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Integration of Esquimalt and Greater Victoria Chambers

Below is a joint statement from the Chamber Integration Committee co-chairs Al Hasham (Greater Victoria Chamber Chair) and RJ Senko (Esquimalt Chamber Vice-President of Communications & Gov’t Relations) November 23, 2016:

The Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce have been discussing terms and conditions for the integration of the two chambers into a single organization over the last two years.

After months of negotiations and the exchange of numerous proposals, the two Boards were unable to reach agreement on issues surrounding a new governance model.

Despite the lack of consensus between the two Boards, the Esquimalt Chamber put the final proposal to its members who voted to retain the current structure. Consequently, both Boards have determined the best option at this time is for the two chambers to remain separate organizations.

The door to integration remains open as both Boards continue to believe that services to members can be strengthened and enhanced by integration.

The parties have benefited from the opportunity to get to know each other better and plan to continue to work together on areas of mutual interest.

Al Hasham

RJ Senko

250-590-2125 / 250-888-3534 (cell)

Member Communique June 2016
As announced June 21, 2016, the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce have agreed to work toward integration. The integration would provide increased benefits to members of both organizations while reducing administrative overhead.

The boards of both chambers have examined the work of a recently appointed joint task force and have agreed that moving forward with integration is a sound business decision that will benefit both memberships. The concept for this integration is to retain the individual characteristics of each chamber while integrating the administrative and leadership teams.

Anticipated benefits include:

  • access to an enhanced suite of membership services, such as regular professional development opportunities,
  • expanded connections and networking opportunities with business owners and leaders throughout Greater Victoria, and
  • even greater influence on the local, regional, provincial and national level governments decision-making regarding issues that affect the business community.
“This integration proposal is consistent with the decision made last year by all regional Councils to combine our efforts on economic development,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.  “Local businesses are not bound by municipal boundaries so this process toward integration of our local Chambers will help provide a more cohesive approach to economic development and voice for business,” said Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins.

In the fall of 2016, both chambers will consult with their respective memberships, which will likely be followed by each chamber asking its membership to approve the necessary by-law changes relating to integration.

This integration process will be led by a committee representing both chambers. The Chamber Integration Committee is co-chaired by RJ Senko and Al Hasham. Members will have opportunities for input such as through member forums, membership meetings, and through committee co-chairs.

Members are encouraged to stay up-to-date on this initiative  via their respective chamber .

“In today’s increasingly integrated world, the segregated governance models of the past just don’t make sense anymore and are not in the best interest of our members," said Al Hasham, Co-Chair of the Chamber Integration Committee and Chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. "Combining resources will allow both chambers to take a more integrated approach to advocacy and serving our members.”

Al Hasham

“This integration is about enhanced services for Esquimalt Chamber members,"" said RJ Senko, Co-Chair of the Chamber Integration Committee and Vice-President of the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce. "I am confident that through this merger, we can significantly increase the benefits to our members and become a more effective and efficient business organization.”

RJ Senko

250-590-2125 / 250-888-3534 (cell)


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