The border with the US will open sooner under a Joe Biden presidency than if Donald Trump had stayed in power, says Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
With a more focused, hands-on approach to controlling COVID, Biden stands a better chance of putting the pandemic behind us than did the chaotic approach of the last administration.
Beatty was the guest of The Chamber, earlier today, for our latest Business Restart Series video. The conversation focused on Canada-US relations, which Beatty compared to resembling the "mating dance of the stickleback" under Trump.
However, Canadians shouldn't get too comfortable after today's inauguration. The Democrats have historically been more protectionist than Republicans, and relations will be more complicated than "Trump/bad, Biden/good."
Closer to home, Beatty says our immediate focus needs to be on controlling the pandemic in Canada. We've had a "crazy quilt of approaches" to stopping the spread of the virus, Beatty says. A national approach is needed rather than regional restrictions. The biggest risk to business is the yo-yo effect of opening and closing, which disrupts operations and makes planning impossible.
"What worries me when I look at it today, the Team Canada approach (we had in the spring of 2020) is fraying. People are feeling victimized and powerless," Beatty said, saying it's within each of us to use the tools and knowledge we have to stop the spread. "We're not powerless."
Missed the live event? Register online to access the video recording.
Greater Victoria has officially joined a continent-wide initiative to create high-performance buildings that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The 2030 Districts Network is a non-profit organization working to transform the built environment in cities around the world and promote sustainability.
The Greater Victoria 2030 District consists of 36 buildings and 3.5 million square feet of space, represented by major property managers in the region: Anthem Properties, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, Ivanhoe Cambridge, Jawl Properties, Richmond Property Group, Shape Properties, City of Victoria, District of Saanich and the Province of BC.
As changes to the way we live and work continue to transform our neighbourhoods, the City of Victoria is hoping to hear from businesses to help plan the future of Fernwood, North Park and Hillside-Quadra. City planners see the three urban villages as playing a key role in the decades ahead.
To learn more about how to engage with planning, go to engage.victoria.ca.
Businesses, local governments and non-profits can now access larger rebates through CleanBC's Specialty-Use Vehicle Incentive and Commercial Vehicle Pilot programs.
Vehicles eligible for SUVI rebates include medium- and heavy-duty vehicles such as electric-battery or hydrogen-fueled passenger buses, airport and port service vehicles and heavy-duty transport trucks, as well as smaller specialty-use vehicles such as motorcycles, cargo e-bikes, and low-speed utility trucks. Rebates will now cover 33% of the cost, up to a maximum of $100,000 per vehicle.
Organizations can also access $11 million for piloting unique or large deployments of medium- and heavy-duty or very large electric vehicles, such as domestic air, marine or rail transportation through the CVP program. Eligible applicants can compete to receive up to one-third of total costs in rebates for vehicles and charging or refueling infrastructure.
Can a gondola help make it easier to move commuters between the West Shore and downtown Victoria? It's not so far fetched.
Embracing opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be a major theme in 2021. The Chamber has long been an advocate for innovations led by business as the most realistic approach to mitigating climate change.
Colwood Mayor Rob Martin has a vision to turn 10-acres of city-owned land into a park-and-ride featuring a gondola to move people from a site behind the new Royal BC Museum archive building to a proposed ferry terminal at Royal Bay. The idea is to reduce space needed along the waterfront for a commuter ferry, which already has the blessing of BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins.
The Chamber supports the idea of reducing vehicle traffic between downtown and the West Shore, and we would like to see the province fund a study to determine the feasibility of Martin's plan.
The Chamber has reached out to all 11 candidates registered for the City of Victoria's by-election on Dec. 12. We want to know where candidates stand on issues that are priorities for our members and the region's business community. We'll share the responses next week. We're also hosting a candidate discussion on Nov. 25 at noon.
This by-election is a rare opportunity for people who have businesses or income properties in the municipality but live outside its borders.
Typically during civic elections, voters will cast their ballot in the municipality in which they reside. But doing so disqualifies them from also voting in a different municipality where they own commercial property.
With the Dec. 12 by-election only happening in Victoria, there's a lot of interest from people who have a business in the city but live outside its borders.
For information on who is eligible to vote as a non-resident property elector, here’s a link to the details. A few notable requirements include:
Call Legislative Services at 250-361-0571, or check out Victoria.ca for 2020 Information for Voters, including what documents you need to register as a non-resident property elector.
It’s a great opportunity for business owners to ensure their voice is represented on Victoria council.
Want to have a say on future bike lanes in Victoria? The City of Victoria is hoping to hear from businesses and residents about plans for the next phase of the cycling network. You can check out and comment on specific sections of the plan below:
Voters in Victoria will soon find out who is on the ballot for the city's Dec. 12 by-election. The candidate nomination period opened yesterday, and closes Nov. 6.
The by-election was rescheduled after its original date in April was cancelled due to the pandemic. Any candidates who were previously nominated will need to go through the process again if they still plan to seek election. Candidate nomination forms are available by calling Victoria City Hall at 250-361-0571 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit victoria.ca/election.
As soon as candidates are confirmed, The Chamber will provide our members with opportunities to find out where council hopefuls stand on issues of importance to the business community.
The Chamber strongly supports Greater Victoria mayors who are calling on the new provincial government to do better to improve regional transportation on southern Vancouver Island. Specifically, we have been calling for a regional approach to how transportation is governed. We need to think broadly to address transportation issues and take advantage of opportunities to create 21st century solutions.
The mayors of Saanich, Victoria, Colwood and View Royal were among the group that co-authored a letter to the province.
The Island Corridor Foundation has released a report estimating the economic impact of restoring the Island Rail Corridor to operational condition.
The report says the $304 million project would require $147 million for labour and create thousands of jobs — based on an average annual full-time income of $67,000.
The foundation also recently contracted a survey that determined interest is high in rail service on Vancouver Island.
"The results should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that the people of Vancouver Island want to see rail service restored,” foundation CEO Larry Stevenson said in a news release.
Overall, 80% of survey respondents believe that federal and provincial governments should fund a modern and revitalized rail system for Vancouver Island, and 81% of respondents believe rail should receive a subsidy to support ongoing operations.