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.
Finding and keeping workers continues to be a major challenge facing employers. The restaurant and hospitality sector estimates it's heading into a new year without 20% of the staff needed.
To try and help ease the crunch, the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association has asked the Provincial government to exempt BC employers from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment for the next two years. The Chamber supports this move as well as a request that the federal government speed up the process to allow foreign workers to come to BC.
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!
As we head into the final month of the long strange trip that has been 2021, there is good news for local business in 2022. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has announced next year's cruise ship schedule.
A record 350 ships are expected to call on Victoria, with the first arriving April 6. The visits will bring an estimated 759,000 passengers to our region, helping tourism operators and local businesses from April until Oct. 26.
The Chamber has been advocating for the safe return of cruise ships to Victoria, urging the federal government to act decisively to stop political efforts in the US to exempt cruise ships from the Passenger Vessel Services Act. The act, which prevents foreign-flagged ships from travelling directly between states, has been a catalyst for Canada's cruise industry.
When a flight from Seattle touches down next Tuesday at Victoria International Airport, it will mark another milestone in our economic recovery. The plane will be the first with international passengers since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
For the latest requirements for travellers, make sure to check for current updates from the federal government.
Supporting your neighbours starts with thinking locally.
“In an effort to help people choose to shop at Greater Victoria retailers this holiday season, The Chamber is putting our money where our mouth is and paying the cost of shipping,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says. “We all benefit from a strong regional economy and it’s up to each of us to do our part to help with the ongoing recovery.”
Effective immediately, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce is encouraging holiday shoppers to choose local. The Chamber will cover the cost of shipping for items purchased from Chamber businesses and delivered by proud Chamber Courier partners.
The last two years have been challenging for retailers, but the forecast is for Canadians to spend more this holiday season. The Retail Council of Canada recently released a survey that shows people are feeling more confident with their finances this year.
Buying online from local retailers is also a good way to support our economic recovery and conserve a little gas by letting someone else do the delivery.
For more information on The Chamber’s Shop #ChamberLocalVicBC campaign, visit our website at victoriachamber.ca and make sure to follow us on social media.
If your business is interested in taking part in this initiative, please email firstname.lastname@example.org right away.
Media Coverage: Shop #ChamberLocalVicBC
The Chamber is helping host a celebration in the Inner Harbour to mark the return of the MV Coho ferry linking Victoria with Port Angeles, WA.
A flotilla will greet Black Ball Ferry Line’s flagship vessel at 9:50 am, Nov. 8, as it arrives in Victoria with passengers and vehicles from the US. The Mwill then prepare for the return trip at 10:30 am — the first time Canadians have been able to take a ferry to Washington State since the start of the pandemic.
The MV Coho can carry up to 1,000 passengers and 115 vehicles, and has served the region for 60 years. Ferry service, suspended in March 2020, will resume with two sailings per day for the rest of the year.