Chamber members continue to show leadership as we build resilience in our economy and community.
One of the best things each of us can do is make sure we register for our booster shots.
Greater Victoria has one of the highest rates of fully vaccinated people, thanks in a small part to efforts such as our #ChamberChangemaker campaign.
Show your leadership by rolling up your sleeve and sharing your commitment to getting a booster shot. Make sure to tag The Chamber and we will help you spread the word!
#ChamberChangemaker Booster edition!
Who doesn't love a good chart, especially when they remind us that there's a lot to be optimistic about despite our current uncertainty. Stephen Tapp, chief economist with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, put together his insights on Canada's labour force. Data shows that employment recovery exceeded expectations in 2021, though the Omicron wave will undoubtedly drag down the numbers for the next reporting period. "Even before these restrictions, many small businesses were struggling with rising input costs, labour difficulties and supply chain disruptions," Tapp says.
Once you're done perusing Tapp's charts, you might want to check out Maclean's Chart Week 2022. The national magazine offers a handful of charts showing how Canada's economy is faring in a number of areas.
It's hard to believe that a little more than a month ago there was so much joyous optimism as we prepared to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. Of course, COVID had other plans. If you're struggling to keep your team's spirits up, you're not alone.
If there is a bright side to these soggy January days it's that we know things change quickly.
Let's control what we can, support each other and our community and keep the faith that brighter days will be back soon.
Chamber members are a resilient bunch, and we've successfully navigated turbulent waters many times. We're still building a better future together. Let us know if we can help with advocacy or creating connections for you and your business. Don't forget to sign up for Chamber events, and make sure to read all of today's BizNews for helpful info and some positive news about fellow members.
The province announced today that applications are now being accepted for the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant. The program is for businesses that were ordered to close on Dec. 22 by the Provincial Health Officer. Gyms, fitness studios and event venues along with bars and lounges that don't serve meals are not allowed to operate under current restrictions. The available grants range from $1,000 to $10,000 and can be used for rent, wages, insurance, maintenance and utilities.
The return of Black Ball Ferry Line's MV Coho was big news in Greater Victoria when the iconic ship returned to service. Across the strait, the community of Port Angeles also cheered the return of sailings between countries. The connection boosts the economy on both sides of the border and helps bring together families as well as vacationers.
The Chamber looks forward to renewing Greater Victoria's relationship with businesses and visitors from Washington State. Check out Black Ball's website for up-to-date information on travelling on the MV Coho.
Businesses in BC are facing a new challenge as Omicron spreads rapidly through our communities, including workplaces. The province has re-introduced temporary restrictions and health authorities are continuing to assess the full impact of the new COVID-19 variant.
On Jan. 7, the province also ordered all businesses to reactivate their COVID-19 safety plans.
Employers are advised to expect a significant number of staff will be unable to work because of illness. As of Jan. 1, BC requires employers to provide five days of paid sick leave. The province has also stepped up its campaign for providing booster doses to everyone over the age of 18.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is calling on everyone to protect each other by doing the things we did earlier in the pandemic that helped reduce transmission. For example, businesses can encourage all employees to be fully vaccinated.
"This is not where any of us want to be, but we are also not where we were at the beginning of the pandemic," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "We have the experience and tools to get through this wave, and we can make sure businesses are ready to return to regular operations as soon as possible."
The provincial government recently announced new financial relief for businesses forced to close due to the new restrictions.
The Chamber is currently reaching out to members to better understand what they need during this time. We encourage any member who needs help to contact us at email@example.com.
Greater Victoria's unemployment rate fell to 4% last month, down from 4.4% in October. The numbers from Statistics Canada show there were 208,200 people working in November, up from 204,600 in October.
An increase in the number of people working in food services, financial industries and real estate has helped bolster the rate.
Our region now has the fourth lowest unemployment rate in Canada, after the Quebec regions of Gatineau, Sherbrooke and Quebec City.
Downtown Victoria continues to show positive signs of recovering from the pandemic. The latest report from the City of Victoria contains a selection of indicators showing an increase in the value of construction and the number of business licences issued. As well, more people are working downtown, and there has been an increase in the number of pedestrians and visitors staying in hotels.
“Growing our economy is key to ensuring we have strong, diversified and resilient communities now and in the years to come,” said Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Williams. “The data shows more workers are back in downtown offices, the value of construction has increased considerably and more business licences have been issued this year. Those are all positive signs that our economy is recovering.”
As we head into the heart of the holiday season, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has put together a wish list for a few of the things we want in 2022:
"Good business builds great community, and we look forward to helping our members connect and grow in 2022," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. "We'll continue working on our advocacy efforts to ensure business can get the investments they need to continue leading the way on sustainability, inclusion and resilience."
Let us know what your wish is for the business community in 2022, and how we can help you achieve success in the year ahead.
Capital City Comic Con is coming back to Greater Victoria next March. The Sci-Fi and comic book convention hasn't been held for two years because of the pandemic.
The 2022 event will run from March 25 to 27 at the Victoria Convention Centre as well as Crystal Garden across the street. Start planning your costume now!