Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
June 16, 2021
All indications are that businesses are in for an exceptional summer. Visitors from across BC have already begun arriving in Greater Victoria, with many more from across the country expected July 1.

However, as Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told Jack Knox of the Times Colonist, there is still plenty of uncertainty. We need to know when the US border will open, and we need to respect that individuals and businesses will move at different speeds when it comes to opening up. Mandatory mask policies, for example, could become a source of conflict after July 1 (we'll have more information and resources on this in the next edition of BizNews).
Nominations now open for the 2022-2023 Board
Each fall, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce holds an election for new board members. Each board member is elected for a two-year term with staggered renewal dates. This year, four (4) board positions are up for election and we're looking for great nominees like you.
Our influential board works with decision-makers at all levels of government to support our region’s businesses and maximize the value of membership with The Chamber.

Click here for key dates, the nomination process and the voting procedure. Download your application, including a request for a bio and photo for the election ballot — as well as a form to gather your nomination supporters. Additional questions can be directed here.

Nominations close Thursday, July 29 at noon.
Government needs to welcome back cruise ships
We've said it before and we'll keep saying it as long as it takes for government to hear us. Businesses need certainty and they deserve to know how and when our economy will re-open. The BC Restart Plan has helped, but the federal government risks doing serious damage to Canada's tourism sector with its prolonged suspension of cruise ships. The Chamber along with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and other business organizations are calling for a clear signal that the industry is welcome and can plan to return to full capacity by next year.

“Cruise lines need time to prepare for the full resumption of cruise and the Government of Canada, through Transport Canada, needs to signal that they are prepared to welcome the industry back in a safe and measured way,” GVHA CEO Ian Robertson said in a news release. “The decision needs to be made in line with the reopening plans for the Canada-USA land and marine borders. We cannot afford to play roulette with something that is such a vital economic lifeline for our province.”
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: Member since 2003
Respect and inclusion make all of us stronger
There are many reasons why Inclusion is an advocacy priority for The Chamber. We know we need everyone in our region to participate in our economy to meet challenges facing our workforce and to embrace new opportunities in a changing world. In Greater Victoria, local First Nations have much to contribute and The Chamber is actively working to ensure Indigenous people are engaged in our business community.

"We can learn so much from our First Nations, but we need to make the time to listen," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "Reconciliation is not simple, and The Chamber is committed to doing all we can to help this process. Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam and Esquimalt Nations Chief Rob Thomas have written a powerful commentary I encourage all of our members to read."

The essay, We are stronger together only if guided by respect, was published in the Times Colonist on June 15.
Songhees Nation: Member since 2017
Times Colonist: Member since 1961
Event Highlights
BC's Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin spoke with Chamber CEO Bruce Williams last Friday as part of our Business Restart Series. If you missed this event, you can request access to the video to find out how Greater Victoria's business community is playing a vital role in the reconciliation process.
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Province approves making patios permanent
It's said necessity is the mother of invention and pandemic restrictions certainly forced businesses to get creative. For the 2,000 pubs and restaurants in BC that set up patios to safely serve people outside, the changes have been so well received the province is now looking to make them permanent.

On Tuesday, the government announced businesses can apply to make their Temporary Expanded Service Areas permanent. Existing patios have also been given extensions to June 2022 to provide more time for businesses to apply.

“(Patios) have been a make-or-break opportunity for so many operations struggling through these uncommon and difficult times,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “This timely announcement, and the certainty it will afford our members in the months and years ahead, are welcome news.”

What do you think of making pandemic patios permanent? Share your thoughts by emailing [email protected].
BC Restaurant & Food Services Association: Member since 1996
CEO Bruce Williams and Board Chair John Wilson pick up the tab at Twa Dogs Brewery and Caledonian Distillery in Saanich courtesy of Vancity.
Enjoy the upcoming sunshine with the Greater Victoria Picnics & Patios contest!
Do you want your next patio outing paid for? From now until June 30, visit a participating #PicnicsPatiosVicBC restaurant on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for your chance to have your tab picked up by one of our community partners! Courtesy of our contest sponsor Vancity.

The Chamber is proud to work with our partners — BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, City of Victoria, Destination Greater Victoria, Downtown Victoria Business Association — as we continue to show support for the hospitality industry and take a moment to savour delicious food and drinks across the region.

Learn more about this initiative and find great local restaurants here
BC Restaurant & Food Services Association (BCRFA): Member since 1996
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
Downtown Victoria Business Association: Member since 2007
Oak Bay taking careful look at secondary suites
The District of Oak Bay continues to look at permitting secondary suites to help create affordable housing options in the community.

The municipality is in the fourth of a five phase approach to gauge community support and look at how suites have been supported in other jurisdictions.

Housing supply is an important issue for our region. The Chamber continues to hear from members who are struggling to find and keep workers, with the cost of housing one of the main deterrents for people wanting to live and work in Greater Victoria.
District of Oak Bay: Member since 2021
Upcoming events
BC's plan to help Island businesses bounce forward
Join us for a virtual chat with the Hon. George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Hon. Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, as we discuss opportunities ahead as well as ongoing support to help all British Columbians live healthy and productive lives.
This event is free of charge to all Vancouver Island Chamber members.
Hon. George Heyman, Minister of Environment & Climate Change
Hon. Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
Innovative approach to affordable homes in Victoria
Construction has started on a new project in Victoria that includes nine homes with a novel approach to making them affordable for middle-income families, seniors and individuals.

The six-storey building at 1301 Hillside Ave. has a total of 49 units, with nine set aside for buyers with household incomes under $116,330 ($163,220 for the two-bedroom homes). Buyers receive a no-interest, no-monthly-payment second mortgage to support their purchase. This helps with the equity portion of the purchase, making it easier to obtain a first mortgage.

The project is being built by Abstract Developments through BC Housing’s Affordable Home Ownership Program.
BC Housing: Member since 2021
Abstract Developments: Member since 2010
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Co-ops in the Workforce
Sourcing a workforce is an ongoing challenge in our region. One of the most effective means of finding workers and integrating them into the operations of a company or organization is through the Student Co-op programs at the University of Victoria and Camosun College.

Find out more about the power of Co-op from UVic President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Kevin Hall and Camosun VP of Partnerships Geoff Wilmshurst.
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
Camosun College: Member since 1976
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Looking to hire a co-op student but need funding? This presentation can help.
Ensure your job opening is seen by the right candidates with The Chamber’s job board!
For an extra $45 USD per job posting, shoot your listing to the top of the job board and increase the amount of job-seekers that view your job offer. Your job will also have a highlighted “FEATURED” badge and will be published to the Google Jobs Network.
You can also upgrade your previously-posted positions to ensure your job opening gets the most views over time.
Learn more about how to post on the job board and utilize featured posting here. ​

If you have any questions or need assistance uploading your job, please email [email protected]
Announcing our new Membership Portal!
Later this week, when you login to The Chamber’s website, check out new tools to stay engaged and gain access to curated resources for you and your organization.

Now you can quickly see which events you’re signed up for, view upcoming invoices and more. Stay tuned to upcoming editions of BizNews as we breakdown all of the new ways to use this upgraded feature.

If you have any questions about your new Membership Portal, please contact Thomas at [email protected].
Cool ways to celebrate dad this Father’s Day
Make sure dad feels special this Father's Day! Whether you are relaxing in the backyard or having a virtual chat, show your appreciation this year with a gift from a local business.
Need a gift? You can't go wrong with tried and true favorites:
Member News
Unity Mural preservation

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has completed a project to preserve the Unity Wall mural on the Breakwater. Originally completed in 2009 by Butch Dick of Songhees Nation and Darlene Gait of Esquimalt Nation, the GVHA have power washed, scrubbed, and sealed the mural to ensure that the artwork is maintained. The mural has undergone multiple phases, each demonstrating the Lekwungen People’s connection to the lands.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: Member since 2003
Songhees Nation: Member since 2017
UVic recognized as academic leader

The University of Victoria continues to receive international recognition as the 2022 QS World University Rankings places UVic among the top 25% post-secondary institutions. Climbing 36 places from the previous year, the study examined 1,300 universities around the world and assigned a rating based on academic reputation, employer reputation and more.
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
Pledge to mental health

Island Savings has pledged to contribute $120,000 to the Equipped to Heal campaign by the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. Partnering with Island Health, the campaign is raising funds for Mental Health and Substance Use Services at Royal Jubilee Hospital, which recognizes mental health hospital care as a priority need.
Island Savings: Member since 1984
Victoria Hospitals Foundation: Member since 2019
Island Health: Member since 2020
Lights, Camera, Action! 

Cineplex Odeon Victoria Cinemas has officially re-opened. As BC enters Step 2 of its Restart Plan, theatres have been allowed to re-open with a maximum of 50 people in reserved seats. Cineplex has implemented increased health & safety protocols to ensure moviegoers have a safe and enjoyable trip back to the silver screen.

Cineplex Odeon Victoria Cinemas: Member since 2014
No sort bottle drive for Island Prostate Centre

Save your refundable containers! On Sunday, June 20, from 12 to 4 pm at Archie Browning Sports Centre, Rogers Media - Jack 103.1 & Ocean 98.5 and are hosting a no-sort bottle drive with all proceeds going to Island Prostate Centre. The event aims to provide necessary funding to help locals find life-changing help and resources related to prostate cancer.
Rogers Media - Jack 103.1 & Ocean 98.5: Member since 1962 Member since 2020
Island Prostate Centre: Member since 2020
RBCx offers tech entrepreneurs a leg-up

RBC has launched RBCx, a platform to provide resources and expertise to technology entrepreneurs. The program was launched to provide new businesses a competitive edge and to help tech entrepreneurs from startup to scale-up. RBCx also offers custom personal banking services and features special events and curated content.
RBC Financial Group - Commercial Financial Services, V. I. South: Member since 1962
RBC Financial Group - Commercial Financial Services, V. I. South: Chamber Champion since 2020
Drive-through food drive

Maximum Express and Max Furniture are hosting a drive-through food drive this Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm. Non-perishable food donations will be given to the Victoria Cool Aid Society to help people in Greater Victoria facing food insecurity. Victoria Cool Aid is also offering a grocery program to provide food gift-cards to people in need.
Max Furniture: Member since 2008
Maximum Express Courier, Freight & Logistics: Member since 2004
Victoria Cool Aid Society: Member since 2006
Do you have a success story? We want to hear from you
Welcome to our newest Member!