Businesses can begin applying for the $10.5-million Securing Small Business Rebate Program as of Nov. 22.
Eligible organization can receive up to $2,000 for the cost of repairs due to vandalism, and up to $1,000 for prevention measures such as security cameras or gates.
Applications are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2023, to help businesses recoup costs incurred this year.
Kids will fill the streets hunting for sugary treats on Tuesday to celebrate Halloween night, but there is plenty of themed fun to be had be this weekend.
Greater Victoria is known as one of the most haunted places in Canada, and this spooky season is the perfect time to experience something new — if you dare!
Visit a local pub or nightclub to show off your great costume skills, or have a Halloween meal at a great restaurant before handing out handfuls of candy to trick-or-treaters.
Check out Destination Greater Victoria's list of Top 10 Haunted Places in Victoria and Eerie-sistable Halloween Activities in Victoria if you’re dying to see a ghost, and explore famously haunted sites. Spooky stories await at Craigdarroch Castle, Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University, the Fairmont Empress, Rogers’ Chocolates, and many more.
If you’re looking to burn off that extra sugar from Halloween treats, check out a local fitness facility, and be sure to recycle your pumpkin at Pumpkin Smash 2023 in the City of Langford on Nov. 4.
Whatever you may be up too this Halloween, The Chamber hopes you have a fun (and frightening) time!
The Chamber has long called for a more sensible approach to recognizing the skills newcomers bring to Canada. We've all heard the stories of trained doctors driving cabs and other professionals who can't work in their chosen field despite high demand for their service.
"That is changing. I'm thrilled to share the news that British Columbia is moving to help regulatory bodies improve the process of credential recognition," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "We hear all the time from employers who are frustrated because they need workers but can't hire qualified newcomers because they were trained out of province."
Upcoming legislation will streamline pathways for skilled people with international credentials while maintaining standards and safety.
According to the provincial government, 387,000 newcomers are expected to enter the B.C. workforce, filling 38% of job openings over the next 10 years.
Unless you're stuck under the proverbial rock, you know that economies around the world are facing some serious doldrums. The latest report from the Conference Board of Canada adds to the dreary outlook. Headlined, "Consumer confidence falls to Its second lowest point to date," the index of Consumer Confidence shows that Canadians are feeling bummed about their finances.
"We had hoped to be through the rough patch by now but it's proving persistent," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said, noting that the fight against inflation and the re-balancing of global supply chains continues to take a toll. "We will get through this, as we have countless times in the past, by supporting each other. So much work has gone into building a resilient economy for Greater Victoria, and, as a result, we are in a better place than many other regions."
The Index of Consumer Confidence was 59.6 in September, compared to 61.2 in August. The Conference Board said wildfires likely contributed to the pessimistic outlook in BC.
Each year, more than 400 chambers across Canada prepare policies on issues of national importance for the Canadian Chamber AGM. At the conference, days of debate ensue on the best actions needed to support our businesses and the select policies that the advocacy team at the Canadian Chamber will champion on Parliament Hill with federal officials.
Here's a look at the proposed policy resolutions formally supported by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. All resolutions will be voted on at the Canadian Chamber AGM, Oct. 12-14 in Calgary.
"Many of the policy resolutions are worthy of support but we selected these because they align with initiatives that matter to our members and we were happy to lend our expertise and voice to get these advocacy action items moving ahead," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has finalized the list of proposed policy resolutions that will be voted on at its 2023 AGM next month.
The resolutions reflect input given to chambers by their boards and members. The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce holds an annual member survey and consults with our Public Policy and Advocacy committee to determine policies to support.
"The policy book reflects the work of over 400 chambers across the country amplifying the voice of business on issues around climate change, innovation, skilled labour force and other critical issues for success," Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Williams said. "We want to make sure the resolutions that are adopted provide the government with practical solutions to challenges facing businesses."
The Canadian Chamber AGM takes place Oct. 12-14 in Calgary.
Also at the AGM, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce will find out if we won an award for our work supporting diversity and inclusion. We have been nominated for the Canadian Chamber’s Inclusive Growth Award.
The best time to prepare for emergencies is before they happen. With summer's heat waning and the rains yet to fall this autumn, The Chamber is working on strategies to help businesses be ready for future climate events.
"Through our Public Policy and Advocacy committee and my conversations with Chamber members, we have recognized that the reality of doing business is planning for the unexpected," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "We want to see businesses have strong representation on the recently announced task force that the Premier is planning to support people affected by climate emergencies."
The expert task force on emergencies will work to determine how the province can better support communities facing wildfires, flooding and other climate events that are now expected to regularly occur.
If you're a chamber member interested in learning more about planning for climate change, or a business that can help others prepare, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll keep you posted on Chamber's initiatives.
The provincial government announced today that it received more revenue than expected for fiscal 2022-23.
Public Accounts show B.C. ended the year with a $704-million surplus and no operating debt, helped in part by income tax generated by high employment.
BC Minister of Finance Katrine Conroy, who spoke to Chamber members on March 1, said investing in people and businesses is paying off.
“We’ve seen time and again that when we invest in people and the services they count on to build a good life here, it makes our economy stronger and more resilient,” Conroy said in the news release, which also noted that BC has the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in Canada.
The Chamber will continue to work with decision-makers in all levels of government to reduce the tax burden faced by business, while also calling for smart investment.
"These revenue figures show that the province clearly can do better at reducing costs borne by businesses, such as the Employer Health Tax," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "The best investment any government can make is creating the right climate for entrepreneurs and businesses, who drive the majority of employment in BC."
The next report on provincial finances will be the first quarterly report for 2023-24 in September.
Is it almost September already? You can feel it in the air — that combination of excitement to start a fresh school year mixed with the bittersweet feeling of the end of summer.
Make the most out of your Labour Day long-weekend by supporting your fellow Chamber members. Celebrate by enjoying a bite out, a night away from home, or plan an action-packed weekend at these local treasures.
After you enjoy the long weekend, you may be getting ready for the return of the school year and your fall routine. Take advantage of The Chamber's exclusive member-only deals and discounts on quality school and office supplies..
Chamber members can save:
The Chamber will be closed Monday, Sept. 4 for Labour Day.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce recognizes that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, driving innovation, creating jobs, and contributing to local communities. The Canadian Chamber is looking to highlight small business owners at any stage of business by sharing your insights as part of a social media campaign in October. They want you to share any lessons learned and what inspired you to become an entrepreneur.
Are you ready to cast a spotlight on your business and share your entrepreneurial wisdom? Don't miss out on this opportunity! Simply complete the online form provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce before Aug. 31. Your story could be the catalyst that propels someone else toward their own business success.
In Greater Victoria, The Chamber serves as the voice of business by amplifying what we hear from our members. We can then further raise the volume by working with our national network to include the questions and concerns of more than 200,000 businesses across Canada.
A recent example is the 2024 pre-budget recommendations submitted by the Canadian Chamber to the federal government. The submission calls for for investment in trade-enhancing infrastructure, easing the burden of doing business, facilitating the transition to net-zero, enabling an innovative economy, attracting and retaining talent and taking a lead role in life sciences.
To learn more about the work done by The Chamber's Public Policy and Advocacy committee, contact email@example.com.
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the people who will make up our 2024 Board of Directors.
Rose Arsenault, James Gatsi and Jessica Stigant are returning for new two-year terms after being acclaimed for 2024. As well, Josue Dubon will also join the Board as a full voting director. Josue currently holds a non-voting position as chair of The Chamber's Emerge Committee.
And in related news, Dean Clarke joins The Chamber Board as the chair of The Chamber's new Family Business Committee.
The City of Victoria is considering a program that will help spruce up the look of businesses in the downtown core. The Business Façade Beautification Reimbursement Program is on the agenda for Thursday's council meeting. The city and the Downtown Victoria Business Association would split the cost of the program.
“This is an incentive to the property owners and the businesses on that block to join together and make their block look better," DVBA CEO Jeff Bray told the Times Colonist. "And I think when you do that over a handful of key blocks, it will be very noticeable.”
The Township of Esquimalt and the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce introduced the Business Façade Improvement Project this year.
"As the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, we support investment in our very important downtown centres," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "They're not all the same, of course, but they all need to be safe communities. The best way to do that is to support community pride led by local business."
How do we solve homelessness? There's no easy answer as cities across the world and particularly along the west coast of North America are experiencing a surge in people living on the streets. In Greater Victoria, parts of our regional downtown have become almost unrecognizable. A constant state of distress impacts everyone who experiences the scene of people suffering from untreated mental health issues and addiction.
"The Chamber is looking at long-term solutions that could take generations while also calling for immediate action that can make a real difference today," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "We need to work with our community partners, specifically those who are on the frontline. Their experiences are vital to helping shape policies and programs that address the roots of this issue."
Partners such as Our Place Society and the Victoria Conservatory of Music, who recently co- authored an essay in the Times Colonist have offered a thoughtful four-point plan that deserves consideration. The essay is worth a read but The Chamber agrees that we need to:
The Chamber is calling on the federal government to give businesses who needed help during the pandemic more time to repay their Canada Emergency Business Account loans.
A letter to the federal Finance Minister was signed by more than 240 Canadian business organizations.
"Extending the repayment timeline for the CEBA loan without losing access to the forgivable portion would give many small-and-medium size businesses the stability and certainty they need to get back on their feet on a path to prosperity," states the letter.
Chamber CEO Bruce Williams spoke to CFAX Radio this morning to explain why many businesses need extra time. Across Canada. almost 900,000 CEBA loans were approved during the pandemic.
"Many businesses had no choice but to take on this loan due to circumstances beyond their control," the letter states. "This includes businesses in some of the hardest hit industries such as the retail industry and tourism sector. Mandatory business closures and other government health restrictions left businesses with severe income losses and cash flow issues."
The Chamber promotes Indigenous economic reconciliation by listening and then acting on how to best support First Nation businesses in Greater Victoria.
To mark National Indigenous Peoples Day today, we encourage you to participate in local events and show your support for the thriving Indigenous business community.
Check out the Chamber's directory for Indigenous Owned Business for a list of incredible local businesses run by Indigenous Peoples.
"In Greater Victoria, we are responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action No. 92," says Chamber Vice-Chair Christina Clarke, executive director of the Indigenous Prosperity Centre. "We seek to not only include Indigenous people in the economy, but to transform the economy, as we incorporate Indigenous wisdom for a sustainable future and prosperity for all."
Check out the recent Chamber Chat with Christina Clarke and Chamber CEO Bruce Williams.
Last Thursday, The Chamber hosted Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Paul Beaudry for the unveiling of the Bank's Economic Progress Report at the Victoria Conference Centre. Two hundred business and community leaders were at the event, sponsored by Odlum Brown, the City of Victoria and Grant Thornton.
Beaudry's speech and Q&A session with Chamber CEO Bruce Williams offered fascinating insight into how the bank decides on raising interest rates.
"On behalf of all Chamber members and our board, I'd like to thank Deputy Governor Beaudry for taking the time to speak with us," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "He was able to answer some of the questions on the minds of many members, and many Canadians judging by the widespread media coverage Victoria received because of this event."
The speech was followed by a press conference that was attended in-person by local media as well as virtually by financial journalists across the country.
A new Indigenous business directory was launched in Greater Victoria today with a goal to support Indigenous economic reconciliation by building new relationships and connections.
The South Island Indigenous Business Directory is the result of work of community partners, including The Chamber.
"The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of our members, is honoured and humbled by the work done to establish an Indigenous Business Directory," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "The Chamber is committed to taking actions towards reconciliation and inclusion and we are working to connect Indigenous entrepreneurs and First Nations with the broader business community. We can all benefit from being more inclusive and incorporating the knowledge of people who have called this region home for time immemorial."
The new directory provides opportunities for relationships, growth and partnership between community members and the many Indigenous-owned businesses across the South Island. From graphic design, art and web design to engineering, project management and catering, the directory currently features more than 50 Indigenous companies.
View the directory at indigenousbusinessdirectoryvi.com.
"Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland."
That famous line will no doubt be repeated often between now and next January, when Greater Victoria hosts Hockey Day in Canada.
The formal announcement is planned for June 5, with Ron MacLean making the call at 4:30 pm during a Stanley Cup finals broadcast. A media conference will be held at Ship Point at 1 pm, and will include Chamber past-chair John Wilson, who is chair of the Victoria Hockey Legacy Society.
Hockey Day in Canada started in 2000, and moves to cities and towns across the country. The broadcast spans 14 hours and attracts millions of viewers annually.
How will you be celebrating the Victoria Day Long Weekend?
Although Victoria Day began in 1845 as a way of commemorating Queen Victoria’s birthday, the holiday has since taken an additional meaning: the unofficial start of Canada’s summer season.
Although the summer weather may not arrive in time for the long weekend, we hope you take the opportunity to enjoy what Greater Victoria has to offer.
The Thrifty Foods 123rd Victoria Day Parade presented by CHEK TV begins at Mayfair Mall, finishing at the intersection of Douglas and Humboldt streets.
Featuring floats and cultural performances, this event from the Greater Victoria Festival Society is one you won’t want to miss.
Before and after the parade, enjoy a great meal at a local restaurant or bring some takeout to a local park. Check out some great attractions, go on a sightseeing tour, or experience family time while taking a much needed break.
Visit our member directory to see a full list of our members that can help make your long weekend one to remember.
A well-known ride-sharing brand has been approved to begin operations in Greater Victoria, the company announced today.
Uber Canada had been awaiting a decision by the Passenger Transportation Board to allow a licence transfer from a company that had been approved previously but was never operational. The news is welcomed by Greater Victoria's tourism and hospitality sectors.
"The Chamber wrote to the PTB in support of Uber," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "Our members have been clear that they want ride-sharing options here, and that we need to have international brands available."
Adding Uber to Greater Victoria also benefits many late-night workers who have found it challenging to get home after their shifts. Transit is a great option to get to work, but does not operate late enough for many people working in Victoria restaurants and bars. Having the option to take an Uber home means that staff have a reliable and safe way to get home.
"Over the next few weeks, we will work hard to ensure a smooth transition and activate our platform for drivers and riders as soon as possible," Uber said in a letter to The Chamber. "Thank you for everything you have done to get us here. We achieved this milestone because of your strong support and advocacy."
Are you ready for the digital dollar?
The Bank of Canada is in the news this week, after announcing they're working on something called a central bank digital currency or a digital Canadian dollar. The Bank wants to be ready, though there are still plenty of questions to answer before it becomes reality.
"If a digital Canadian dollar were issued, it would be money that every Canadian could use every day," Bank Governor Tiff Macklem said.
A digital dollar wouldn't replace bank notes, and like paper bills, it would not accrue interest or change in value. If the federal government asks for a digital dollar, the Bank wants to be ready to issue the currency. They're asking Canadians for feedback through a survey running from May 8 to June 19.
"I'm sure the topic of a digital dollar will come up on June 8, in what's shaping up to be a really exiciting and historic event for Victoria," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said.
The Chamber hosts the Bank of Canada's Deputy Governor Paul Beaudry as he delivers the next Economic Progress Report from Victoria. The reports earn national coverage and offer insight into the Bank's analysis of where the economy is heading. See more details under Upcoming Business Leaders Luncheons below.
The Moose Hide Campaign, an Indigenous-led movement standing up against violence towards women and children, is holding a Walk to End Violence on May 11, 12-1pm, starting at Thunderbird Park at Douglas and Belleville streets. Participants are encouraged to bring a drum. For more info, including how to hold a walk in your community, contact 250-882-7018 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good data used in the right way is critical to making sound business decisions. It's an advantage that many large organizations have had, though the cost of accessing the info has been a challenge for smaller businesses. Until now.
The Chamber is pleased to announce a new tool recently released by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Business Data Lab. The Business Conditions Terminal was developed in collaboration with Statistics Canada, and is available to the public at no cost. More than 2,200 indicators from 30 different data providers are accessible through the terminal to deliver granular, real-time insights to businesses.
“We’re helping Canadian companies unlock the power of better business data,” Canadian Chamber Chief Economist Stephen Tapp said. “Most small business owners are too busy running their businesses. They don’t have time to moonlight as forecasters or data scientists. They’re looking for easy to use, easy to understand data tools that quickly give them customized, actionable results for their local region and industry.”
Stay on top of shifting economic conditions and better understand new trends as they emerge by utilizing the Business Conditions Terminal.
The Chamber's 160th annual general meeting took place April 18 at the Inn at Laurel Point.
After making sure operations and financials were in order, members in attendance were treated to a frank discussion with BC's Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon. Chamber CEO Bruce Williams emceed the session and asked about the provincial government's plan to increase housing supply.
The minister noted that legislation had been introduced that morning that will help projects avoid time-consuming delays.
Among other topics was a discussion about the need to remove barriers for skilled workers coming here from other countries and provinces. Delays in the recognition of credentials has been an ongoing concern for newcomers wanting to work in their chosen professions. Minister Kahlon encouraged The Chamber to continue advocating for change, noting the message is being heard. He pointed to efforts to increase BC's health care workforce that are beginning to pay off.
Also discussed were increasing student housing to free up rental properties for workers, strategies to house the homeless and using public land to build non-market housing following models that have proven successful elsewhere.
"The Chamber is grateful to Minister Kahlon for sharing his time with our members to talk about the many challenges facing housing in Greater Victoria and the province," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "This year's annual general meeting was the 160th time we've reported to our members and we are working to make sure the next 12 months are successful for our organization, for all our member businesses and for everyone in our community."