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
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
Victoria is well positioned to become a centre for ocean innovation. A request for proposals has gone out to study the feasibility of increasing the value of the marine sector to Greater Victoria's economy.
The City of Victoria is working with the South Island Prosperity Partnership and the marine sector to explore the idea of an Ocean Futures Innovation Hub. It would be located in Victoria and foster an environment of entrepreneurship building off our region's existing marine industries and our location on the Pacific. Being home to Ocean Networks Canada, which yesterday announced a $29 million investment from the federal government, is a boon.
The Chamber supports innovation led by business. We look forward to helping build an Ocean Futures Innovation Hub in Victoria.
Farm sales reached record levels in 2019, and the provincial government says the growing sector could point the way to economic recovery.
BC reported $3.9 billion in farm cash receipts last year, with areas of growth including cannabis, dairy, beef and field vegetables.
“COVID-19 has opened our eyes to the importance of our province’s self-sufficiency," said Saanich South MLA and Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham. "I urge everyone to continue to show their appreciation for our farmers and support our local food system by making a special effort to Buy BC.”
The BC Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector was launched in May to help farmers find workers needed for this season's harvest. Last year's record represents on increase of $462 million in revenue from 2018.
To help Island farmers adapt to the changing climate, the provincial and federal governments have identified 11 strategies to increase resilience. With warmer and dryer conditions, new types of insects and more extreme weather events, farmers need to prepare for challenges and opportunities ahead, the report says.
Businesses across Canada are facing a difficult decision as they can’t afford to stay closed but are struggling with reduced revenue that doesn’t cover expenses. The paradox is reflected in the results of a survey released yesterday by Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Getting through this difficult phase will be critical for the economy and requires businesses to overcome three key challenges.
To help our members learn more about how they can benefit from the wage subsidy program, as well as its tax implications, Chamber CEO Bruce Williams is hosting Matthew Hohnsbehn, Liaison Officer at the Canada Revenue Agency, and Kris Wirk, Partner, at Dusanj & Wirk Chartered Professional Accountants, on Aug. 11.
To reduce the number of people living in homeless camps in our region, housing needs to be supported by mental health and addiction services that can address the root issues facing this population.
On July 13, the provincial government announced it was expanding the number of health care teams focused on helping people with addictions stay connected to treatment. Teams are tailored to their community and can include nurses, counsellors, social workers and peers. The goal is to reach people as individuals and help them stay connected to services and stay away from toxic street drugs.
In May, the BC Coroner's office reported 170 people died from overdoses. That was the highest monthly fatality rate in the province, and 90% higher than the same period last year.
Proposed changes to BC's labour law will give WorkSafeBC more power and increase compensation for workers.
The changes could also increase the cost of premiums for employers by about 1.4 cents for every $100 of payroll, Labour Minister Harry Bains said.
The proposal includes raising maximum insurable earnings to $100,000, allowing preventative medical treatments before a claim is accepted and making it easier for workers to access benefits if they catch COVID-19. WorkSafeBC would also be able to get warrants allowing them to search workplaces during investigations.
During the pandemic, WorkSafeBC has allowed businesses to defer paying premiums for six months without penalty or interest. As well, as an extra help for hard-hit businesses, WorkSafeBC waived premiums on wages paid to workers of employers receiving the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy for the duration of the program.
Want to know how you can make your home be part of a climate change solution?
The District of Saanich has launched a step-by-step climate action manual called the Resident’s Climate Action Guidebook. The goal is to teach the public how to make their homes more sustainable in six steps and help the municipality build a climate-friendly future.
In January, Saanich approved a 131-step plan to reduce the risks associated with climate change locally and globally, cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, move to net-zero emissions by 2050 and transition to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
A new system launched this week designed to make registering a business more efficient in Western Canada. The federal government — along with governments in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — implemented the online Multi-jurisdictional Registry Access Service, a hub that allows corporate information sharing between the provinces, making extraprovincial registration faster and easier.
“People using this new service will find it easier to register their business in multiple provinces and efficiently complete necessary paperwork through one central hub,” said Anne Kang, B.C.’s Minister of Citizens’ Services. “This joint effort under the New West Partnership Agreement streamlines trade between our provinces and opens up the possibility of including other provinces and territories in the future.”