Victoria Chamber Earns National Recognition

October 16, 2023


VICTORIA –  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,” said Chamber CEO Bruce Williams. “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


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