Tomorrow, June 13 from 5-7 pm join Prodigy Group for the June Mingle at Whole Foods. Along with tasting beer and cider from around Vancouver Island, t his mingle will feature a facilitated speed networking format. Register now
Business Matters is online! 
The  Spring/Summer Business Matters is in the mail and headed y ou r way. 

Our latest edition  features: 
  • Federal Election -
    Local issues to think about before you head to the polls on October 21.
  • 2019 Greater Victoria Business Awards - Celebrate excellence in our business community as we look at the winners and finalists.
  • Met @ The Chamber - Here at The Chamber we know that business grows and runs better when smoothed by the influence of connections. We've included a few recent stories of business people who Met @The Chamber.
These stories and more in the print and online edition!

Thinking about advertising for 2020?
Contact us today! 
Chamber News
Summer Social Series
Prodigy Group June Mingle
June Business Mixer
37th Annual Dinner Auction Gala
Event Photos
Upcoming Chamber Events

Free bus passes for Victoria youth 
A plan to plant the seeds for a long-term shift to make buses a viable transportation option was approved yesterday by the Greater Victoria Transit Commission.
The City of Victoria will pay the commission $850,000 to subsidize bus passes for youth under the age of 18 who live within the municipality's borders. The city hopes to cover the costs through new revenue generated by charging drivers to pay for parking downtown on Sundays, which took effect last month.
"Anytime we can get more kids riding the bus and making bus riding a part of their life and a habit, that's good for all of us," Susan Brice, transit commission chair, told CHEK news.
The free passes (which will still cost $45 per month for youth outside the City of Victoria) are expected to be available by September.
Savour the summer as you enjoy a carefully curated four-course dinner prepared by House of Boateng, and paired with Sheringham Distillery spirits, in the idyllic lavender fields at Bilston Creek Farm. See the menu here.
Sponsored by:
Take it up a notch and join us for a limo ride the re courtesy of L.A. Limousines.
Wed, July 3 | 6-9 pm        
Bilston Creek Farm  
4185 Metchosin Rd.  
The Summer Social Series transports you to a new location where you will enjoy a memorable evening of connecting over great food and local wine, beer and cocktails. Purchase tickets to the series here 
Businesses lead plastics revolution
With the federal government announcing a plan to ban single-use plastics by 2021, the rest of Canada is catching up to Greater Victoria.  
The Chamber worked extensively with the City of Victoria when it became the first municipality in our region to ban single-use plastic bags last year. The regulation has been well-received because city staff took time to listen to what businesses were already doing to meet customer demand.
"The federal government is in a position to do this because business has led that change, and they are leading it in response to public expectation," Chamber CEO Catherine Holt told CTV Vancouver Island (9:12).
In Greater Victoria, Saanich was the second municipality to ban single-use plastic bags, effective Jan. 1, 2020. The Chamber supported Saanich's decision to adopt Victoria's regulation, ensuring businesses and consumers did not have different rules on either side of the border. Esquimalt has also announced a ban, and will model its regulation to fit seamlessly with Saanich and Victoria.

Members Around Town

CN Turns 100
On June 6, 1919 the Canadian National Railway (CN) company was created. To commemorate turning 100, CN has planned a "A Moving Celebration," to honour its rich railroading history and future. Its CN100 themed containers will stop in cities across North America inviting the general public to discover the company's history through activities and workshops while enjoying live performances and local food.
Canadian National Railway: member since 2018      
Russell Books on the move 
Family-owned Russell Books on Fort Street is moving across the street, where it will be able to display thousands more volumes in a larger, more efficient and easily accessible space. The 18,000 sq. ft., two-storey space will offer Russell Books a much better opportunity to display more of its inventory, as well as improve accessibility for people who were not able to go up the store's steep stairs to its basement and third-floor levels.  
Russell Books: member since 1999  
Saanich bike park 
The District of Saanich has agreed to lease a one-acre portion of land from BC Hydro for the development of a youth bike-skills park that may also include elements such as a pump park, parkour, skate, ropes course, zip line and bouldering. Saanich will lease the site, at the north end of the George Tripp Substation between Borden Street and Lochside Drive for $1, to be renewed every five years. Saanich staff will begin work on a detailed design this fall with input from residents and facility users.
District of Saanich: member since 2019  
Modernizing the museum
The provincial government wants new ideas for a modernized Royal BC Museum and it's looking for input from citizens from around the province. It's hosting community meetings in Victoria on June 13 and 15 or you can share your input online. The museum, which opened in 1967, holds more than seven million objects, archives and specimens of BC's natural and human history, in addition to the provincial government archives. More than 880,000 people visit the museum each year. 
Royal BC Museum: member since 1994   
Yeehaw! Join us for a fun evening of gourmet food, cold drinks, great music and good times. 
Enjoy gourmet appetizers such as BBQ sliders, mac n' cheese and pie chef stations catered by Food For Thought Catering. Quench your thirst with local BC wine, craft beer and non-alcoholic cocktails. And kick up your boots with line dancing.
Sponsored by: 
Thu, Sept 5 | 6:30-8:30 pm      
The Roundhouse at Bayview
80 Saghalie Rd.   
The Summer Social Series transports you to a new location where you will enjoy a memorable evening of connecting over great food and local wine, beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic choices. Purchase tickets to the series here 
Unemployment rate rises as workforce size grows

Statistics Canada's latest report on labour force characteristics provided some mixed messages for the national economy and Greater Victoria.
There were more jobs available in the region, but there were also more people looking for work in May compared to April. 
Our region's workforce had 199,400 eligible workers in May 2019, up from 197,100 in April but down from 207,500 in May 2018.  
Greater Victoria still has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 3.6 per cent in May 2019. However, our region no longer has the lowest rate, with Greater Victoria third behind Quebec City (2.8%) and Sherbrooke, Que. (3.4%).
Looking closer at the national numbers, there were 61,500 more self-employed workers in May, but 33,800 fewer employees.
Royce Mendes, CIBC senior economist, told the Canadian Press, said this means there was actually a decrease to Canada's GDP despite the headline grabbing number of new jobs. 

Tourism numbers dip after record year in 2018
Greater Victoria's tourism industry remains exceptionally healthy, though some concerns are being raised about softer than expected hotel bookings this summer.
Reid James, General Manager of the Hotel Grand Pacific, told the Times Colonist that the dip is odd given strong indicators for tourism in Canada and the US.  
"(Greater Victoria) can't win every time," he said, noting that travellers could be opting for other destinations in the region. "We compete with other parts of BC and the West Coast and the world. It's hard to say what's causing it."
Average occupancy dipped to 75.73% in April 2019, compared to 76.91% in April 2018. However, revenue per available room increased by an average of $11.06 for the same periods.
There were also 3.87% fewer passengers arriving at Victoria International Airport in April 2019 compared to the same month last year.
"Although we are seeing a little softening of occupancy numbers in the larger, upper tier accommodation properties compared to last year, performance is still very strong and we expect the tourism season results to be close to the 2017 and 2018 seasons," said Frank Bourree in Chemistry Consulting's latest tourism bulletin.

Interested in running for the Board of Directors of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce? Find out everything you need to know at this information session facilitated by our Board Executive.
The Chamber works together to build good business and great community. It is our vision to be the most diverse and influential business association in the region.
Tues, Jul 9 | Noon-1:00 pm      
The Chamber
100-852 Fort Street
Click here for key dates, the nomination process and the voting procedure. Additional questions can be directed here.
Long-term stability for fresh food
The Mustard Seed has purchased the building at 808 Viewfield Rd. for its Food Security Distribution Centre with $2 million in provincial funding provided through the Victoria Foundation. The Mustard Seed had been leasing the space since 2017, and the purchase will provide long-term stability for the Food Rescue Project.
The Food Rescue Project recovers more than 1,815 kilograms of fresh food from grocery stores each day. Chamber member grocery stores participating in the program include:  
The food is then redistributed to the Food Share Network partner programs across the region. 
The Mustard Seed: member since 1999
Victoria Foundation: member since 2004
Father's Day
Make sure Dad feels special this Father's Day!

Need a gift?  You can't go wrong with tried and true Dad-pleasers like golf , something tasty for the grill or chocolates!
Here are a few great events happening around town this weekend to take Dad to:

Welcome to our newest members!

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.