The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the adoption of electronic payments among Canadians.
A survey by Payments Canada found that 53% of Canadians had increased their use of debit cards to pay for in-store purchases. With uncertainty about how COVID-19 was being spread, many businesses opted to play it safe and encourage electronic payments.
The Chamber supports an initiative to lift inter-provincial trade barriers, currently being raised by our colleagues at nine of Canada's largest chambers of commerce.
In a series of videos promoted on Twitter, the Canadian Global Cities Council showcases how Canada's economic recovery would be helped by a freer flow of goods between provinces.
A Few Facts
The University of Victoria broke ground today on 800 new on-campus homes for students. The $232.4 million housing project includes $128 million in provincial funding. The new units are expected to be ready for students in time for fall 2022.
With workforce homes in short supply in our region, the addition of on-campus housing will help free up much-needed rental units in the community.
A new five-storey, wood-frame building on Fifth Street will provide 64 affordable homes In Greater Victoria. The project is being built with up to $17.2 in interim construction financing from BC Housing's HousingHub program. Rent will range from $1,000 per month for a studio to $2,500 for the most expensive three-bedroom option. To qualify, renters must have household incomes between $48,000 and $100,000.
“I’m pleased that this project will provide good, affordable homes for working families that are close to their friends, work, vibrant business districts and community amenities,” Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming said in a news release.
Construction is expected to wrap up by spring. The building will include space for the Vancouver Island School of Art on the ground floor.
If you've been thinking about buying an e-bike for commuting or getting around, the provincial government hopes to make your decision a little easier with an updated rebate program.
"E-bikes are a much cheaper alternative to cars and are a safe way to travel," Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena said today in a news release. "We look forward to seeing more people using e-bikes for getting around.”
People can now trade in an old vehicle and get $1,050 toward the purchase of a new e-bike. The rebates, which have increased by $200 this year, are delivered by the Scrap-It program. As well, a one-year pilot program is offering a $1,700 rebate for business owners who purchase a cargo e-bike.
Check out: Greater Victoria e-bike retailers
The federal government is looking for 12 to 17 volunteers for two committees tasked with creating innovative standards to help people with disabilities.
Applications are being accepted until Aug. 4 for the:
The work will improve the lives of more than six million Canadians who identify as having a disability. Committees will consist of members with expertise in various backgrounds.
A new campaign encouraging bus riders to wear masks has been launched by BC Transit. Called Together We Ride, the campaign will run for eight weeks and includes a contest starting July 27 with prizes including BC Transit branded masks and shoes.
While the provincial health officer has not mandated wearing masks, BC Transit is hoping the practice will be adopted as good etiquette by riders.
BC Transit buses already adhere to a number of safety conditions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Watch our Chamber Fireside Chat with Erinn Pinkerton, CEO of BC Transit, as she speaks bout how COVID-19 has impacted ridership in the region and how the company plans to restore consumer confidence (originally recorded on June 3).
A steady rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in BC means new rules aimied to restrict opportunities for the disease to spread in bars and nightclubs.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new orders mean patrons can't mingle and drinks can only be served at tables. As well, dance floors are no longer permitted.
Earlier today, the provincial government announced it will spend an additional $1 billion to help cash-strapped municipalities and transit services.
The funds will match the federal contribution announced July 16 as part of $19 billion in new spending across Canada. That money includes funding planned for paid sick leave programs.
Bus service that had been on hold due to COVID-19 have resumed, with safety measures in place.
The Wilson's Group of Companies has started up routes up Island and to the mainland. Passengers must adhere to physical distancing measures, limiting seating to one person per row or two from the same household. If physical distancing can't be maintained, passengers will need to wear masks.
The B.C. Ferries Connector is running Friday through to Monday, between downtown bus terminals in Victoria and Vancouver.
The Vancouver Island Connector is running between Victoria and Campbell River.
The Tofino Bus linking Victoria to Tofino and Ucluelet.
The company is also offering a BC Residents Rate, which gives locals a 25% discount.
“We are hopeful that with enough support from local travelers, as well as the continuation of government programs, that we can continue to operate well into the fall and winter,” John Wilson, president and CEO of the Wilson's Group said in a statement.
Additional weekday runs may be added later this summer.
The devastating impact of COVID-19 on BC tourism sector was driven home on Tuesday by a request for $680 million in relief needed to survive.
The Tourism Industry Association of BC sent a proposal to the provincial government requesting almost half of the $1.5 billion set aside to restart the economy.
"Unfortunately, as the only industry almost entirely based on the discretionary movement of people, the tourism and hospitality sector has been the most severely impacted by far by COVID-19 due to business closure orders and restrictions on personal travel, as well as the closure of international borders," TIABC's statement says.
The best case scenario forecasts 2020 revenue to be $6.7 billion compared to $20.4 billion in 2018. To survive, the industry wants $475 million to help businesses stay solvent, $190 million to encourage innovation and accelerate recovery and $15 million to support supply chains.