Thank you to Sandman Hotel Victoria for hosting the November Business Mixer last Thursday.  Click here to see the photos.
Employing Syrian Refugees
Over the past year, 350 Syrian refugees have to come to Victoria under community and government sponsorship. All of the refugees are given financial and social supports for one year or until they are self-sufficient, whichever happens first. For many, that year is coming up.

"An increasing number of employers are approaching The Chamber about employing Syrian refugees," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "Local employers recognize the main barrier to their employment is English-speaking proficiency, and they want to help."

lmost all of the refugees have been offered initial English language training through Camosun or our offices," said Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) CEO, Jean McRae. "English-speaking proficiency suitable for the workplace safety and productivity takes time.  For beginners, it can take several years to reach fluency suitable to many workplaces. We are happy to work with employers to bridge the gaps."

Employers interested in employing current or future refugees can contact
ICA's Employment Services Manager Deb Hamblin for more information or to attend their Dec 7 info session.
Chamber News
Opportunities and connections
Chamber Events
Chair's Holiday Reception
Prodigy Group Mingles
Business Mixers

Know an Outstanding Workplace?
Do you know a business that has a focus on workplace culture, employee recognition and shows a commitment to a healthy work environment through practices that benefit employees physically, intellectually and/or emotionally?

If you do, nominate them for the 2017 Outstanding Workplace of the Year Award!

Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2016 Outstanding Workplace of the Year finalists below.  

Winner: Brentwood Bay Resort and Spa
Finalist: Macdonald Realty Ltd.
Joint Chamber Update

As described in today's joint statement from the Chamber Integration Committee, co-chairs Al Hasham (Greater Victoria Chamber Chair) and RJ Senko ( Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce Vice-President of Communications & Gov't Relations), the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce have determined the best option at this time is for the two chambers to remain separate organizations.

"We continue to believe the integration of the two Chambers would benefit Greater  Victoria businesses," said Chamber Chair Al Hasham. "As a non-profit organization funded by businesses to support businesses, we believe the strength of any chamber is in its members. We welcome the opportunity to work with local chambers to support Greater Victoria businesses." 
Keep your most important asset - your people - healthy and well taken care of with the Chambers Plan - the most popular employee benefits plan in Canada for small business. Click here for more information.
Hemming & Hawing on Housing  
The Chamber is hearing of non-profits with the money and land to provide affordable housing are struggling with rezoning approvals that involve intensive public engagement incurring high redesign costs as well as lengthy project delays.  In short, municipal councils are allowing the loud minority to slow the creation of new housing supply and needed amenities, overlooking the benefit affordable housing has on community vibrancy, local businesses, and municipal revenue generation.  

In July, we heard that the Townley Place, one of the  buildings managed by the  Greater Victoria Housing Society (GVHS), would receive a major rebuild to nearly double its ability to  house seniors and low-income families. The federal government was expected to assist with funding for the project, enabling lower rental costs downstream. The GVHS conducted extensive consultation with the neighborhood, and consequently amended its plans based on their input.

In November, Saanich council voted to unanimously postpone a public hearing on the redevelopment of Townley Place after some residents spoke against the project's increased density. The delay has put federal funding in jeopardy and has consequently left GVHS questioning whether the project will move forward at all.
"Local business owners and leaders are increasingly concerned about the scarcity of affordable housing - private and subsidized - available to our workforce, particularly to those earning low to moderate incomes," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "Municipal processes must help us address the problem - not become part of it." 
Brian Henry

Owner of Ocean River Sports and Adventures

What is the best part about doing business in Greater Victoria? The community. There are so many wonderful and inspiring local businesses and it is our honour to be a part of such a supportive group. How is your business environmentally sustainable? Our biggest environmentally friendly initiative is educating youth and the paddling community. By getting people out on the water we can grow a community of advocates towards the preservation of the wonderful area we call home. Favourite place on Vancouver Island? Kyuquot Sound. What is the best advice you've ever received? "If you ask a question listen to the answer". 

More about Brian - and additional Member Snapshots - can be found inside the November Business Matters.  

Ocean River Sports and Adventures: member since 2010

Auction Program Online!
From restaurant gift certificates to beer advent calendars, hotel stays to rounds of golf, there is something for everyone inside the 34th Annual Dinner Auction Gala Program

See you there and happy bidding!

Protecting the Great Bear Rainforest
For their work on the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements Sierra Club BC - in partnership with other organizations - have won the Buckminster Fuller Institute's (BFI) Fuller Challenge Award and the 2016 EarthCare Award bestowed by Sierra Club US.

The Great Bear Rainforest Agreements protect 85% (3.1 million hectares) of the region's coastal temperate rainforest which will be permanently off limits to industrial logging. The remaining 15% (550,000 hectares) will be subject to the most stringent legal standards for commercial logging operations in North America. 
Sierra Club BC: Members since 2016
Taxpayers: Who's in Your Wallet?  
We pay individual and business income taxes to federal and provincial governments and property taxes to local government. We pay the PST and GST. We also pay a host of other taxes including health, social security and employment taxes, import duties, license and permit fees, taxes on the consumption of alcohol and tobacco, natural resource fees, fuel taxes, hospital taxes, and other levies.

"There is only one level of taxpayer and as such, we need to understand what is happening with our money," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt.  "Please keep on eye out for the opportunity to comment on how your municipal tax dollars are spent."  

and attendance at its e-Town Hall on 
Dec 1.

For a list of 2016 Tax Rates in your community for both business and residential click here
National Print Awards
At the Canadian Printing Awards in Toronto Hemlock Printers was acknowledged as a national print leader, winning ten awards, including six Gold (the most of any printer across Canada), two Silver and two Bronze. The awards recognize Canada's best in printing, new print technology and environmental sustainability.

"This event demonstrates the high quality work being done across the country, and it's an honour to be recognized by our peers in this way," said Hemlock Printers President and COO Richard Kouwenhoven. " The work on display and the stories told by the winners reinforce that our industry isn't standing still, but rapidly evolving with the changes in technology and customer needs."

Hemlock Printers Ltd.: member since 2003

Welcome to Our Newest Members!   

Need to Get Your Message to the Business Community?
Consider advertising in Business Matters! Distributed to 2,000 business owners and decision-makers in our community, and also available in a digitized format on The Chamber's website.

Book your advertising for 2017 and save up to 25%! If you book Business Matters ads you'll also unlock special deals on BizNews or box ads on The Chamber's website. The Chamber's online advertising options are a great way to get more responses to a survey, advertise an event or promote a sale.

For more information click here and to book give us a call at 250-383-7191.
Chamber Name Tags
Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber Name tags? Email Reception to order yours today.

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