Calgary, Alberta— The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has earned a prestigious Inclusive Growth Award from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes outstanding efforts to advance economic reconciliation and foster diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the Canadian business landscape. Greater Victoria Chamber member WeBC was also recognized for their work in this space.
"Inclusion isn't just a buzzword,” said Diana Palmerin-Velasco, Senior Director, Future of Work at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “It's a cornerstone of a resilient and thriving business landscape. We're proud to recognize these exceptional organizations and entrepreneurs who are leading the way in creating a Canada where everyone has a chance to succeed.”
The award ceremony was held Oct. 14 — the final day of the national chamber network’s annual general meeting in Calgary.
“The DEI initiatives we are making mean we are better reflecting the diversity within the economy and business community of Greater Victoria,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. “The team working in our Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Advancement Committee, as well as our chamber staff, are making this advancement possible. This award belongs to them.“
Williams was also honoured before the AGM as the nation’s top chamber executive by the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada. The organization connects 450 professional members in 175 chambers of commerce and boards of trade across the country.
The Canadian Chamber's Inclusive Growth Awards recognize chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and business members who have implemented successful initiatives to advance economic reconciliation, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in their organizations and business operations. These awards also recognize underrepresented entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence in innovation and social impact.
"We are a Chamber that works for everyone, so it is important that everyone sees themselves reflected in our membership and our organization," IDEA Committee Chair Richard Michaels said. "I'm proud of the initiative shown by Bruce and the Chamber team to create spaces that we can use to build diversity and, in turn, grow our organization and help our region's economy become more sustainable and resilient."
The Chamber was applauded for showing national leadership to take action on Indigenous reconciliation and working to help all people feel welcome in Greater Victoria’s business community.
"As part of our 160th anniversary, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce created a digital archive looking back at our region's history and the role diverse communities played in building a resilient economy," Chamber Board Chair Kris Wirk said. "By acknowledging our past mistakes, we can take action on building a better community now and for future generations."
On Canada Day 2021, the Greater Victoria Chamber publicly acknowledged and apologized for its historical role in the social and economic suppression of Indigenous People, becoming the first Chamber in Canada to do so. The Chamber ntroduced an economic reconciliation membership program for Indigenous-owned businesses, leading to a significant increase in Indigenous business membership.
Greater Victoria was one of three chambers recognized by the national chamber. Winnipeg and Newmarket were also celebrated.
In a separate category for members of chambers, WeBC earned recognition for supporting women entrepreneurs in BC since 1995. WeBC’s Enhancing the Mosaic of Women Entrepreneurs project, funded by the Government of Canada's Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund, expanded access to mentoring, training, and resources for underrepresented segments of the population.This support was particularly critical during the pandemic, as it offered proactive assistance to women-owned businesses impacted by COVID-19.
For more information about the Inclusive Growth Awards and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, please visit https://chamber.ca/events/inclusive-growth-awards/
About Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Since 1863, The Chamber has served Greater Victoria by working together to build good business and
great community for all through advocacy, networking, professional development and innovative services as changing times require. In 2020, the Chamber Champions initiative added a powerful resource to provide leadership and guidance to our organization. Current Champions are: BC Ferries, Berwick Retirement Communities, Big Wheel Burger, Camosun College, CHEK Media Group, CIBC, ColdStar Solutions, H2 Accelerator, Knappett Projects, Acera Insurance (formerly Megson FitzPatrick Inc.), Mike Geric Construction, MNP, PARC Retirement Living, RBC, Scotiabank, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards, Starlight Developments, Times Colonist, TD Commercial Banking, TELUS Business, Times Colonist and the University of Victoria.
Jim Zeeben, Policy and Strategic Communication
Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
250 360-3471 | firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce — The Future of Business Success
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is Canada’s largest and most activated business network — representing over 400 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 200,000 business of all sizes, from all sectors of the economy and from every part of the country — to create the conditions for our collective success. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the undisputed champion and catalyst for the future of business success. From working with government on economy-friendly policy to providing services that inform commerce and enable trade, we give each of our members more of what they need to succeed: insight into markets, competitors and trends, influence over the decisions and policies that drive business success and impact on business and economic performance.
Rewa Mourad, Public Relations Specialist
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
613.238.4000 (2211) | email@example.com
Since 1863, The Chamber has served Greater Victoria by working together to build good business and great community through advocacy, networking, professional development and innovative services as changing times require.