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
The University of Victoria broke ground today on 800 new on-campus homes for students. The $232.4 million housing project includes $128 million in provincial funding. The new units are expected to be ready for students in time for fall 2022.
With workforce homes in short supply in our region, the addition of on-campus housing will help free up much-needed rental units in the community.
The federal government is looking for 12 to 17 volunteers for two committees tasked with creating innovative standards to help people with disabilities.
Applications are being accepted until Aug. 4 for the:
The work will improve the lives of more than six million Canadians who identify as having a disability. Committees will consist of members with expertise in various backgrounds.
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.
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.
Greater Victoria's unemployment rate hit 11% in June — up from 10.1% in May, according to the latest report from Statistics Canada.
The numbers are in contrast to the rest of BC and Canada. Provincially, the rate was 13% in June compared to 13.4% in May. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 12.3% in June, down from 13.7% in May.
The economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the tourism and hospitality sector especially hard, which could account for Greater Victoria's numbers. Our region typically has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada.
It's difficult to forecast where the rates will go from here as more businesses re-open and expand their operations. The hope is that an increase in local customers as well as a focus on travelling within the province will help.
“We’ve proven that flattening the curve is good for the economy,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told CHEK News. “We’re not back to the unemployment numbers that we had before ... but it does mean that we are embracing the ability to move forward to restart the economy.”
Canada Day also marks the official start of the Canada US Mexico Agreement on trilateral trade. The deal has been welcomed for providing long-term stability that will allow businesses to plan for a predictable future. However, there are also questions about the deal in light of the rapid pace of change that has occurred over the last several months.
“With trade between NAFTA members valued at nearly $1.5 trillion in 2018, we can't overstate how vital it is to maintain free and fair trade between our three countries," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 29.
READ MORE: CTV News - What 'new NAFTA' means for Canada