The Chamber has a busy spring planned full of great  events! Our members also have lots planned - see their events here. Want to relive the events of 2018 so far? Check out The Chamber's photo gallery.
Easter Activities    
Not sure what to do
@_luna_the_boston, The Chamber's Barketing Assistant 
for the Easter long weekend? Why not plan brunch with family or friends? Also make sure you're well supplied with a chocolate bunny and eggs for an Easter Egg hunt!

Don't want to plan anything yourself? Several Chamber members have fun events in store for children of all ages.
See more events on Tourism Victoria's website.

Please note The Chamber office will be closed from March 30-April 2. Hope the holiday brings you lots of cheer!
Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
AGM & Mayoral Address
Premier John Horgan Luncheon
Governor of the Bank of Canada Luncheon
Business Mixers
Event Photos
Climate Smart maps Greater Victoria emissions
Want to know how much energy the construction  industry uses for transportation in Greater Victoria? Curious about the emissions created by the Accommodation and Food Services Sector in various parts of the region?

One of the prizes for The Chamber winning a national Climate Smart contest was a comprehensive Business Energy and Emissions Profile (BEEP) for Greater Victoria. The report has now been completed and can be found as a link on our Advocacy in Action Webpage under Finding Climate Change Solutions.

For more information about the BEEP or our limited time offer for a $1,000 rebate to undergo Climate Smart certification, contact
Hear from Mark Collins on his plans to improve the public's attitude towards BC Ferries and to create a local commuter service between downtown Victoria and the Westshore.

Wed, Apr 18 | 11:30 am-1 pm
Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St.

Members Around Town
New cafe on the block
The Root Cellar Village Green Grocer has opened its brand new cafe, The Coffee Project at the Root Cellar, adjacent to its location on Mackenzie Ave . Open 7 am-8 pm serving locally roasted coffee and featuring its #housemadegoodness line of  salads and sandwiches on the go. 
The Root Cellar Village Green Grocer: member since 2011
UVic gets federal funding to study resident killer whales 
The University of Victoria will receive $935,000 in federal funding to study the behaviour and vulnerabilities of Southern Resident Killer Whales and their prey. According to UVic, only 76 whales remain in the southern resident population. The whales hunt chinook salmon off southern Vancouver Island and the primary cause of their decline is thought to be the inability to recover chronically low chinook numbers. 
University of Victoria: member since 2016 
Victoria Golf Club
T-Jay Creamer from the Victoria Golf Club won the first ever Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA)/Toro Assistant Superintendent of the Year Award. The CGSA was impressed by T-Jay's exceptional performance and contributions to the industry, in part for his ability to lead, mentor and encourage staff through multi-million dollar projects, while raising their expectations of themselves in the process.
Victoria Golf Club: member since 2006 
The Food Rescue Project 
The Food Rescue Project is celebrating its first anniversary! Launched
by the Mustard Seed, Food Share Network, and Victoria Foundation, this project addresses the ever-growing issue of hunger in Greater Victoria by "rescuing" high quality, perishable food from grocery stores and re-directing it to people experiencing food insecurity. Through its Food Distribution Warehouse, the Mustard Seed distributes rescued food to more than 42 local agencies, directly helping an estimated 40,000 people.
Mustard Seed: member since 1999
Victoria Foundation: member since 2004
Provincial taxes still need fixing

We're glad the Provincial Government hasn't closed the book on its 2018 Budget, but we're still waiting to hear that Finance Minister Carole James is open to fixing the proposed Employer Health Tax (EHT).

Last week, the Province said it would scale back its speculation tax so as not to unintentionally punish people with cottages or second homes in rural areas. There is still some work to do to ensure the intent of the tax actually addresses housing affordability.

However, what we really want is for Government to move quickly and address the growing outrage over the EHT. Business owners across B.C. have woken up to the fact this tax will cost a lot more than expected (  download our tax estimator here), and much more than businesses currently pay for MSP Premiums.

Every day, we're hearing more stories about how this will negatively affect businesses and their ability to grow. Check out Chamber CEO Catherine Holt's column below.
Top 10 things about employer tax that need fixing
Message from Chamber CEO Catherine Holt   
This article originally appeared in the Times Colonist March 25.

British Columbians, employers included, welcomed the news in the provincial budget that we would no longer be the only Canadians who pay a monthly premium for public health care. But news that revenue from premiums would be replaced with an employer health tax was a surprise that has left many BC employers with sticker shock.

So, what do employers want the province to do with the EHT? Get rid of it, of course. But, if it is implemented, here are 10 fixes that must be made:

1. Problem: EHT will cost most employers way more than MSP premiums.
Solution: Use other sources of revenue to help pay for health care, as government already does, and reduce the EHT so it is comparable to what employers pay now.

2. Problem: Employers will keep wages and benefits down to avoid higher EHT rates. This means hiring less, no wage increases, hiring contractors rather than employees and eliminating benefits such as extended health care.
Solution: Make the tax comparable to current premium costs, and exempt health benefits.

3. Problem: Employers will pay premiums and EHT in 2019.
Solution: Pretty straightforward - end premiums before implementing the EHT.

Check out " Top 10 things about employer tax that need fixing."
Wilson's and HarbourCats team up
The Victoria HarbourCats and the Wilson's Group of Companies are pleased to announce, effective immediately, a five-year baseball branding agreement that will see the HarbourCats
John Wilson (left) announcing the partnership.
home now called Wilson's Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park. The agreement will apply to all baseball related events including HarbourCats home games, the 2018 Baseball Canada Men's Championship, and other baseball tournaments and events at the park.

"Wilson's has been a part of the HarbourCats family since Day One, providing outstanding bus service and supporting this team in so many ways since 2012, prior to the first pitch in 2013," said Jim Swanson, Managing Partner of the HarbourCats. "I can tell you that without the support of the family-run Wilson's Group, the HarbourCats would be a much different operation - the important role Wilson's played in this team's history is greatly appreciated by us all, including John's involvement with the ownership group since 2015."

Wilson's Group of  Companies: member since 2004 
Victoria HarbourCats: member since 2004 
Join the Greater Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, WestShore, Sooke Region and Esquimalt Chambers to hear Premier John Horgan speak on his government's vision for the Province of British Columbia as well as regional priorities.
Tue, May 15 | 11:15 am-1 pm 
Crystal Gardens , 720 Douglas St.  

The new Johnson Street Bridge opens this weekend!
Before traffic changes over to the new Johnson Street Bridge, both bridges will be closed to all vehicle traffic from 7 am, Fri, March 30, until approximately 9 pm, Sat, March 31. Access for pedestrians and cyclists will be maintained on the existing Johnson Street Bridge. To see more details about the closures click here.

The City of Victoria is hosting a community celebration Hello New, Goodbye Blue on Sat, March 31, from 12-5 pm on the downtown side of the new bridge.

The public can expect periodic lane closures on the new bridge and traffic detours during the final phase of construction until the project is fully completed later this summer. Additional closures of the new bridge will be required when the Dynamic Beast crane barge removes the old Johnson Street Bridge.

Chamber members get special pricing for this Conference Board of Canada info session.
Save $50 on your ticket with promo code: PRM2 
Songhees Nation students prepping for culinary arts program
Songhees Nation is partnering with Camosun College on a new Aboriginal Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism Management program at the Songhees Wellness Centre. The $655,000 in funding, over two years, is provided as part of the Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships Program.

"We currently have two Red Seal apprentices in the Hospitality Training Program at Camosun College, and the interest to participate is high among our community members," Gary Sam, councillor, Songhees Nation and director, Songhees Seafood and Steam. "Programs delivered in our community help ensure that our students are supported and celebrated for their successes, and allow for these students to be role models here at home in their families, encouraging others to get involved."

The program will provide students with Professional Cook level 1 certification (an Industry Training Authority trades designation), two applied tourism and hospitality courses, numerous third-party certificates related to the industry and work placement upon completion. Learners will benefit from a full range of educational and wraparound services - including cultural elements and Elder supports to ensure student success.

Camosun College: member since 1981

Songhees Nation: member since 2017

Chamber Name Tags
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