Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
September 23, 2020
As for the election itself, it will, of course, look a little different this fall. Voters will have a number of options to safely mark their ballot, including by mail, and physically distanced voting stations.

Candidates have until 1 pm on Oct. 2 to register, so keep reading BizNews for the latest on when the Election Panels will be held, and who is running in your riding.
Huge ratings for Business Awards TV premiere

From start-ups to local legends, The Chamber’s 2020 Greater Victoria Business Awards showcase hard-working entrepreneurs, business people and community leaders in 14 categories worth celebrating.
Winners were chosen by an independent panel of prominent business leaders who served as judges. This marks the first year the event has been held as a televised broadcast.

Missed the livestream? Watch the 2020 Business Awards on YouTube or Facebook.
Throne speech promises wage subsidy extension
The minority federal government has promised to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until next summer, and create one million jobs while continuing the fight against the pandemic, climate change and social inequality.

"Businesses need certainty that they will be supported as we all adjust to new ways of doing things or are able to return to currently restricted activities," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "Today's Speech from the Throne says a lot of the right things but until we learn more details it's too soon to be anything but cautiously optimistic."

The speech included proposals to reform employment insurance and measures to retrain workers who were displaced by the pandemic. There was also a promise for federal funding for child care aimed at helping more women participate in the workforce. However, we share concerns about a lack of attention to economic fundamentals or rising debt levels. If the vote on the Throne Speech gets the required support from other parties to pass, we'll want more details about plans to help the tourism and hospitality sectors.
South Island Transportation 'strategy' slim on details
The provincial government finally released the long-awaited South Island Transportation Strategy last week. The report pays lip service to a number of issues that matter to the region, but offers few details about how Greater Victoria can achieve those outcomes. It's notable that the document originally referred to as a "plan" has become a "strategy."

“There’s some indication about what they intend to do but they don’t say how and when they intend to do it,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told the Times Colonist.

The study made mention of improved transit service to First Nations, and about the need for better transportation options serving the West Shore. Chamber chair John Wilson also noted that there was no mention of improving transportation governance in Greater Victoria. The Chamber has long advocated that this is needed to ensure decisions are based on what's best for the region rather than individual municipalities.

With a provincial election now underway, we're still waiting for real solutions to transportation issues on the South Island. We don't need to study what's already been studied. We need decisions that actually benefit people on their everyday commute.

The strategy also offered little insight into the future of rail on Vancouver Island. Plenty of money has been spent on studies and assessments, but we still don't know what will become of this transportation option. To better understand how Islanders feel about rail, the Island Corridor Foundation has released a survey aimed at anyone interested in transportation on the Island.
Island Corridor Foundation: Member since 2020
New funding adds housing, mental health teams
The Chamber continues to advocate for safe communities by calling for proven solutions that address the root causes of homelessness.

On Monday, the federal government announced $1 billion for cities to spend over the fall and winter on housing for vulnerable people. The Rapid Housing Initiative will be used to build modular homes, buy land or purchase existing accommodation, such as motels and hotels.

On Sunday, the provincial government announced that it was adding a new Assertive Community Treatment team in Greater Victoria, along with five others across BC.
Teams provide support to individuals, helping adults with "serious, complex and often persistent mental health challenges that make it difficult to manage day-to-day activities."

The teams can also help people with substance abuse issues that bring them into conflict with the law by diverting them to treatment aimed at recovery.
Saanich receives child care inventory report Sept. 28
The results of a long-awaited inventory of licensed child care spaces in Saanich will be revealed next Monday.

The District of Saanich partnered with Central Saanich, Highlands, North Saanich, Oak Bay and Sidney to be part of a Union of BC Municipalities initiative aimed at improving child care delivery in BC.

Better access to quality child care — an ongoing Chamber advocacy priority — is needed to ensure families with young children can fully participate in the workforce.

Saanich is asking anyone who has input to provide on the issue to register before Monday, by emailing or calling 250-475-5501.
Carriage homes will increase housing in Saanich
A decision by Saanich council last week could see hundreds of affordable homes built in the municipality without the direct involvement of government. The District of Saanich will now allow for carriage homes on properties that meet the necessary requirements.

“It took years for us to get here,” Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes told CHEK news.
“Imagine there’s 30,000 single-family homes ... If just 1,000 properties (build a carriage home), we’ve added 1,000 rental homes without government involvement.”
Saanich seeks input on e-mobility strategy
The District of Saanich is looking for input on its draft e-mobility strategy. You can complete the survey here or email feedback to The survey is open until Sept. 27. 

Saanich has also created an info sheet about e-bikes to encourage more residents to adopt this climate-friendly mode of transportation. Check it out here.

To learn more about e-bikes firsthand, check out these Chamber-approved retailers!
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Feds pledge $100,000 for marine business hub case
Greater Victoria's geographic advantages would seem to make our region a natural home for the proposed Ocean Futures Innovation Hub.

Last Friday, the federal government announced it was kicking in $100,000 to help complete a feasibility study for marine businesses in our region. The case for the hub will be crafted by the City of Victoria, the South Island Prosperity Partnership and the Association of BC Marine Industries.

Marine-focused businesses in Greater Victoria came together last year to call for a hub that could share resources, incubate innovation and increase the profile of the region as an international leader in ocean-based technology.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
South Island Prosperity Partnership: Member since 2017
Local firm takes lead in $2.3 million clean-tech plan
Alacrity Canada has been chosen to assist businesses in western Canada increase their international sales and investment in clean technologies. The federal government announced last week that Alacrity will get $1.3 million to create 100 jobs in clean tech that will help the country recover from the pandemic-caused recession.

“Canadian researchers and entrepreneurs are addressing the world’s most significant environmental problems with innovative solutions. They are on a quest to help this planet survive for many generations to come," Alacrity Canada's managing director Richard Egli said in a news release. "This new funding will give Alacrity an excellent opportunity to connect Canadian innovation with significant challenges waiting to be solved."

A total of $2.3 million is going to BC's clean tech sector, including $100,000 to the South Island Prosperity Partnership.
Alacrity Canada: Member since 2019
South Island Prosperity Partnership: Member since 2017
RBCM picks Colwood for collections and archives
The Royal BC Museum will soon have a major presence on the West Shore, after an announcement that a 14,000 square-metre facility is planned for Royal Bay in Colwood.

“Colwood is extremely proud to welcome RBCM’s collections and research building to our community, along with hundreds of jobs and significant construction investment," Colwood mayor Rob Martin said of the new archives that will complement the main museum in Victoria.

Building construction is expected to begin in 2021 and finish in 2024. The project will generate more than 950 direct and indirect jobs. The finished facility will improve research activities and open access to many of the seven million objects in the museum's collections.

That will help with the ongoing reconciliation process, Songhees First Nation chief Ron Sam said in the news release.

“Our Nation is looking forward to participating in the modernization of the Royal BC Museum. This project is an opportunity to tell the stories of our people, our history and our culture in the provincial museum in our territory."
Royal BC Museum: member since 1994
City of Colwood: Member since 2020
Songhees Nation: Member since 2017
BC extends patio service rules through October 2021
As we continue to learn how to live with COVID-19, we need to support successful adaptations such as expanded service areas for restaurants and pubs. The summer experiment with sidewalk patios and outdoor seating has, by most accounts, been a success.

The Chamber applauds the provincial government by formally extending measures to allow expanded services areas for another year.

In May, BC's Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch began permitting food-primary, liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees, such as wineries, breweries and distilleries, to apply for a Temporary Expanded Service Area. These were originally set to expire at the end of October but the initiative will now run until October 2021.

As of Sept. 11, 1,073 permits were approved in BC after businesses received the green light from their local municipality.
Buildings bathed in light in support of live events
Buildings across the region were bathed in red light last night for Light Up Live, a movement supporting Canada's live events industry.

Restrictions on the number of people who can gather in one place have eliminated concerts, galas and ceremonies and other in-person events as we've known them. Many organizations, including The Chamber, have shifted to virtual events but the business model is much different than the one that supported a $100 billion industry before the pandemic.

B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan, announced last Thursday, offered little hope to the thousands of businesses and workers that earn a living from live events.
Ten candidates for six openings on Chamber 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 we are asking you to elect six (6) board members.

Election ballots have been emailed to the main contact for your organization and we need your help in selecting next year's board. Voting closes noon Thursday, Oct. 1.
Do you want to be on a Chamber committee?
The Chamber has a number of active and engaged committees that report to our Board of Directors. A key reason for the success of our board committees is the involvement of our Chamber members as volunteer committee members.
Each year, there are a few openings on our committees for new members. We are recruiting now for members who will be available starting on January 1, 2021 for at least a two-year term. Here are our committees:
  • The Ambassador Committee
  • The Finance and Audit Committee
  • The Prodigy Group
  • The Public Policy and Advocacy Committee

The opportunity to apply for any of the above committees is open until Oct. 11.
At the end of the application period, the chair of the committee will review your application and you will be contacted by email or phone.
Getting you back to business
COVID-19: The Road to Recovery
Hear from BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins on their recovery plan to safeguard the coastal ferry service for the long term and provide essential services to customers and communities.
Sponsored by:
Registrants will also receive access to the recording post-event.
HR Best Practices in Uncertain Times
In this seminar, Denise Lloyd, Chief Engagement Officer of Engaged HR will examine 5 key questions that employers need to know as we head into the fall season of COVID-19.

After the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to share concerns and ask questions.

Registrants will also receive access to the recording post-event.
Thurs, Oct. 8 | 12-1 pm
Just announced!
AGM & Mayors Panel (Online)
Join us for a historic event, as we bring together mayors from across the Capital Regional District to discuss what's ahead for our region as we move through this pandemic.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams will facilitate a discussion on future collaborations between our regional municipalities.
Tues., Nov. 3 | 11:45 am - 1 pm
Sponsored by:
Trade Accelerator Program
Take your business to the next level!
Last week to apply
Apply for the Trade Accelerator Program today (partial bursaries available for a limited time, for qualifying companies).

New trade agreements and a competitive Canadian dollar make it an ideal time to extend your company's reach through the export of goods and services.

The Trade Accelerator Program is designed to help SMEs TAP into their full export potential. It has a proven track record helping participants get results.
Just six months after graduating the program:

• On average, export revenue increased by 28%

• Participants forecast their export sales to grow 47% over the next 5 years

Deadline to apply for the fall session is Sept. 30, 2020.

Have questions? Call TAP B.C. Team on 604-640-5491 or email
Chamber job board
If you're an employer looking for your next great hire, make sure to post your career opportunities on the Chamber job board.

The job board is an exclusive benefit of Chamber membership.

If you have any difficulty posting, 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.
Current Job Listings:
First week of Autumn
As the leaves begin to change color this autumn, start preparing for a cozy October while also supporting Chamber members.

As the weather gets cooler, take a moment to think about those in Greater Victoria who may not have warm clothes or a place to stay. View Chamber member non-profits here to learn how you can give back this autumn.
Members Around Town
Sketch Across Canada

The Bateman Foundation, in partnership with Black Press, is providing 33,000 free sketchbooks to artists across Canada. Sketch Across Canada is a nationwide mental health initiative that aims to reduce anxiety and depression in individuals by providing a tool to become connected with nature. You can pickup your free sketchbook from The Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature and Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.
The Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature: member since 2013
Black Press: member since 1987
A Virtual hole-in-one

The University of Victoria’s 24th Annual Golf Classic is still happening this year, but participants will now have the opportunity to compete in the tournament at any 18-hole golf course. Whether you and a partner decide to golf at a local golf course, or try out a virtual golfing experience through Iron & Wood Golf Simulators, participants will receive a Vikes Classic Box containing your tee-gift and your potential team prize.
Iron & Wood Golf Simulators: member since 2020
University of Victoria: member since 1976
BC SPCA celebrates 125 years

Earlier this week, The BC SPCA celebrated its 125th anniversary. With more than one million animals receiving life saving help and being adopted in BC, the organization is BC’s oldest animal welfare charity. This anniversary coincides with the announcement that the BCSPCA will be building a new shelter for abused and neglected farm animals in Nanaimo.

BC SPCA Victoria: member since 2017
COVID creations

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has launched a COVID Creations Show and Sale, an initiative to showcase local artwork made throughout quarantine. The Show and Sale runs until Oct. 17. Artwork can be purchased here.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria: member since 2007
Netflix focus on Colwood

The City of Colwood will soon be the site of a new Netflix series — an adaptation of the book Maid by Stephanie Land. Filming will occur from the end of September until March 2021. The dramedy will include filming on Royal Beach in Colwood. Margot Robbie will produce the series, which stars Margaret Qualley and Nick Robinson.
City of Colwood: member since 2020
Celebration of music

The Victoria Conservatory of Music is hosting a West Coast Kitchen Style Party virtually this year. The event — featuring about 150 performers across various choirs and orchestras — won't be charging for tickets, but will ask for donations. The event will be livestreamed here.
Victoria Conservatory of Music: member since 2000
BC Ferries becomes mobile friendly

BC Ferries has launched its new mobile friendly website. Before you travel, you can now easily reserve sailings, view schedules and check real-time travel conditions on your mobile browser.
BC Ferry Services Inc: member since 1983
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