The Chamber hosted a successful Annual General Meeting yesterday. Members were able to make connections over lunch and hear directly from BC's Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation.
The Hon. Ravi Kahlon spoke about how the provincial government plans to work with business, and answered questions about our ongoing economic recovery. Much of the focus was on helping employers find and keep workers.
"Minister Kahlon is very accessible to The Chamber and I believe he truly wants to hear from our members about challenges facing business in Greater Victoria," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "We're looking forward to offering more in-person events for our members to build relationships with each other, and to speak directly with decision makers in government."
The AGM also saw members unanimously approve a by-law change allowing the Board of Directors to extend the term of the board chair in dire circumstances, such as natural disaster, pandemic or an extreme financial situation.
Thank you to all of our members who voted for The Chamber's 2022 Board of Directors. It was a very competitive election this year, with 11 excellent candidates vying for four seats.
Jessica Stigant, Associate Director of Government Relations and Partnerships for Ocean Networks Canada, and James Gatsi, founder and CEO of CL Web Developers Inc., have been elected to two-year terms on The Chamber Board. Incumbent candidates Rose Arsenault, Agilus Work Solutions and Tom Plumb, Kinetic Construction were also re-elected.
The Chamber holds staggered elections every fall, so we can maintain continuity while ensuring fresh voices are able to join the table.
Jessica, James, Rose and Tom will join John Wilson, Kris Wirk, Christina Clarke, Moira Hauk, Judith Ethier, Pedro Marquez, Richard Michaels, Ann Squires Ferguson as well as past chair Dan Dagg as members of the 2022 board when its term begins on Jan. 1.
"The Chamber is also pleased to announce we will have two other new faces on the board," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "We maintain a seat at the table for whoever is the current Base Commander of CFB Esquimalt. So, when Capt. (N) Sam Sader was re-assigned to a new post in Ottawa, we welcomed new Base Commander, Capt. (N) J. Jeffery Hutchinson to the table. As well, the incoming chair of The Chamber’s Prodigy committee, Paul van Koll, will join the board starting Jan. 1, 2022."
The cost of housing remains a sore spot for Greater Victoria, but the quality of life, economy and other factors helped the region earn a B grade from the Victoria Foundation's 2021 Vital Signs report.
"The Chamber was happy to sponsor the section of the report that looked at Greater Victoria's economy," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "The grades helps us understand the state of our region, where we're doing well and how we can improve going forward."
The 18th edition of the annual report measures our region's wellbeing through qualitative data as well as stories and graphics to provide snapshots of the year that was.
This year's theme explores equity and inclusion. The pandemic has emphasized that we might be in the storm, but we're not all in the same boat.
The report looks at 12 areas, with grades ranging from a B-plus for Learning and Sports and Recreation, to a D-plus for Housing and Getting Started. The Economy rated a B-minus.
As well as The Chamber, other Vitals Signs sponsors include Coast Capital, CHEK News, Page One, Black Press, Tecnet, Maycock Eyecare, Urban Sytsems, Oakcrest Park Estates and CIBC.
The Chamber is pleased to welcome the newest member of our Board of Directors, Capt. (N) J. Jeffery Hutchinson, CFB Esquimalt's new base commander. Hutchinson takes over from Capt. (N) Sam Sader who has been reassigned to a new role in Ottawa.
Hutchinson served on HMC Ships Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver, Calgary and Algonquin before becoming the commanding officer of HMCS Winnipeg in January 2016. Hutchinson has also worked as Director Naval Strategic Management at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. He is married with two daughters.
As with previous CFB Esquimalt Base Commanders, The Chamber appointed Capt. (N) Hutchinson to its Board of Directors. He also serves on The Chamber's Public Policy and Advocacy Committee.
Sept. 30 is National Truth and Reconciliation Day — a time to reflect on the history of residential schools and to listen with purpose to the stories of our Indigenous friends and neighbours.
Municipalities across Greater Victoria are hosting events to commemorate and celebrate indigenous voices, including:
The City of Victoria will be hosting the Xe xe Smun' eem-Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters Ceremony from noon to 2:30 pm at Centennial Square. The event will include Indigenous performances, a minute of silence, and guest speakers sharing their personal experiences with residential schools and reconciliation.
The District of Oak Bay will be hosting events through the group ReconciliACTION Oak Bay – beginning in front of Oak Bay High School at 10 am, the event will honour residential school survivors with members of the Songhees Nation sharing their wisdom.
The City of Colwood will be presenting the Na'tsa'maht Gathering in honour of Truth and Reconciliation. The event will take place from 10 am – 4 pm at Royal Beach, and will include traditional songs, drumming, dancing and more.
The Corporation of the District of Saanich will be lighting the municipal hall orange on the evenings of September 29-30, and the flag will be lowered to half-mast.
The Township of Esquimalt has illuminated the Archie Browning Sports Centre in orange this week, and will continue to do so until September 30.
Along with the region’s municipalities, post-secondary institutions have committed to close their campuses on Sept. 30 and are offering informative and inclusive events:
The University of Victoria has been hosting various reconciliation events throughout the week. From film screenings at the First People’s House to livestreamed educational sessions, the university also has orange shirts designed by Carey Newman Hayalthkin’geme available at the bookstore. University President Kevin Hall will be detailing UVic’s calls to action and the role of education for Truth and Reconciliation.
Royal Roads University invites the community to join in virtual learning and events to honour the strength and resilience of Indigenous Peoples, including the #DrumForTheChildren virtual event at 2:15 with the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Nation. On and around campus, many will share on social media their commitment to reconciliation wearing the limited-edition Orange Shirt with a powerful logo of the Heron People Circle (elder and old ones) by member Clarence “Butch” Dick of Lək̓ʷəŋən (Songhees) Nation.
Camosun College hosted their Orange Shirt Day event Wednesday at 1 pm. Attendees were invited to create love baskets filled with treats and medicines. The baskets will be delivered to residential school survivors who work closely with the college.
The federal government has work to do after Alaskan politicians proposed changing an Act that has been a keystone in the development of Greater Victoria's cruise ship industry.
The Chamber continues working with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and other community partners to make sure all levels of government are prioritizing this issue.
The federal and provincial governments responded to our earlier calls to action, ending the prohibition on cruise ships in Canada on Nov. 1 instead of waiting until next year. The industry contributes $130 million annually to our region's economy and provides more than 800 jobs.
How does your business plan to mark Canada's first National Truth and Reconciliation Day on Sept. 30?
Canada's civil service will take the day off with pay. As well, the province and numerous institutions such as the University of Victoria, Camosun College and the Greater Victoria School District are also giving staff the day off.
“The Chamber has also made the decision to close our office on Sept. 30. We felt it was the right thing to do for our organization and reflects the decision we made, earlier in the summer, to create a new task force to help Indigenous entrepreneurs and First Nation businesses fully participate in Greater Victoria’s business community,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said, noting that the day is not a statutory holiday according to BC's Employment Standards Act. “Every organization will make their own decisions based on their business and sector.”
The Chamber will be using our Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter channels to reflect on the importance of this day as well as ongoing efforts to support the reconciliation process. Please follow and share, and let us know if you're planning anything to mark the day by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more resources to help your organization, click here.
It was an emotional moment last Friday when the Victoria Clipper sailed into the Inner Harbour for the first time since the pandemic began. Families waited anxiously for the boat to dock so they could reunite with relatives.
For business leaders, there was also a sense of relief as a vital link for our visitor economy was finally restored.
The federal government re-opened the marine border after vocal advocacy efforts by The Chamber, Clipper Navigation and our community partners, including Destination Greater Victoria and the City of Victoria. And a special thanks to CFB Esquimalt, Harbour Ferries and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority for helping make the welcome back event so special!
There's a new way to watch programming on CHEK, after the employee-owned broadcaster launched the CHEK+ app today. This marks the first dedicated streaming and on-demand service for the local media company.
“We are excited about the launch of CHEK+," CHEK Media Group's GM Rob Germain said in a news release. "CHEK+ marks the evolution of CHEK, to a truly multi-media
company serving Vancouver Island and beyond.”
CHEK+ can be downloaded on Apple TV, iOS, Android Mobile and some Android TV devices. No cable connection or subscription fee is required.
On Monday morning, Chamber CEO Bruce Williams brought concerns raised by our members and Chamber Champions to BC's Select Standing Committee on Fiance and Government Services.
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce was asked to present to the committee along with the Burnaby Board of Trade, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and Surrey Board of Trade. These organizations are leading advocates for business in BC and help government set priorities ahead of next year's BC budget. Among the many issues raised were finding and keeping workers, fair taxation and fiscal prudence.
"We thank the province for including the voice of Greater Victoria businesses and we look forward to continuing to working closely on programs and policies that will be key to growing our region's private sector," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said.
You can listen to Bruce's comments to the committee, starting after the 9:28 mark.