Top row (L to R): Dan Dagg of The Chamber, Chris Edley of Esquimalt Chamber, David Bloom of the Sooke Region Chamber, Premier John Horgan, Catherine Holt of The Chamber, Gordon Benn of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber. Bottom row (L to R) Mayor Lisa Helps of the City of Victoria, Finance Minister Carole JamesEtienne Bruson of Deloitte Canada, Mike Reilly of WestShore Chamber and Vanessa Connelly of FortisBC. Photo by  Kevin Light Photography.
BC Premier John Horgan addressed a sold out crowd yesterday at The Chamber's Business Leaders Luncheon sponsored by Deloitte Canada, FortisBC and the City of Victoria. Read the highlights from the event here and see the photos here.  
Saanich council slams EHT as provincial offloading
The District of Saanich has joined the chorus of employers decrying the provincial government's Employer Health Tax, which kicked in Jan. 1 of this year.
The EHT will generate about $2 billion for the Province and was imposed to make up revenue lost by the eventual elimination of MSP premiums.
Saanich estimates the new tax on the municipality's payroll will add 1.5% per cent to property tax bills. Saanich's draft budget proposed an overall tax increase of 5.93%, though council will have an opportunity to trim that down before adopting a final budget.
The Chamber has been calling for the provincial government to give businesses a break. In 2019, the EHT will saddle employers with a new tax on their payroll as well as higher business property taxes. Many employers also will continue to pay MSP premiums, which won't be eliminated until Jan. 1, 2020.
District of Saanich: member since 2019
Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
Prodigy Group March Mingle
2019 Marketplace Mixer
Business Awards
Social Media Series
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events
Saanich receives positive results from citizen and business surveys
Saanich businesses were clear that they don't want higher taxes but are generally happy with how things are being run in the municipality. 

The District of Saanich released the results this week of a citizen and business survey that found 99% of respondents rated quality of life as good or very good.

The survey shows 59% of businesses are home-based, with 41% of businesses having only one employee. Businesses with more than 10 employees account for 18% of all respondents, while 38% have been operating for more than 10 years.

You can read the entire Business Report here and the Citizens Report here.
District of Saanich: member since 2019
How can Canada protect vital ocean industries and our marine environment?

Hear from Federal Minister Jonathan Wilkinson about Canada's future plans for critical fishing habitats, orca conservation and support for industry.
Sponsored by:
New date!
Friday, March 15 | 11:30 am-1 pm     
Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville St.

World Gin Awards  
Sheringham Distillery's Seaside Gin won "World's Best Contemporary Style Gin" at the World Gin Awards in London, UK.

Seaside Gin was recognized as the best contemporary gin in Canada. As the Canadian winner, it won against 22 other gins from around the world. The local winning gin has a unique blend of ingredients, including winged kelp, sustainably harvested from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 
"The Seaside Gin is our flagship," said Jason MacIsaac in a CTV News clip. "The kelp in the Seaside gin gives it...a sense of terroir, a sense of the region. The kelp also ties all the botanicals together and balances them out and gives it a sense of umami." 
At the 2018 Greater Victoria Business Awards, Sheringham Distillery was a finalist in the Innovation category. See their video here.
Sheringham Distillery: member since 2018
Highlights from Premier Horgan's speech to Chamber  horgan
BC Premier John Horgan addressed a sold out crowd yesterday at The Chamber's Business Leaders Luncheon at the Victoria Conference Centre.
Horgan reiterated many of the themes from the Feb. 19 Budget Speech, focusing on his government's efforts to make life more affordable for individuals. Horgan said social policies have tangible economic benefits if they create much-needed workforce housing or allow parents to go back to work.
The Premier singled out a stalled project in the City of Victoria as an example of the difficulty employers are having finding skilled labour due to the housing shortage. 
Speaking to media after the Premier's speech, Chamber CEO Catherine Holt said our 1,400 members continue to tell her that a lack of workers remains the biggest issue facing our region's economy.

E&N Corridor
Horgan also touched on the E&N corridor. Last year, Horgan told The Chamber that he wants to see the corridor opened as soon as possible to commuter traffic between Victoria and the West Shore.
There have been complications since then, Horgan said. The Vancouver Island Corridor Foundation, which owns the E&N corridor, has "not advanced the notion of commuter rail" for the past 14 years. As well, Horgan said the Esquimalt First Nation has not shown any interest in having rail service run through its unceded territory.
The issue came to a head recently when, in an unprecedented move, all 13 mayors in Greater Victoria agreed to sign a letter calling for the Province to take quick action to use the corridor for commuter rail.
In response, the province issued a call to assess the state of the 290-kilometre corridor.

Saanich Stall?
On Tuesday, Premier Horgan also joked about changing the name of the traffic jam that bedevils drivers going from their homes on the West Shore to jobs in Victoria. Horgan said the Colwood Crawl would be more appropriately named the "Saanich Stall," to reflect where congestion begins.
CTV Vancouver Island picked up on the Premier's comment and chose to take a poll of their followers. After 500 votes, it looks like Westshore WTF won CTV's re-name the Colwood Crawl contest. Does The Chamber membership agree? Vote now on The Chamber's Facebook page.

March Business Leaders Series
This series features informative breakfast or luncheon presentations by business, government and institutional speakers on various topics.   
BC Ferries has a lot on the go for 2019. For more information on the future of Swartz Bay and on BC Ferries' plans to evolve our coastal ferry system, come to this lunch!  
Sponsored by:
Wed, Mar 6 |11:30 am-1 pm 
Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville St.

Sold out! Contact us to be put on the waitlist.

South Island Prosperity Index Update
The South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) Prosperity Index was developed in 2017 to measure indicators like employment, education, governance, affordability, and innovation. Come and hear what those indicators tell us about 2018.

Tue, Mar 12 | 11:30 am-1 pm  
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
728 Humboldt St.
Members Around Town
Celebrating to the Max 
Maximum Express Courier, Freight & Logistics and Max Furniture are celebrating with a combined 25 year anniversary party on Mar. 28. Maximum Express launched 15 years ago and provides service locally, nationally and internationally. Max Furniture launched 10 years ago and specializes in quality Canadian-made solid wood pieces, upholstered furniture, and office furniture.
Maximum Express Courier, Freight & Logistics: member since 2004
Max Furniture: member since 2008 
Pacific FC announces schedule and adds to management team 
The 2019 Canadian Premier League regular season schedule has been released and Pacific Football Club 's season kicks off April 28 versus HFX Wanderers FC. The season will consist of 28 regular season games; 14 home, 14 away, and will be separated into two distinct halves; Spring season and Fall season. Pacific FC has added Mira Laurence as the Director of Communications and Community Partnerships t o help promote the club. 
Pacific Football Club: member since 2019
Be aware of credit card fraud  
The Victoria Police Department is warning businesses after a recent string of credit card fraud incidents, which they believe cost multiple businesses over $50,000 in combined losses. Transactions were conducted by a suspect or suspects manually entering stolen or fraudulent credit card numbers into the businesses' point-of-sale (POS) terminals.  Anyone who witnesses someone trying to make a purchase by manually entering a credit card number, instead of using the tap function or entering a PIN, is urged to cancel the transaction and contact police.
  Victoria Police Department: member since 2008
Celebrate Success
Congratulations to all the finalists for the 2019 Greater Victoria Business Awards!
See the complete list here.  
From start-ups to local legends, the awards shine a light on hard-working businesses, business people and community leaders in 14 categories worth celebrating. Finalists were chosen by an independent panel of prominent business leaders who served as judges.
Thu, May 16 | 6-10 pm
The Fairmont Empress , 721 Government St.
Tickets go on sale tomorrow Feb. 28 at 8:30 am. Limited supply.
 Sponsored by: 

Spring Break in Greater Victoria
Sunshine is in the air and with Spring Break just around the corner, now is a perfect time to plan to enjoy all that Greater Victoria has to offer!  
Here are just a few of the many fun things to do this Spring Break:
Join us in experiencing arts and entertainment , great food and bevvies , a little shopping , that lingering home project , or even planning a last minute getaway . Check out our community calendar for even more events that are happening around town!
Spring Break in Victoria for Greater Victoria School District 61 is March 15-29.

Welcome to Our Newest Member!
Chamber Name Tags
In response to members' requests, The Chamber has redesigned the name tags Chamber members can purchase. We increased the prominence of your business name while keeping your name clearly visible.

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