Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
June 2, 2021
Clarity needed for businesses on mask mandate
The loosening of restrictions has been met with a collective sigh of relief for many businesses. However, some ambiguous wording in BC's Restart Plan could be problematic. Businesses are expressing concern about what will happen if masks are no longer mandatory after July 1. The plan states that once we get to Step 3, masks will only be a recommendation in public indoor settings.

Employers don't want their staff to be faced with enforcing an order that isn't clear. In the past, this has led to stressful confrontations between employees and members of the public who refuse to abide by the orders.

The Retail Council of Canada's guidance says awareness and training are key. Before we get to Step 3, The Chamber is working with other business organizations to get clarity for businesses.

If you have questions or concerns about BC's Restart Plan, let us know by emailing
Province's minimum wage now highest in Canada
The provincial government pressed ahead with its plan to raise the minimum wage, implementing the final bump yesterday to $15.20/hour across the board. The four-year plan did allow businesses to budget for the increase, but the pandemic has made many employers vulnerable to any extra expenditures.

Many businesses are facing a difficult road ahead, Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told the Times Colonist. "Ideally, the government would hold off on adding any extra costs to businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry until they have a chance to get back on their feet.”

The role of government right now needs to be focused on stripping away roadblocks and getting our economy back to its potential. The best way to help make our region affordable is to invest in innovations that will increase our housing supply, make child care accessible and encourage workers to stay in Greater Victoria.

“Employers continue to go above and beyond to find and keep workers, so wages already tend to be higher in Greater Victoria,” Williams says. “With the change, BC will have the highest minimum wage of any Canadian province. It’s time to stop the increases and let the rest of the country catch up.”
Picnics & Patios contest is on now until July 5
The Greater Victoria Picnics & Patios contest has officially launched! Comment on any Picnics & Patios social media post by The Chamber or our partners (listed below) to enter to win great prizes! Tag your favourite restaurant and two friends for a chance to win a catered picnic lunch for two at Government House, along with other weekly prizes.

Share a photo of your summertime snack and use the hashtag #PicnicsPatiosVicBC for five additional entries.

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 as we enjoy delicious food and drinks across the region.
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
Government House: member since 2020
Chamber joins Colwood's call for ferry study
A ferry connecting Royal Bay to Downtown Victoria and Esquimalt will help future proof our region, Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says.

The idea continues to gain momentum as preliminary studies show there is enough merit to the concept to explore it further. The proposal is supported by BC Ferries and the Capital Regional District.

The City of Colwood recently produced a video to promote the idea and encourage the provincial government to conduct its own feasibility study.
City of Colwood: Member since 2020
BC Ferries: Member since 1983
Capital Regional District: Member since 1993
Despite pandemic, film industry has record year
Greater Victoria's film industry had a banner year in 2020, despite physical productions closing down for a portion of the year. The Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission reports that a rush of new productions resulted in $55 million in direct spending — almost triple the previous record of $20 million.

The province's film and digital media industry generates $3.2 billion annually, employing more than 71,000 British Columbians.

The Island's film commissioner, Kathleen Gilbert, told the Victoria News that the commission has more than 800 crew in its South Island database.

“Anyone with experience would have been able to work full time since production resumed in July of last year,” Gilbert said.

The health of the film industry has been especially beneficial for tourism businesses hard hit by the pandemic.

“Certainly, given the impact on tourism that COVID has had, this is very welcome business and almost a lifeline for some of these hotels,” Bill Lewis, Chair of the Hotel Association of Greater Victoria, states in the film commission's 2020 Annual Report.
Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission: Member since 1990
Construction industry working to end OD crisis
A fundamental priority for good business is having safe communities. Feeling safe at home and at work is vital to achieving our potential as individuals and as a community.

The Chamber applauds the efforts of the Vancouver Island Construction Association, which continues to make progress on its Tailgate Toolkit harm reduction initiative. This innovative program helps people working in the construction industry access harm reduction services.

The overdose crisis in British Columbia has killed 680 people in the first four months of 2021. In April alone, at least 176 lives were lost to toxic drugs. That's 43% more than in April 2020. This is a crisis that affects all corners of society and all sectors of our economy.

To learn more about how the overdose crisis has had an impact on people in the construction industry, read VICA's stakeholder engagement report.
Vancouver Island Construction Association: Member since 1986
Upcoming events
Business Restart Series:
Hon. Murray Rankin
Hear how British Columbia is working to promote Indigenous-led economic development opportunities by strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities and gaining insight from Indigenous knowledge and perspectives.
Sponsored by:
Leverage wage subsidies to hire co-op students
Interested in hiring a Camosun or UVic co-op student, but not sure where to start? Come learn about timing, mentorship and funding options to hire a student for Fall 2021.

Engaging a student is a cost-effective way to tackle ebbs and flows in the workplace — no matter the economic temperature, and particularly now as we look forward to recovering from the pandemic. Students are available from a wide variety of programs from technology and sciences to business and communication and everything in between. 
Sponsored by:
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Sweet treats with Pivot Pilots 
How has the COVID pandemic impacted small, niche specialty food producers?

In the latest Chamber Chat, we find out from three of them: Autumn Maxwell with Cold Comfort Ice Cream, Tara Black with Origin Bakery and Lindsay Dault with Country Bee Honey Farm.
Cold Comfort Ice Cream: Member since 2017
Origin Bakery: Members since 2020
Country Bee Honey Farm: Member since 2019
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Work for a Chamber Champion
Find the best talent in your industry with The Chamber’s job board. 

When you post your next job, be sure to add your "industry type" to ensure it can be properly sorted and stand out from other job offers. This list is continually added with new industry types, and can be modified to highlight any industry. 

Also, remember to add a specific category for the job in the position title. From Admin & HR to Marketing & Comms positions, you can see all 14 categories here

If you have any questions about the job board or need assistance posting, email
What does Chamber local mean to you? 
Our #ChamberLocalVicBC campaign aims to highlight and help people understand what local means on a social, economic, and community level.

From buying gift cards to leaving reviews of your favourite local businesses online, we can continue to support our friends, family, and our #ChamberLocalVicBC community.

How does your organization define being local? Let us know to be featured in the campaign. Contact Thomas at to share your story.
Member News
Introducing Crypto Beer

Whistle Buoy Brewing has unveiled a cryptocurrency inspired beer. The NFT IPA is not only a beverage, but also a digital art piece known as a non-fungible token. NFTs are a unit of data created using blockchain technology, which creates a one-of-a-kind digital file that cannot be interchanged. Whistle Buoy’s NFT IPA is currently being auctioned until June 3.

Whistle Buoy Brewing Company: Member since 2019
A wave of ocean support

Sheringham Distillery is a founding partner of The Good Ocean, a community of businesses that strive to keep oceans healthy and take steps towards systemic change in consumer culture. The initiative addresses consumer demand for accountability in how products and services are made, sold and marketed. 

Sheringham Distillery: Member since 2018
Portraits of admired youth

Our Place Society is hosting a fundraiser to promote the work of influential youth in Greater Victoria. The Portraits of Caring event, on now until June 30, features more than 25 portraits of admired youth, 18 to 29, who are making or have made significant contributions to social services.
Our Place Society: Member since 2010
Refire your meal

Refire Kitchen has been featured in Tasting Victoria as one of the city's newest takeout businesses. Offering fresh and frozen meals, Refire makes dishes that are designed to be reheated in your oven. Featuring comfort food such as shepherd’s pie and lasagna, Refire offers affordable meals for a quick and easy dinner. 

Refire Kitchen: Member since 2021
Comedy back at The Mint

The Mint Restaurant’s Comedy night returns June 16. Presented by Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., the upcoming event will be hosted by Morgan Cranny and Drew Farrance. Seating is limited to a maximum of six per table. Tickets are available now

Mint Restaurant: Member since 2006

Phillips Brewing & Malting Co: Member since 2020
Victoria-Opoly returns

Back in stock for a limited time, Outset Media's Victoria-Opoly has flown off Walmart shelves. The board game features properties from across Greater Victoria including the University of Victoria, Fairmont Empress, Royal BC Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Belfry Theatre, Government House and other landmark locations. 
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
Fairmont Empress: Member since 1962
Royal BC Museum: Member since 1994
Craigdarroch Castle Historical Society: Member since 1990
Belfry Theatre: Member since 1995
Outset Media: Member since 1998
Government House: Member since 2020
Helping to cool down food waste

CryoLogistics has been named a semi-finalist in the federal government’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Created to accelerate solutions regarding food waste, the 24 semi-finalists will each receive $100,000 in funding and move on to the next round. CryoLogistics specializes in developing autonomous refrigerated shipping containers that offer real-time remote monitoring. 
CryoLogistics: Member since 2021
Annual Spirit Award winners
The United Way of Greater Victoria has announced its Spirit Award Winners, honouring the generosity of workplaces, organizations and individuals across Greater Victoria. This year’s winners included: 

BC Ferries - Spirit Award of Distinction

British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) – Triple Crown Award Winner, Outstanding Workplace Campaign

Jennifer Currie, Megson FitzPatrick – Outstanding Employee Campaign Chair (100+ Employees)

University of Victoria – Leadership Giving Award

Seaspan Victoria Shipyards – Community Impact Award

Community Living Victoria – Community Partner Award

RBC – Financial Challenge Award

City of Langford – Municipal Challenge Award

BC Transit – Labour Partnership Award

Royal Roads University - $1,000,000 cumulatively raised (Thanks A Millions Award), Spirit of Good Citizenship awarded to Cecilia David

Capital Regional District (CRD) – $1,000,000 cumulatively raised (Thanks A Million Award)

Learn more about the Spirit Award winners in Douglas Magazine.
United Way of Greater Victoria: Member since 1972
BC Ferry Services Inc: Member since 1983
British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI): Member since 2019
Megson FitzPatrick Insurance Services: Member since 1981
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
Seaspan Victoria Shipyards: Member since 2002
Seaspan Victoria Shipyards: Chamber Champion since 2021
Community Living Victoria: Member since 2014
RBC Financial Group: Member since 1962
RBC Financial Group: Chamber Champion since 2020
City of Langford: Member since 2019
BC Transit: Member since 1999
Royal Roads University: Member since 1996
Capital Regional District (CRD): Member since 1993
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