Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
June 3, 2020
Art groups need creativity, relief programs to survive
Greater Victoria's arts sector is struggling with many of the same concerns facing other organizations in our region. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in severe restrictions on public gatherings, effectively eliminating the ability to earn ticket revenue from audiences.

Kathryn Laurin, CEO of the Victoria Symphony, spoke with Chamber CEO Catherine Holt today as part of our series of COVID-19 fireside chats.

"Nothing like a crisis to force you to become creative and innovative," Laurin said.

Some of the ideas include performances in smaller venues and hosting virtual concerts. However, as with many businesses, the arts sector is leaning on government help to survive and successfully recover. Watch the entire interview with Victoria Symphony CEO Kathryn Laurin, and hear what else the sector needs to make it through the pandemic.
Victoria Symphony: Member since 1984
TELUS regional HQ, huge vote of confidence for city
Yesterday's announcement that Telus Communications has purchased the Apex site from the City of Victoria is a much needed boost as our region recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vancouver-based telecommunications firm is planning a regional headquarters in Victoria that will permanently employ 250 people.

“I think it’s a fantastic piece of positive, optimistic news for Victoria at a time when we could really use it,” Chamber CEO Catherine Holt told the Times Colonist. “It’s obviously been years in the making, and for them to proceed at this very difficult time is, I think, a huge vote of confidence in Victoria.”

The proposed building in the 700-block of Douglas St., across from the Victoria Convention Centre, will be called TELUS Ocean. The property sold for $8.1 million, with an additional $1.1 million dependent on the final proposal after the rezoning process.
The city will use proceeds from the sale to fund its strategic plan, including acquiring land for affordable housing.
TELUS Communications: Member since 1962
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Task force says tourism needs help until Spring 2021
The Greater Victoria Tourism Rescue and Recovery Task Force is asking the provincial government to clarify what else the federal government can provide to help tourism-dependent business survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current relief measures introduced by government are not enough to protect businesses in a sector facing a bleak future until international travel restrictions are lifted.

Working with Destination Greater Victoria, the task force wants to see programs — such as long-term, interest-free loans — that will enable key tourism businesses survive into next spring.
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
BC Transit adapting to new normal under Phase 2
One of the traditions that defines life in Greater Victoria is the civility of riding a bus. Passengers say "thank you" to the driver when they step off at their destination. We're also known for courtesy shown to each other, and that's something BC Transit is counting on as the company introduces new practices it hopes will quickly become ingrained in its riders.

Erinn Pinkerton, CEO of BC Transit, spoke with Chamber CEO Catherine Holt yesterday as part of our ongoing COVID-19 fireside chat series. Pinkerton said BC Transit considered mandating masks for passengers but decided to instead encourage people to adopt the practice as a courtesy for others.

"We have considered whether or not we would ask and mandate it but that would leave our operators in a very difficult decision to enforce those rules," Pinkerton said, while speaking to a number of other changes aimed at keeping riders safe as well as noting that new dedicated bus lanes are now fully operational.
BC Transit: Member since 1999
Province buys Paul's Motor Inn for homeless relief
The provincial government has purchased another hotel in Victoria. Yesterday's announcement that the iconic Paul's Motor Inn was bought for $15 million to house the homeless is welcome news in the short-term. The plan to eventually use the site for long-term affordable housing is also the right approach. However, the loss of hotel rooms in our region is a serious concern that could hurt our tourism sector's ability to contribute to the economy once international travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

For many years, Greater Victoria employers have called for more affordable options for our workforce. The opportunity to eventually develop non-market housing at this site, as well as at the former Comfort Inn site purchased last month, could help the regional economy thrive post-COVID.

In the days ahead, the accommodations will help make our community safer by moving people out of encampments at Topaz Park and along Pandora Avenue. Living indoors allows residents to access mental health and addiction support services, and eventually change their path in life. With ongoing provincial health emergencies caused by opioids and COVID-19, The Chamber applauds the efforts so far. We will continue to engage with this process to ensure the long-term benefits are also realized.
BC Budget 2021 consultation process open
The Chamber encourages members to share their concerns with the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.

All British Columbians can make a written, audio or video submission or complete an online survey. The deadline to participate is 5 pm, June 26.

The Chamber has applied to appear virtually to present to the committee.
Collaboration key for commercial tenants, landlords
On Monday, the provincial government moved to force the hand of commercial property owners who have not applied for federal rent relief.

The idea is to help commercial tenants, who can't apply for rent relief themselves, by prohibiting evictions by landlords who are not participating in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program.

The Chamber continues to encourage property owners to work with their tenants to find solutions that allow businesses to get through this crisis together.

COVID-19 has caused tremendous uncertainty but we know it is not forever. The economy will bounce back faster and all of us will be better off if existing businesses are well positioned to successfully restart in the coming weeks and months.
Is your business open? We want to hear from you!
For 157 years, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has worked with businesses through good times and bad. Like an insurance policy that you’re glad to have when things go wrong, we’ve been active through this crisis to support our members.

Join our members in supporting local businesses to restart our economy as we prepare to move into Phase 3 of BC's Restart Plan.
The  Chamber Member Service Updates page is continually revised to reflect our member’s updated hours. You can visit the page  here. Click on a category below to find innovative ways our members continue to serve Greater Victoria.
Upcoming Virtual Events
Join us for a virtual tailgate party and support the Victoria HarbourCats !

Attendees are encouraged to wear a Victoria HarbourCats hat while they network. If you don't already have one you can click  here  to gets yours before the event.

After the mixer, grab some takeout from one of our awesome local  restaurants  and watch a replay of the July 19, 2018 game against the Corvallis Knights. 
Connecting employers with employees today
The Chamber is proud to have featured more than 200 jobs on our Job Board since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

We're already starting to see a change in the jobs offered as BC gets back to work. As of June 15th, we look forward to returning to the Job Board being an exclusive benefit of Chamber membership.

If you have any difficulty posting, please email We will get back to you within one business day. We know how important hiring the right person can be.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Members Around Town
Feeding a thirst Canada-wide

Rumble has donated $220,000 worth of drinks to food banks across Canada. A total of 48,132 drinks will be used to provide a nutritious meal a day for 500 people over three months, with ingredients that include organic vegetables, grass-fed milk protein and essential nutrients.
Rumble: member since 2015
TELUS stands with business

TELUS Communications, which recently announced its Ocean Project in downtown Victori, has committed $500,000 to support small business owners across Canada through its #StandWithOwners campaign.
TELUS Communications: member since 1962
Drive-in classics

Experience a drive-in movie with the University of Victoria. Legacy Drive In will show films such as Hook, The Life Aquatic, and The Breakfast Club this week, with new titles appearing in the summer.

The drive-in will be in UVic's parking lot 10, and $5 from every ticket will be donated to the school’s COVID-19 Support Bursary.

Lavender hand sanitizer will also be available from Bilston Creek Farm.
University of Victoria: member since 1976
Bilston Creek Farm: member since 2019
Mammoth announcement

The Royal BC Museum is reopening on June 19, and will offer timed-tickets to ensure social distancing measures are maintained. The second floor of the museum will be open to visitors, including the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit.
Royal BC Museum : member since 1994
Back to the pitch

Pacific Football Club is the first major Vancouver Island team to resume practising in groups.

The football club is ensuring proper safety measures are in place to protect players.
Pacific Football Club: member since 2019
Growing space

The Huntington Manor Hotel is providing free gardening spaces to local residents.

If you are interested in receiving and caring for a garden plot, as well as a start-up-kit to help your garden, apply by Sunday, June 7 here.
Huntingdon Manor Hotel: member since 1981
Chamber Benefits Program
As a member of The Chamber, you and your organization are eligible for discounts and savings. UPS and Lenovo have provided Chamber members with increased resources to ensure that as safer at home measures start to relax, you are ready to get back to business with confidence.

UPS is offering savings of 50% on domestic and international, in conjunction with an informative guide to provide tips on how to expand e-commerce during the pandemic. Shipments can be easily tracked through UPS My Choice® for Business. Learn more about shipping rates and tracking here.

Lenovo has provided a guide on how to properly and safety disinfect your computer and monitor, as well as updated product security information to avoid vulnerabilities with your hardware. Learn more about products and services here.

Our Chamber Benefits Program has many valuable offers to utilize, from fuel discounts to certificates of origin. Chamber members can also find and post offers on the Member to Member Offers page, a constantly updated resource to showcase your product/service to fellow Chamber members.

For more information on how to take advantage of these savings or to post a Member to Member offer, contact
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