It was a wonderful party as 60,000 of our closest friends and family gathered in the inner harbour to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.

Congrats to Coast Capital Savings on the spectacular living flag (above) and to Atomique Productions for 11 days of non-stop Canadiana events in the Inner Harbour. The living flag was the largest in Canada with over 5,000 people showing their pride.

The Chamber is proud to have worked with a wide variety of stakeholders and leaders in the region on the Spirit Committee as we planned together to ensure a memorable sesquicentennial.

Best Places to Live in Canada
We already know that Canada is one of the best places to live in the world, but where in this glorious country is the best of the best?

MoneySense magazine ranked cities big and small on a scale that included taxes, income and wealth, transit, employment, weather, art scene, crime and many other stats. It all boiled down to 5 of our 13 municipalities - Oak Bay, North Saanich, Saanich, Central Saanich & Colwood - making it to the top 25 best cities to live in.

Don't agree with their selections? You can use this interactive tool to remix what's most important to you. Of course, the real question is could we oust Ottawa from the top spot if the region was seen as a single entity?
Chamber News
Summer Social Series
Auction Donations
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
Event Photos
Local Boy Makes Good     

There's a new premier in town. John Horgan, Premier-Designate will be the first Victoria-born and raised Premier in 84 years.

It's good news for business to have a Premier and
Cabinet Ministers that know our local issues so well. We're looking forward to seeing the action we have advocated for on the affordability and availability of housing and childcare, a systemic response to mental health and addictions, regional transportation planning and infrastructure and recruiting and retaining workers. We have an opportunity to move the dial.

It's anticipated that Horgan will be sworn in officially prior to the summer Premier's meeting in Edmonton on July 17 and that cabinet ministers will be appointed shortly thereafter.  

See CHEK interview here and Times Colonist article here.
Ready to book your fall advertising? Let's get you started by saving money.

Natasha Crawford
In celebrating Canada's 150th birthday over the summer The Chamber is featuring members that have been in business for over 100 years. Find out their key to longevity and more about their leaders here!

How and when was your business founded? Our roots stretch back to the late 1800s, when Mary Ann Brown, a migrant from England with her own fruitful story, established Fairview Esquimalt Greenhouses. Her nurseries expanded into flower shops and, when sold to William H. Brown of Brown Bros., eventually became Brown's The Florist. Any famous company stories? While we cannot quite claim this as our own story, our predecessor, Mary Ann Brown of Fairview Esquimalt Greenhouses outlived 5 husbands and developed quite the reputation as both business owner and woman. We are very proud of the strong history of female leadership within our company. Best customer story from over the years? You could ask each one of us that question and we would all have our own answer. From hand-writing the touching love letters sent through our online ordering system (some quite literally eliciting tears), nick-of-time florals for last-minute emergency calls, the buzz of serving high-profile clients, or the artistic challenge in creating full design sets... we meet with a new favourite story every time we turn on our Open sign! How do you relax? By taking a stroll through Butchart Gardens - I make a point of enjoying this world class destination that is right in our backyard.  
More about Natasha - and additional Member Snapshots - can be found inside the July Business Matters or on The Chamber's website here.  

Brown's The Florist: member since 1981
Hear Peter Legge, one of Canada's most inspiring entrepreneurs and public speakers on why good is the enemy of great - and how to move you and your company to the next level of success.

Peter Legge is Chairman and CEO of Canada Wide Media Limited, the largest independently owned magazine publishing company in Western Canada controlling a network of over 25 magazines across the country in addition to providing a diverse range of media services and products with over $15 million in sales annually.

Proudly Sponsored by: 
Wed, Sept 27 | 11:30 am-1 pm 
Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA 
146 Kingston St.
Win for Business - Foreign Talent

Canada's long-awaited fast-track visa officially launched June 12. The fast-track visa - officially called the Global Talent Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program - promises a process time of 10 days to two weeks for high-skills talent. 
The Global Talent Stream is open to foreign workers with executive and managerial experience, and the two-week processing standard also applies to immediate family members accompanying the workers to Canada.

"The Chamber has been advocating strongly for efficient immigration processes and relevant immigration targets as well as domestic mobility programs to allow employers to effectively compete for talent," said Greater Victoria Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "Although there is more work to be done, we do consider this a ' win for business'."

"We are happy to see any improvement in regards to the immigration process," said  Chemistry Consulting Partner Christine Willow. "Although employers may see some lag at the Embassy-level, depending on the source country of the applicants, this commitment to a reduced processing time for in-demand applicants is good news."

Chemistry Consulting: member since 2006
Building out a Sustainable Fleet
The three natural gas powered ferries added this spring to BC Ferries' fleet have proven to be cleaner and less costly to operate.

Higher traffic and a strong fiscal year in 2017 ($77.4M in earnings reported) has provided a stable platform from which to launch the plan to add a new ship a year for the next 12 years. 

"This strong financial performance will be essential in helping us renew the fleet, pay down debt, as well as reduce our future borrowing and associated costs. As a more sustainable ferry service provider, we will be better able to deliver fare stability, and continue to provide safe and reliable service to our customers," said Mark Collins, BC Ferries' President and CEO.

The long-range vision is to standardize the fleet for efficiency, as well as having ships that run largely on liquefied natural gas and low-sulphur diesel fuel.  This will reduce environmental impact and costs as well as increase safety.

New ships will be procured internationally but BC Ferries has a 5 year agreement with Ralmax's Point Hope Maritime in Victoria for maintenance work. 

BC Ferries: member since 1983
Ralmax Group of Companies: member since 2011 
Predictable, affordable healthcare for you and your team
Keep your most important asset - your people - healthy and well taken care of with the Chambers Plan - the most reliably affordable employee benefits plan in Canada for small business. Click here for more information.
Fighting SPAM?
When Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) was introduced, the legislation had a phased approach to managing email spam. Most businesses cleaned up their email practices before CASL went into effect in July 2014.

During phase one businesses were given three years to get express consent to email individuals or businesses with which they do not have an existing business relationship (i.e., all those emails you're receiving asking you to opt-in to continue to get email). As of July 1, 2017 when the full legislation took effect, businesses faced both fines from the government for unsolicited emails as well as the right for individuals to sue if they received unsolicited emails. Although the need to obtain express consent continues, the right to sue has been taken off the table for now.

"We're pleased to see the government's decision to suspend the provision in the Act that would have allowed individuals to take lega l action against any company that sent them an email they didn't want to receive, even if there were no damages," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "There's more change required to make this legislation work better for business, particularly as CASL considers sales prospecting spam and therefore a violation of the Act."  

The Chamber is working with the BC Chamber to have the government remove the expiration on implied consent (i.e., if you're buying from or working with a business, it's implied that you have agreed to receive email from them) and instead allow each person to choose when they would like to stop receiving emails by unsubscribing. For more information on CASL, click here.

Moving on Up to Victoria
Victoria earns the No. 10 spot among the leading U-Haul Canadian Destination Cities for 2016, according to the latest U-Haul migration trends report.

Victoria continues to see a substantial number of arriving U-Haul trucks despite a 6.6% drop from 2015. U-Haul Destination Cities are ranked according to the total number of arriving one-way U-Haul trucks to a city in the past calendar year.

"Victoria is going through a major revitalization. People are finding it to be a very attractive place to move," stated Michelle Benson, U-Haul Company of Vancouver & Vancouver Island president. "Victoria is right on the water and everything there seems to be on island time. It's a relaxing community with beautiful hiking trails and plenty of outdoor activities."

"It is no surprise that Victoria has consistently placed in the top 10 for U-Haul Destination Cities for Canada. Given our beautiful outdoors, rich recreation options, and temperate climate - plus our world-class education institutions, booming economy and near-zero unemployment - we are the place to live, work and play."  Catherine Holt, CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
U-Haul Company of Canada: member since 2016 
Round-table on Single-Use Bag Ban/Levy    
City of Victoria retailers are invited to join The Chamber and the Retail Council of BC at a joint round-table for local retailers to discuss and make recommendations to the city prior to the vote on the ban.
Wed, July 12 | 8-9:30am
The Bay Centre
Welcome to Our Newest Member! 

Chamber Name Tags
Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber Name tags? Email Reception to order yours today.

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