Ontario pursuing a dramatic 2 year route.

There are concerns about the impact on entry level and youth jobs, but Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has pledged to support small business through the transition which moves the $11.40 minimum wage up 32% over the next 18 months - starting with the first increase January 1st. Premier Rachel Notley raised minimum wage in Alberta up to $12.20 in 2016 with an October 2017 boost of $1.40/hr and the final increase set for 2018.
 
The BC NDP campaigned to bring in a $15 minimum wage by 2021. Wages, child care and housing are three key issues the region faces when hiring. If you haven't already, please fill in this survey on the how these issues are affecting your workforce.
 
Welcome to Our Newest Members! 




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