The Chamber's 160th annual general meeting took place April 18 at the Inn at Laurel Point.
After making sure operations and financials were in order, members in attendance were treated to a frank discussion with BC's Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon. Chamber CEO Bruce Williams emceed the session and asked about the provincial government's plan to increase housing supply.
The minister noted that legislation had been introduced that morning that will help projects avoid time-consuming delays.
Among other topics was a discussion about the need to remove barriers for skilled workers coming here from other countries and provinces. Delays in the recognition of credentials has been an ongoing concern for newcomers wanting to work in their chosen professions. Minister Kahlon encouraged The Chamber to continue advocating for change, noting the message is being heard. He pointed to efforts to increase BC's health care workforce that are beginning to pay off.
Also discussed were increasing student housing to free up rental properties for workers, strategies to house the homeless and using public land to build non-market housing following models that have proven successful elsewhere.
"The Chamber is grateful to Minister Kahlon for sharing his time with our members to talk about the many challenges facing housing in Greater Victoria and the province," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "This year's annual general meeting was the 160th time we've reported to our members and we are working to make sure the next 12 months are successful for our organization, for all our member businesses and for everyone in our community."