EVENTS HAPPENING IN VICTORIA

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2018 Advocacy Priority Areas

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce — The Chamber — supports and informs our region’s business community to shape dialogue and identify issues of concern to member businesses. The Chamber also engages elected officials at all levels of government to ensure business interests are heard.

As the voice of business for our members and the Greater Victoria business community, The Chamber is at its most effective when backed by an active and informed membership.

For 2018, The Chamber’s advocacy goal is Building Good Business — something The Chamber has done for 155 years. Our advocacy priorities will focus on: 

  1. Attracting and Retaining Workers
    • Adequate Labour Supply
    • Affordable and Available Housing
    • Improving Regional Transportation
    • Affordable and Available Child Care
  2. Effective Local Governance and Services
  3. Improving the Regional Economy
  4. Fair Regulations
  5. Finding Climate Change Solutions
  6. Safe Communities

Focusing on these priorities will support our work as the voice of business to help shape an environment conducive for growth and success.

Part of any effective advocacy movement must include dialogue and discussion. Please voice your thoughts and concerns by contacting The Chamber at 250-360-3471 or communications@victoriachamber.ca

The Chamber Network

Through our partnership with the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Victoria Chamber adds our voice to more than 200,000 businesses across Canada to maximize our influence and impact.

Attracting and Retaining Workers

Adequate Labour Supply

Problem: Members are having challenges in hiring and retaining qualified workers, which is a risk to business stability and continuity.

The Chamber’s position: Efficient immigration processes and relevant immigration targets as well as domestic mobility programs allow employers to effectively compete for talent.

Approach: The Chamber will advocate for government assistance in hiring workers, both foreign and domestic. Further, The Chamber will continue to work collaboratively with local governments and like-minded stakeholders to enhance Greater Victoria’s reputation as a world-class place to live, learn and work.

Examples of Related Issues:

  • Aging population in the region
  • Immigration policy and quotas from the Federal Government
  • Hiring non-traditional workers
  • Minimum wage

Active Policy Resolutions:

  • Filling the gap through economic immigration
  • Supporting the labour needs of today and tomorrow – Provincial Nominee Program

Affordable and Available Housing

Problem: Members are increasingly concerned about the scarcity of affordable housing available to our workforce, particularly to those earning low to moderate incomes, and how this effects our labour supply and our standard of living.

Approach: The Chamber will advocate for the local, regional, provincial and federal governments to invest in methods to reduce housing prices as well as stimulate increases to housing and rental inventories. In addition, The Chamber will advocate to increase the supply of housing accessible to employees on low to moderate incomes.

Easy access to housing — both rental and ownership — supports the labour needs of today and tomorrow.

Examples of Related Issues

  • Short-term vacation rentals
  • Student housing
  • Funding and municipal approvals for housing projects
  • Garden suites and secondary suites

Active Policy Resolutions:

  • Increasing rental inventory through fair tax treatment
  • Housing for B.C.’s labour force of today and tomorrow
  • Regulate and manage the emerging short-term rental business enterprise

Improving Regional Transportation

Problem: Members are concerned that increasing vehicle travel times, inadequate transit and parking, — as well as the lack of a regional approach to transportation planning and delivery — is making mobility expensive and time consuming for workers and businesses.

The Chamber’s position: An effective multi-modal regional transportation system attracts and retains workers as well as supporting overall business success.

Approach: The Chamber will advocate for regional approaches to transportation, such as a transportation authority with multi-modal planning, funding, and operating responsibility.            

Examples of Related Issues:

  • Downtown parking
  • Bike lane design and location
  • Colwood Crawl
  • E&N Corridor
  • McKenzie interchange
  • BC Transit services
  • BC Ferries service and fares
  • Johnson Street Bridge

Active Policy Resolutions:

  • Public Investment in BC Ferries’ Infrastructure
  • Improving Urban Transportation in BC: Transportation Authorities

Affordable and Available Child Care

Problem: Members are finding the lack of affordable and available quality child care is a major obstacle — along with housing and transportation costs — in attracting and retaining workers. After housing, child care is usually the biggest expense for a working family. Canada and B.C. lag behind other developed economies in providing help with child care spaces, trained staff and parent subsidies so that parents can work.

The Chamber’s position: Access to quality, affordable child care allows parents to be full participants in our work force.

Approach: The Chamber will continue advocating for adequate federal and provincial funding for quality, affordable and available child care so that parents can participate in the workforce knowing their children are well cared for.

Examples of Related Issues:

  • $10 a day child care promise
  • Federal child benefit vs. child care funding
  • Use of school property for child care

Active Policy Resolutions:

  • Addressing Child Care Access for Employees

Effective Local Governance and Services

Problem: Members are frustrated with the cost — in terms of dollars, time and effort — to operate in more than one municipality. They are concerned that Greater Victoria’s reputation and poor ability to function as a region negatively effects our ability to compete with other jurisdictions. They are concerned about the expense of duplicative, overlapping and sub-optimal regional services and the lack of transparency and accountability by local government on taxation and spending.

The Chamber’s position: Effective local governance and services supports business success.

Approach: Municipal elections will be held in 2018. The Chamber will create opportunities to advocate for better governance through fewer governments. It will advocate for the Province to develop realistic options for improved regional governance as well as for local governments to commit to regional approaches. It will advocate for transparency and accountability regarding local government spending and it will advocate that local governments work to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of municipal service delivery so as to reduce the burden on businesses.

Examples of Related Issues:

  • Completing sewage treatment
  • Completing Johnson Street bridge
  • Multi-modal dedicated lanes that move buses and bikes efficiently through multiple municipalities
  • Decisions made by a single municipality that negatively impact the entire region
  • Lack of agreement on a transportation planning service or a regional growth strategy
  • Lack of transparency and accountability for salary levels
  • Policing cost and integration
  • Public safety concerns due to disparate regional plans and communication coordination

Active Policy Resolutions:

Improving the Regional Economy

Problem: The Chamber and its members have funded and worked to build the South Island Prosperity Project, as government support to economic development has been historically under-resourced and has lacked a regional focus, thereby impacting our ability to advance our economy and to attract investment.

The Chamber’s position: A competitive cost of living, as well as a regional approach to economic development, contributes to a healthy, resilient economy.

Approach: The Chamber will advocate for the judicious use of taxpayer dollars, creation of better jobs, attraction of external investment and the diversification and growth of our vibrant economy. The Chamber will actively champion a regional approach to economic development.

Examples of Related Issues:

  • South Island Prosperity Project
  • Federal Smart Cities Competition
  • Local infrastructure Investments
  • VIEA
  • Buy Local
  • Provincial funding for Economic Development agencies

Active policies:

Fair Regulations

Problem: Members are increasingly aware of the need to adapt and evolve to meet customer demands and compete with disruptive technologies. Members are concerned how emerging business models such as Airbnb and Uber affect traditional industries, and that regulations are fair to existing businesses. They are also concerned about unfair and disproportionate taxation on business by all levels of government.

The Chamber’s position: A well-designed and effectively enforced regulatory environment supports businesses, protects consumers and contributes to healthy communities.

Approach: The Chamber will advocate for the review and creation of regulatory and legislative frameworks to provide a fair and competitive environment.

Examples of Related Issues:

  • Federal Small Business Tax Changes
  • Municipal Commercial/Residential Tax Ratios
  • Plastic Bag Reduction Strategy
  • Short-Term Vacation Rentals
  • Ride Sharing
  • Marijuana Legalization

Active Policy Resolutions:

Finding Climate Change Solutions

Problem: Members are concerned about climate change and emerging related risks. They are also concerned about how climate-change related legislation, regulation and taxation might increase costs, stifle investment and affect future business. And they are interested in business opportunities related to climate change including transitioning away from fossil fuels and increasing alternative energy and energy efficiency.

The Chamber’s position: Economic prosperity goes hand-in-hand with environmental sustainability.         

Approach: The Chamber will advocate for solutions that work best for business while supporting public goals for emission reduction and promoting how businesses can also lead through innovation and example.         

Examples of Related Issues:

  • Air quality and emission reductions
  • Carbon tax
  • Expanding private and public transit and alternative transportation modes
  • Home renovations to increase energy efficiency
  • Subsidies for energy alternatives and new technologies

Active Policy Resolutions:

Safe Communities

Problem: Chamber members are increasingly concerned Greater Victoria is experiencing growing disruption on its streets due to the volume of people with mental health, substance abuse and addiction problems, which can lead to homelessness and anti-social and criminal behavior. Businesses pay property taxes in order for the city to maintain social order and enable business and citizens to function. Safe communities require the rule of law, adequate police resources, honest and transparent governance, the active participation of citizens and adequate housing and services to care for those who cannot care for themselves.

The Chamber’s position: A safe community for everyone is the foundation of our economy.

Approach: The Chamber will advocate for keeping our community safe for all citizens. It is the foundation on which we all rely in order to function in our daily lives and businesses.

Examples of Related Issues:

  • Fentanyl overdose crisis
  • Mental illness and addiction treatment and services
  • Homelessness and housing
  • Role of police and resources for policing
  • Crime rate
  • Tent city
  • Public health risks
  • City’s reputation

Active Policy Resolutions:

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