Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
May 19, 2021
Tourism relief overdue, but industry needs a plan
Yesterday's announcement of a $50 million fund for BC's tourism sector is welcome news, but might be too little too late.

"On the one hand, The Chamber has been working with our community partners to get government relief for the hard-hit tourism sector," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "However, what's still missing is a plan. As we've been saying for some time, businesses need time operationally to ramp up. We still have no direction from the province about how and when restrictions will be lifted."

The $50 million fund will offer up to $1 million in grants to major attractions. Applications open June 7, with funds delivered by July. The province says eligible expenses include payroll, rent and utilities related to restarting or ramping up operations in preparation for gradual reopening in alignment with provincial health orders. The funding is available for not-for-profit organizations and businesses.

“For large attractions entering a second year of a 90% reduction in revenue, we appreciate this funding gesture as it will help contribute toward some fixed costs like insurance or property tax,” Butchart Gardens CEO Dave Cowen said in the province's news release.

The funds are also available for tour bus companies, who, along with accommodation providers, are desperately waiting for information they can pass on to agencies and tour operators who are already booking trips into next year.

“We are in the midst of the largest (tour operator) trade show in Canada right now, Rendez-vous Canada, and we’re talking with people from all over the world (who want to book in 2022) and we have nothing to tell them,” Wilson's Group of Companies CEO John Wilson told the Times Colonist.
Wilson's Group of Companies: Member since 2004
The Butchart Gardens: Member since 1976
Loss of cruise seasons a huge hit to local economy
With another year lost for the cruise industry, Greater Victoria will lose about $260 million in economic benefits derived from those visits. The blow has disrupted businesses across the region — even as there are new reasons to be concerned about government inaction.

The federal government's decision to close international borders prompted the state of Alaska to push for changes to US legislation that has been critical to the growth of the cruise industry in BC. Under a 19th-century law, ships travelling between US ports — such as in Washington State and Alaska — were required to stop in another country along the way, unless the vessels were built in the US. In a move that caught the provincial government off-guard, the law was temporarily changed to allow ships to bypass Canada while our borders are closed.

The Chamber is working to support local businesses and organizations, including the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, to make sure our provincial and federal governments understand that this change cannot be allowed to become permanent.

To hear from locals affected by the loss of cruise ships, check out this video produced for the GVHA by Roll.Focus.Productions, with comments from Seaspan and The Bay Centre.
Roll.Focus.Productions: Member since 2019
The Bay Centre: Member since 1990
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: Member since 2003
Seaspan Victoria Shipyards: Member since 2002
Seaspan Victoria Shipyards: Chamber Champions since 2021
80,000 viewers watched this year's Business Awards
The Chamber was excited to celebrate another fantastic Business Awards broadcast with more than 80,000 viewers joining us and tuning in live to watch the event on CHEK TV, Facebook and YouTube.

This year’s winners not only battled the normal barriers to success that face most businesses, they also faced down a global pandemic and found ways to succeed despite it.
Missed the live broadcast? Watch the Awards on The Chamber website here.

Nominations for the 2022 awards will open September 22, 2021.
Virtual meetings ingrained in law for organizations
One of the innovations that has changed the way we do business is the mass adoption of virtual meetings. Before the pandemic, few people were using Zoom or similar software to its potential. That's obviously changed. And while it can't replace being together in the same room, meeting online is a viable alternative.

Last week, the provincial government made that option permanent for BC organizations that are legally required to meet. Amendments to the Business Corporations Act, Cooperative Association Act, Credit Union Incorporation Act, Financial Institutions Act and Societies Act will permanently remove legislative barriers and allow companies, societies, credit unions and co-operative associations to meet electronically.
New homes help region's workforce housing crunch
Construction has finished on a 135-unit condominium that serves as a great example of how the private sector can create housing for middle-income workers.

The 20-storey project, Vivid at the Yates, was built by Chard Development Ltd. and was able to sell homes at about 12% below market value thanks to a low-interest loan from BC Housing.

Chard now turns its attention to a similar project, Haven at 1100 Johnson St. The building will have 104 homes aimed at helping people enter the housing market. The project utilizes BC's Affordable Homeownership Program. Buyers need to be Canadian citizens or permanent residents who don't own property elsewhere and have lived in the province for at least one year.
Chard Development Ltd.: Member since 2008
BC Housing: Member since 2021
Upcoming events
Special Event!
Co-op Students - Business Connector
The Chamber wants to help you find your next team member. Join us at a special networking event where you can meet co-op students from Camosun College and the University of Victoria who are looking to gain work experience.

By hiring a co-op student, your business can access grant programs that will assist in paying their wages. Meet a wide range of students with diverse skill sets at The Chamber's Co-Op Connector event on May 26.

Employers of all sizes of businesses can participate. With multiple funding programs available, this is a great opportunity for your business to tap into new talent.
Wed., May 26 |5 - 6 PM
Special thanks to the Camosun College and University of Victoria Co-op programs for sponsoring this event:
Opportunity on the Path to Reconciliation
Hear how British Columbia is working to promote Indigenous-led economic development opportunities by strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities and leveraging Indigenous knowledge and perspectives.

British Columbia is the first province in Canada to recognize Indigenous peoples’ human rights in law and to put the UN Declaration into action as we work towards the creation of true and lasting reconciliation.
Sponsored by:
Victoria seeks input on Welcoming City Strategy
The Chamber supports programs that make Greater Victoria a more inclusive and welcoming community. There is work to do. A recent article in Douglas Magazine notes that our city can feel unsafe and isolating for 70% of people who identify as Indigenous, Black, Asian or as a person of colour. An even higher percentage reported experiencing regular racism.

To change that, the City of Victoria is creating a Welcoming City Strategy that will recommend actions and ways to measure success, as well as an accountability framework.

“Council is committed to helping create a city where everyone feels welcomed, accepted, safe and has the opportunity to prosper,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps told Douglas Magazine. “The Welcoming City Strategy is intended to remove barriers to City services and foster a compassionate and neighbourly community where all residents experience a sense of belonging and where we tackle racism and discrimination head on.”

Racism in Greater Victoria: A Community Report, was created by the Greater Victoria Local Immigration Partnership and the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria.

For more information and to provide input on the City of Victoria strategy, go to
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Douglas Magazine: Member since 2004
Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria: Member since 1996
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Dining with Pivot Pilots
No sector has been impacted more by the COVID pandemic than the restaurant and hospitality sector. Ups and downs, open then closed. This week we gather perspectives on that from the BC Restaurant and Food Association plus two restauranteurs, one established and one quite new.

Featuring Ian Tostenson of the BCRFA, Castro Boateng of House of Boateng, and Shellie Gudgeon of II Terrazzo Ristorante.
BC Restaurant & Food Services Association (BCRFA): Member since 1996
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
House of Boateng Food Inc.: Member since 2016
Angel Foods - Il Terrazzo: Member since 1998
Work for a Chamber Champion
When you’re searching for your next employer, look no further than a Chamber Champion

Featured on The Chamber’s job board, Chamber Champions are offering great career opportunities for talented individuals across Greater Victoria. From an Estimator position at Kinetic Construction to a Creative Team Producer role at CHEK News, Chamber Champions are ready to offer you your next best career move.

Visit The Chamber’s job board and find new opportunities today.

If you have any questions or need help uploading your job, please email
Getting ready for Summer Savings
As a member of The Chamber, you and your organization are eligible for discounts and savings. Take advantage of these corporate discounts as part of The Chamber Benefits Program.

From now until June 6, take advantage of Lenovo’s Chamber Victoria Day Sale with savings up to 62% off.

Get ready to ship your summertime packages with ease wherever business takes you. Get 50% off domestic and international shipping with The Chamber's UPS program. Shipments can be easily tracked through UPS My Choice® for Business.
Our Chamber Benefits Program has many valuable offers to utilize, from fuel discounts to certificates of origin. Chamber members can also find and post on the Member to Member Offers page, a constantly updated resource to showcase great products and services to fellow Chamber members. 

For more information on how to take advantage of these savings, or to post a Member to Member offer, contact
Member News
A very cool upgrade

Kinetic Construction has won the bid to upgrade Pearkes Recreation Centre’s ice slab and facilities. The Saanich recreation centre will feature new dasher boards, ice lines, concrete and two new ice-melt pits to accommodate two Zambonis.

Kinetic Construction will also be replacing the elevator and change rooms. The project is set to be completed October 2021.

Kinetic Construction: member since 2018
Corporation of the District of Saanich: Member since 2019
FARM looking to grow more charitable contributions

The Original FARM is celebrating their sixth anniversary this year, and are looking for more ways to give back to local communities. They recently achieved their goal of raising more than $150,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation, and are starting a new chapter of philanthropy by donating to the BC SPCA. FARM is also seeking recommendations for local organizations to support in the future. 

The Original FARM Ltd: Member since 2018
BC Cancer Foundation – Vancouver Island: Member since 1997
BC SPCA Victoria: Member since 2017
Mercy Ships passes deep sea trials

Mercy Ships’ newest vessel, the Global Mercy, has passed deep water sea trials and will soon be the newest addition to their fleet of hospital ships. Global Mercy is the largest civilian hospital ship on earth, and is preparing to provide medical support and resources to sub-Saharan Africa in 2022

Mercy Ships: Member since 2012
Ralmax company celebrates century of success

United Engineering, one of the eight firms that comprise the Ralmax Group of Companies, is turning 100 this year. Founded in 1921, the company specializes in steel fabrication and has since become the largest machine shop on Vancouver Island. United Engineering was purchased by Ralmax in 2002.
Ralmax Group of Companies: Member since 2011
SIPP celebrates five years

For five years, South Island Prosperity Partnership has aimed to speed up economic development in Greater Victoria. With 75 organizations across the region, SIPP is now seeking four new board members to help grow our economy. Applicants can apply for three-year terms.

South Island Prosperity Partnership: Member since 2017
Matching Challenge to end homelessness

In lieu of their Homecoming Gala and Fundraiser, Victoria Cool Aid Society is hosting a $50,000 Matching Challenge to support their goal of ending homelessness in Greater Victoria. Presented by Knappett Projects Inc., every donation up to a $50,000 total from now until May 31 will be matched. 
Knappett Projects Inc.: Member since 1987
Knappett Projects Inc.: Chamber Champion since 2020
Victoria Cool Aid Society: Member since 2006
Capital Daily reaches 50,000

Capital Daily is celebrating a milestone of reaching 50,000 subscribers! Capital Daily has grown by 300% over the last year, providing employment to 10 full-time reporters and editors. In conjunction with this milestone, Capital Daily has also unveiled their new logo.

Capital Daily: Member since 2020
Victoria Airport soaring with ecological praise

The Victoria Airport Authority has released their 2020-2024 sustainability plan, and Synergy Sustainability commends the airport for their commitment to green initiatives despite a global pandemic. By using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework, numerous goals have been established to meet sustainability targets such as increasing biodiversity by 20%, increasing waste diversion to 90%, and more
Victoria Airport Authority: member since 1981
Synergy Sustainability: Member since 2017
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