EVENTS HAPPENING IN VICTORIA

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Policy Positions

  • Closing the Gap Between Non-Residential and Residential Property Taxes

    The Chamber has long expressed concern regarding the local governments charging non-residential property owners a multiple over residential taxpayers, a practice that is not based on any concrete rationale, e.g. aligned with consumption of municipal tax-supported services. This practice affects business’ ability to compete with other jurisdictions and remain viable, impacts that will only worsen as property values rise and municipal costs increase.

    This policy, Closing the Gap between Non-Residential and Residential Property Taxes, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber and approved by its Board in 2017. It was endorsed by both the BC Chamber with its member chambers/boards of trade the same year.

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  • Filling the Gap through Economic Immigration (2016)

    Chamber members are citing challenges in hiring qualified workers as a barrier to growth. In urban centres with a high cost of living like Vancouver, Toronto, and Victoria, it becomes particularly challenging to fill gaps at the mid- to lower-end of the employment spectrum, particularly for skilled entry-level as well as low-skilled difficult-to-fill positions. Businesses then turn to hiring foreign workers, but are often frustrated by complex bureaucracy and lengthy timelines. The federal government can effectively adjust the system through a demand-driven focus to immigrant selection, such as by awarding points in the Express Entry process for a job offer, without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

    This policy, Filling the Gap through Economic Immigration, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2016 and endorsed by both the Canadian Chamber and BC Chamber with their member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Improving a Key B.C.-U.S. Gateway: Belleville International Ferry Terminal

    The Belleville International Ferry Terminal in Victoria is a key international gateway to Greater Victoria and Canada for millions of visitors. Owned by the Government of B.C., the terminal is of strategic importance to the province, with an economic impact of $180 million per year. Currently, the terminal is comprised of 20-year-old trailers and other temporary structures. The proposed funding model for a new terminal has five contributing partners: the two ferry operators, City of Victoria, Tourism Victoria, Province of B.C. and the Government of Canada, with an anticipated $40 million in federal funds.

    This policy, Improving a Key B.C.-U.S. Gateway: Belleville International Ferry Terminal, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber and approved by its board in 2017. The resolution emerged from the joint efforts of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Tourism Victoria, the City of Victoria and the Downtown Victoria Business Association to request Provincial support on issues of importance to the city. It was endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/boards of trade the same year.

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  • Improving B.C.’s Cruise Ship Industry: Ogden Point Master Plan

    Developing and improving cruise capacity in British Columbia is essential to maintaining our position as a key player in the global cruise industry. Owned and managed by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), Ogden Point in Victoria is Canada’s busiest cruise ship port of call, welcoming more than 550,000 passengers and more than 212,000 crew on 224 ships in 2016. GVHA has developed the Ogden Point Master Plan. The Plan will contribute to the province’s overall cruise capacity, establish B.C.’s second cruise ship “home port”, while boosting the visibility of B.C. cruise ports including Vancouver, Nanaimo, and Prince Rupert.

    This policy, Improving B.C.’S Cruise Ship Industry: Ogden Point Master Plan, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber, co-sponsored by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, in 2017. The resolution emerged from the joint efforts of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Tourism Victoria, the City of Victoria and the Downtown Victoria Business Association to request Provincial support on issues of importance to the city. It was endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/boards of trade at the 2017 BC Chamber AGM.

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  • Improving Urban Transportation in B.C.: Transportation Authorities

    Easy access to multi-modal transportation options and well-maintained infrastructure is critical to strong economies and healthy communities. Being able to freely move between municipalities is not only vital to the commerce, but in accessing health, recreation, and social supports. As urban centres grow and municipalities increasingly become inter-dependent, the importance of regional transportation networks increases. As the second largest population centre in B.C., home to the provincial capital, host to key sectors that contribute to B.C.’s economy, Greater Victoria urgently needs a solution now, one that paves the way for other B.C. regions who will soon face similar challenges.

    This updated policy, Improving Urban Transportation in B.C.: Transportation Authorities, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber and approved by its board in 2017. The resolution emerged from the joint efforts of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Tourism Victoria, the City of Victoria and the Downtown Victoria Business Association to request Provincial support on issues of importance to the city. It was endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/boards of trade the same year.

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  • Increasing Rental Inventory Through Fair Tax Treatment

    The Chamber believes that a healthy rental market is important to business operations providing housing for employees at all levels of the employment spectrum including entry-level employees. Employers are increasingly finding the issue of rental availability to be a hurdle to recruitment and retention of employees. In some areas, extremely low vacancy rates may have adverse effects on the ability of businesses to grow.

    This policy, Increasing Rental Inventory Through Fair Tax Treatment, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2012 and endorsed by both the Canadian Chamber and BC Chamber with their member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Proposed National Marine Conservation Area Reserve – Strait of Georgia (2016)

    The beauty of British Columbia is intrinsically tied to tourism, external investment, and the health of our communities. In 2003, Canada and British Columbia signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) Reserve in the southern Strait of Georgia. The proposed boundary is within a heavily populated area with high levels of private, commercial and public activities. Vancouver Island’s coastal communities stand to be greatly affected by the proposed NMCA Reserve, namely their real estate prices, their businesses, as well as their way of life.

    This policy, Proposed National Marine Conservation Area - Georgia Strait, was originally drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2012 and endorsed by both the Canadian Chamber and BC Chamber with their member chambers/board of trades the same year. The last update was in 2016.

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  • Protecting Our Public Infrastructure

    Canadian businesses needs public funding to continue in a sustainable consistent manner that accrues to communities for infrastructure improvements and upgrades. To that end, The Chamber recommends that the federal and provincial governments establishes project selection criteria that prioritizes infrastructure funding requests based on criteria such as national/provincial economic interest, return-on investment, and job creation, as well as the that the provincial government develop a long term infrastructure strategy and plan.

    The updated policy, Protecting Our Public Infrastructure, was drafted by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber, co-sponsored by the Greater Victoria Chamber and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, and approved by the Greater Victoria Chamber board in 2016. It was endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/boards of trade at the 2016 BC Chamber AGM.

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  • Public Investment in BC Ferries’ Infrastructure

    BC Ferries is a key transportation link that directly affects the quality of life on Vancouver Island and contributes to the B.C. economy. The Province has established minimum service levels and has set price caps. This leaves BC Ferries' options to realize sustainable business operations as: increase fares (up to a point), seek additional funding sources, or secure additional revenue streams. Despite its efforts to reduce operating costs and even with 2015 increases in ridership, BC Ferries increased its fares April 2016. Fare increases can affect employment opportunities and property values, especially in coastal communities, as well as B.C.’s GDP and tax revenues.

    This policy, Public Investment in BC Ferries’ Infrastructure, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2016 and endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Renovation Tax Credits - Improving B.C.’s Housing Stock

    Renovations help provide stability in the housing market, create jobs, add to tax revenues, support local businesses, as well as contribute to local and higher governments’ climate change goals. The federal and provincial governments have the opportunity to incentivize renovations that focus on energy efficiency and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction.

    This policy, Renovation Tax Credits - Improving B.C.’s Housing Stock, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber, co-sponsored by the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, and approved by Greater Victoria Chamber board in 2017. It was endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/boards of trade the same year.

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  • Safe Communities and Strong Economies – Mental Health and Addictions in B.C.

    Mental illness and addiction affect one in five people across Canada, significantly affecting business and the economy. Further, un- or under-treated mental illnesses and addictions are pervasive within the homeless population, which can lead them to present in anti-social ways, affecting public safety that can, in turn, affect local business. In addition, un- or under-treated mental illnesses and addictions complicates the transition of homeless into permanent housing and can lead to recidivism in offenders, increasing the costs of social housing and to our justice system.

    This policy, Safe Communities and Strong Economies - Mental Health and Addictions in B.C., was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber, co-sponsored by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, in 2017. The resolution emerged from the joint efforts of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Tourism Victoria, the City of Victoria and the Downtown Victoria Business Association to request Provincial support on issues of importance to the city. It was endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/boards of trade at the 2017 BC Chamber AGM.

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  • Safe Communities and Strong Economies - Supporting Policing in B.C.

    B.C.’s police forces are on patrol, investigating crimes, enforcing the law, and keeping the peace. Effective and adequately resourced policing is integral to safe economies and strong economies. As B.C.’s urban centres grow and municipalities increasingly become inter-dependent, the importance of regional policing increases. Yet municipal police forces and RCMP detachments have different levels of funding, manage their cases differently, and may not have the resources for specialized training. In the regions with multiple police forces, funding, governance, and operations can vary widely. From a practical perspective, dividing police resources along municipal borders, especially ones that are adjacent, makes little or no sense.

    This policy, Safe Communities and Strong Economies - Supporting Policing in B.C., was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2011 and endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/board of trades the same year. The current version was updated in 2016, and approved by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors the same year.

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  • Supporting B.C.’s Growth and Economy: Modernization of Regional Districts

    Regional governments play an important role in our communities by delivering regional services where a regional service is appropriate and providing local level governance and service for unincorporated areas within its boundaries. As urban centres grow and municipalities’ residents and businesses increasingly become inter-dependent, the importance of regional services increases, both in terms of type and complexity, e.g. transportation infrastructure, air-quality management, and sewage. However, regional governments can be rendered unable to act without voluntary buy-in from the municipalities. Without effective regional governance and service delivery, businesses experience increased costs - in terms of dollars, time and energy – to operate in more than one municipality and services are duplicated and inefficient or not provided at all.

    This policy, Supporting B.C.’s Growth and Economy: Modernization of Regional Districts, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber and approved by its board in 2017. It was endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/boards of trade at the 2017 BC Chamber AGM.

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  • Supporting the Labour Needs of Today and Tomorrow - B.C. Provincial Nominee Program

    While immigration is a federal matter, provinces and territories have received a growing role in the selection of immigrants over the past two decades by way of bilateral agreements with the federal government. These bilateral agreements create Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) under which each provincial government has an annual nomination limit for the selection of foreign applicants best suited for that specific province/territory. Such applicants, if nominated, are provided expedited processing of their work permit and permanent residency applications. In some provinces, such as B.C., the PNP allotments are continually over-subscribed, while in others it is under used. Further, the majority of settlement tends to be in large urban cores, which can lead to the stagnation/decline of rural areas and ongoing difficulty attracting workers to smaller centres.

    This updated policy, Supporting the Labour Needs of Today and Tomorrow - B.C. Provincial Nominee Program, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber and co-sponsored by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the Prince George Chamber of Commerce in 2017. The policy was approved by the Greater Victoria Chamber’s board in 2017 and endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/boards of trade the same year.

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As a member of the BC Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Victoria Chamber supports each BC Chamber policy. View the current BC Chamber Policy Manual for  policy details.

Likewise, as a member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Victoria Chamber supports each Canadian Chamber policy. View the current Canadian Chamber Policy Manual for policy details.

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PARTNERS

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