Chamber News

Regina & District Chamber of Commerce is an Official Champion of the Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter

By Nicole Shepherd

We are fortunate to have a strong community of entrepreneurs in our city. Forward-thinkers and risk-takers who create jobs and spur economic growth. Women-owned businesses, alongside all small businesses, have shown their resilience, dedication and innovation in a pandemic challenged world, but they still need our support.

Women encounter unique barriers in business ownership that often limit their full participation and opportunities for growth. Challenges which, in many cases, have been amplified over the past 16 months by the pandemic.

The potential impact of growing women’s participation in business ownership is significant. In Saskatchewan alone, the advancement of gender parity has the potential to increase GDP by $6.3 -$17.64 billion. By creating a solid and diverse business ecosystem that includes more women entrepreneurs, we are supporting a strong economy in which all business owners’ benefit.

As your Chamber, we are very pleased to become an official Champion of the Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter and Supporter of Women-Owned Saskatchewan Businesses.

This allows us to show our commitment in supporting gender equality in entrepreneurship and levelling the playing field for women-owned businesses.

The Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter is an initiative launched by Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK) to address the gender entrepreneurship gap in our province. Driven by four key principles, the Charter provides guidance on how organizations and individuals can best support local women-owned businesses.

“Now, more than ever before, supporting our local businesses is imperative,” says WESK CEO Prabha Mitchell. “By signing the Charter, the Regina Chamber of Commerce is affirming their commitment to support our local women entrepreneurs. We are pleased to have the Chamber join our growing pool of influential Charter Champions and work towards closing the gender entrepreneurship gap in our province.”

This is just one of the many ways the Regina & District Chamber supports our local business community.

We hope you will join us by getting involved and supporting our local women entrepreneurs. For more information on the Charter and other ways to get involved click here.

Regina Chamber Encourages Business Owners to Use SHA Rapid Testing program

June 11, 2021

The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce supports the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s (SHA) new rapid testing workplace initiative. 
 
“Most importantly, using the rapid testing program will help keep workers and their families safe,” said John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce. “As Saskatchewan continues to roll-out its successful vaccination and re-opening strategy, rapid testing provides an opportunity to further increase consumer confidence against COVID-19 in the workplace.”  
 
Rapid antigen tests are not a diagnostic test, but are used to screen asymptomatic people for COVID-19. Health officials strongly recommend that people who receive a positive test result immediately self-isolate and call 811 for further instructions, such as scheduling a confirmatory test through a SHA testing centre.
 
For more information or to apply for your free SHA rapid testing kits visit 
 
“We are proud to work with the provincial government during the COVID-19 recovery phase and together we will build a stronger and more resilient province,” added Hopkins. “Our focus continues to be helping local businesses reopen safely and we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated.” 



Regina Chamber Approves of Re-Opening Roadmap 

May 4, 2021

This afternoon the Government of Saskatchewan released their “Re-Opening Roadmap”, which highlights a three-step plan to gradually lift the current public health restrictions.

Regina & District Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hopkins believes this is a positive yet measured step forward to safely re-opening Saskatchewan’s economy.

“We are very appreciative of the re-open plan, which in large part will depend on us, the people of the Saskatchewan,” said Hopkins. “Simply put, everyone needs to stand up and get vaccinated and continue to maintain the current health directives by social distancing, wearing masks and hand sanitization.”

The three-step plan provides Saskatchewan residents and businesses with a targeted incentive to continue following the current public health measures and a clear reason to get vaccinated.

“The gradual safe opening of our province is important to our economic future,” added Hopkins. “Our message to businesses and individuals is very clear: get vaccinated and help Re-Open Saskatchewan.”

CEO John Hopkins Addresses City Council 

March 24, 2021

Re:   City of Regina 2021 Budget

Good afternoon Your Worship, members of Regina City Council.

My name is John Hopkins and I am the Chief Executive Officer of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce.

I am here today on behalf of our 1200 members to provide our perspective on the proposed Budget.

COVID – 19 has and continues to have a profound impact on our community. People have lost their lives or watched as loved ones faded away because of this vicious virus. Moreover, some citizens have lost their jobs, some businesses are struggling to make ends meet, and some have closed forever. To be blunt no one could have foreseen the catastrophic impact of COVID, and no one can say with a 100% certainty that we have won the fight given how the variants are spreading throughout our community right now. Nevertheless, all we can do is continue the fight:

  • Vaccines
  • Masks
  • Social distancing and
  • Proper hygiene practices

I want you to know that our chamber has responded throughout the pandemic. We have provided members with access to programs and services. We have set up countless zoom calls and we have advocated with all levels of government including the City. I would like to take this opportunity to thank City Council and the Administration for the work that has been done to date and for the work that we will not doubt do in the future.

Not only did we help business we also helped our community. Hours after hearing the plea for help from the Aids Program South Saskatchewan for masks we were able to get over 10,000 masks and other PPE for the organization so that they could continue to do the work that needs to be done. Another call was from Community Fridge who wanted some assistance getting food after the opening. We responded by connecting them with a food business that is dropping off food three times a week. Moreover, we have been able to help the food bank and many others to get the word out about so many other important causes. As you can tell by this presentation, fighting, COVID is out priority.

With respect to the budget before you, I would like to offer the following comments.

First and foremost, we would like to express our appreciation for the preliminary budget before you and in particular the work done by the administration which reduced the proposed rate of increase to cover dedication mill rate increases as well as the increasing cost of policing. While there are some who are still heavily impacted by COVID-19 the rate of increase proposed is relatively reason, particularly during a pandemic.

On the revenue side we note that property tax continues to pay the lions share of the revenue at close to $270 million or 56% of total revenues, the remaining revenues while somewhat stable can be subject to some volatility from time to time.

On the expenditure side we note the contribution to capital continues to rise and is now close to $58 million annually as well as transfers to reserves at $16 million, police at $99.6 million and community investments up to $12.7 million.

You Worship, instead of targeting areas where we believe there might be opportunities to reduce the rate of increase, we will wait for the results of your strategic review to be completed and provide comments once recommendations are brought forward.

So what is important to our members?

  1. Economic Recovery from COVID-19
  2. Competitiveness
  3. Growth - economically, socially, and culturally
  4. Building upon our economic anchors like agriculture and mining
  5. Addressing the looming labourforce challenge before us
    1. Skills training
    2. Education linked to the economy
    3. Strategic Immigration – linking people to jobs that are available

Thank you for the opportunity to be here.

John Hopkins

Chief Executive Officer

Regina & District Chamber of Commerce


VISIT with CJME's John Gormley

Thursday, March 11

Today CEO John Hopkins had the opportunity to visit with CJME's John Gormley.

https://iono.fm/e/1009087

MEDIA RELEASE

Regina & District Chamber of Commerce Celebrates International Women's Day

For Immediate Release
Monday, March 8

The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize and celebrate International Women's Day.

“International Women's Day is about celebrating the power and strength of women not only in our community but around the world,” said John Hopkins CEO of the Regina Chamber of Commerce. “Today is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.”

The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce also believes this is also an opportunity to reflect and recognize the contributions women have made and a reminder we all have a role to play in advancing gender equality.

“I believe that collectively every person and all organizations can make a difference in the community by taking action and using their influence to help build a more gender equal Regina,” said Hopkins. “Today is a big day for inspiration and change, but it is only the beginning.”

MEDIA RELEASE

Regina & District Chamber of Commerce Stands Up for Energy Sector 


The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce strongly disagrees with 
Regina City Council’s Executive Committee’s motion to restrict energy companies from sponsoring or advertising with the City of Regina.  

 On the same day that Canada’s energy industry learned that Keystone XL will be cancelledpotentially affecting hundreds of jobs at EVRAZ, the City of Regina’s Executive Committee decided to turn its nose up at one of the most important economic anchors in our province,” stated John Hopkins the Chief Executive Officer of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce.  

 Saskatchewan’s energy sector is a key anchor in the province as well as the City of Reginaemploying thousands of people in good paying jobs which provides economic stability for so many families, individuals, and businesses. Even during COVID-19, Saskatchewan’s oil and gas industry generated over $700 million in revenue to the provincial economy. 

 “To restrict the energy sector’s ability to share its success in promoting our city and the many sporting and cultural events it provides is very short sighted and sends the wrong message, added Hopkins. 

 The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce will be respectfully requesting that City Council defeat the motion.  

 -30-

 

John Hopkins provided CTV Morning Live with a business update this morning .


Regina & District Chamber Supports 
Expanded
COVID-19 Guidelines

 The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce continues to support the Provincial Government's decision to not completely shut down the economy like some other provinces.

Instead, the government has taken a more targeted approach which will have some impact on the community but far less than a complete economic shutdown would have on local business.

"COVID-19 continues to impact Saskatchewan but there is a light at the end of the tunnel as many advancements are being made to create a vaccine,” said John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina & District Chamber. “We understand and appreciate that the government faces difficult decisions. We also strongly support the government's decision to not completely shut down the economy until absolutely necessary."

The Regina Chamber asks that Regina residents follow the new guidelines which medical professionals believe will help to flatten the COVID-19 curve.


And The Paragon Award
Goes To...

The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce Paragon Awards were presented virtually last night.

This prestigious award show, now in its 21st year was sponsored by Nutrien, and honours and celebrates Regina’s most outstanding businesses.

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2020 Paragon Award winners.

Young Entrepreneur sponsored by Conexus Credit Union: Dandy’s Artisan Ice Cream

Community Involvement sponsored by CTV: NexGen Energy Ltd

Community Alliance sponsored by Knight Archer Insurance: Canadian Western Agribition/STARS

Marketing and Promotional Achievement sponsored by Phoenix Group: The Wireless Age

Export Achievement sponsored by CN: XPT Grain Inc

Customer Service Excellence sponsored by Regina Airport Authority: The Atlas Hotel

New Business Venture sponsored by WCB Mission Zero: Queen City Cakes

Diversity sponsored by Saskatchewan Polytechnic: Loblaws Companies Distribution Centre 34 (Regina)

Environmental Excellence sponsored by the City of Regina: Greenwave Innovations Inc.

Business of the Year sponsored by Grant Thornton:  CAA Saskatchewan


“The Paragon Awards symbolize excellence in our business community and the  Chamber is proud to honour these local leaders and innovators during these trying times,” John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce. “We also thank all our sponsors who make the Paragon Awards an exceptional celebration and promote our business community.”

The Regina & District Chamber encourages Regina residents to safely support local businesses during the holiday season.


Each Month We Celebrate Our Membership

 Member of the Month

The Regina Chamber is pleased to announce that TC Energy is our Member of the Month. TC Energy has been very generous in their efforts to help promote the Together We Stand - shop local campaign.

We also celebrate the Together We Stand – shop local program with a few random membership draws.

Primex Training Centre Inc-John Horstman: winner of an O'Hanlon's Irish Pub $50 gift card

Parkland Carpet One:  winner of Utopia Café $50 gift card

Nadene Joy: winner of Every Day Kitchen gift card $50

Naked Sheep Yarn and Fibre Emporium: winner of $50 Penny University Book Store gift card

Mobile Crisis: winner of $50 gift card from abstraction café

Ray Gosselin Architect Ltd. (RGAL): winner of a $50 Schmitty’s Smoked Meats and Catering gift card

HSA Chartered Professional Accountants: winner of $50 a Simply Stowed gift card

Regina Chamber of Commerce Supports New Provincial Government COVID-19 Guidelines

November 18, 2020

Yesterday the Provincial Government put new safety measures in place that focus on slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus across Saskatchewan. The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce agrees with Premier Scott Moe that a slowdown is much better than a lockdown for our local business community.

“We encourage all Regina residents to follow the mandatory mask and other new restrictions to help reduce the impact COVID-19 has on our family, friends, neighbours and community,” said Regina Chamber CEO John Hopkins. “Let’s work together to slow down the virus and reduce the number of daily cases we are experiencing during this second wave.”

Regina Chamber of Commerce Supports New Provincial Government COVID-19 Guidelines

November 3, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the new targeted initiatives the Government of Saskatchewan has taken to reduce the rising COVID-19 case counts across the province.

John Hopkins, Regina & District Chamber of Commerce CEO, urges Regina residents to continue to make the health and safety of others a top priority and to follow the public health measures set out by our provincial experts.

“It is vital that we continue to support the direction of Dr. Shahab to keep the economy open while responding to local hot spots with the new restrictions,” said Hopkins. “We are talking about protecting the lives and livelihoods of our family, friends and neighbours.”

Hopkins maintains that the Government of Saskatchewan and its Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Shahab continue to provide solid leadership and sound advice during COVID-19.

“The majority of companies that are struggling are small businesses who have still not recovered from the first lockdown,” added Hopkins. “Moreover, the World Health Organization is now saying that a complete lockdown does more harm than good to communities.”

The Regina & District Chamber also encourages Regina residents to safely support local businesses during the holiday season.

CEO of Regina chamber of commerce in favour of mask mandate

Britton Gray - 980 CJME

With mandatory masks now here in Regina, the city’s chamber of commerce believes it’s a better option than the other on the table.

“When you look at the alternative, which is shutting down the economy again, this is where we want to be,” Regina & District Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hopkins said.

“If we shut down the economy, we could be looking at businesses closing (and) we could be looking at employees losing their jobs. It would just exacerbate the challenges that we already face.”

The province’s new public health order came into effect Friday, calling for people to wear masks in all indoor public places in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. It’s hoped the move will limit the spread of COVID-19.

Hopkins said there were some larger stores already leading the charge when it came to mandatory masks.

“At the end of the day, what this is really about is protecting people as much as possible and I think for most businesses, the vast majority of businesses, they want to make sure that the environment is as safe as possible for their customers as well as their employees,” Hopkins said.

While the economy has been open for a few months, Hopkins said COVID-19 is continuing to cause challenges in the business world, and there’s still no end to that in sight.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the economy is still there …,” he said. “The hotel industry has been hammered by COVID-19, the food services industry has been hammered (and) retail has been impacted as well.”

He said there already have been some businesses that had to close permanently due to the pandemic and he said more could be facing that same fate.

“This is very, very challenging for businesses and will continue to be until we get on the other side,” he said.

'Be kind': Businesses hope to avoid confrontation as mask order begins

Business owners don't want to play the role of pandemic police as mandatory masking come to Regina on Friday.

Author: Arthur White-Crummy - Regina Leader-Post

Businesses expect little change on the first of at least 28 days of mandatory masking on Friday, though some worry about difficult conversations with customers who don’t want to mask up.

Premier Scott Moe has said there won’t be any “COVID police” enforcing an order to wear masks in indoor public spaces in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. He said the onus is on individuals, not businesses. Entrepreneurs seem to be taking that perspective to heart.

“My staff’s already been masked up and I think the general public knows, so I’m assuming they’re going to be masked up. But I can’t be the COVID police either,” said Ken MacMurchy, owner of five Brewed Awakening coffee shops in Regina.

“It’s not going to change a whole lot for us,” he added. “I would say currently 90 per cent of our customers are wearing them anyway.”

MacMurchy said his shops may put up some signage, depending on how the first day goes. But staff have been trained not to confront people who don’t want to wear a mask.

“I’m sure they’ll feel out of place because everyone else is going to have them,” he said. “You’re gonna have your rebels, but honestly, our customers are pretty respectful as a rule.”

That’s the same policy Dad’s Organic Market is adopting. Manager Nick Gottinger said he personally disagrees with the mandatory mask order, but will ensure that all his staff wear a mask or face shield. He won’t be doing the same for customers. He plans to inform them of the provincial masking order, and leave it at that.

“I’m not a police officer and I’m not going to be policing it in any way,” he said. “I’m not going to yell at anyone if they’re not wearing a mask.”

John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce, said the majority of businesses in the city support the province’s mask order. He thinks Moe’s preference for education over enforcement is the right solution.

“There are always going to be some outliers who are going to say it’s against rights or freedoms or whatever it might be, but I think, generally speaking, most businesses are fine with complying,” he said.

Hopkins believes it’s sensible to target the order to communities with higher transmission rates, with the prospect of expanding it elsewhere as conditions warrant. “This needs to be fluid and flexible,” he said.

For the full full article click here

Decision 2020: Provincial Election Debate to air on AccessNow TV

Regina, SK – With election season underway, Access Communications is offering its community channels as a medium for political parties and candidates for public office to get their message to voters.

Decision 2020: Provincial Election Debate, produced by the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce, will air October 19th, 20th and 21st on AccessNow TV Community Channels.

The Decision 2020 debates will be moderated by John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina Chamber of Commerce.

The moderator will ask a series of questions during the debate and each candidate will have a specific time limit to answer the questions.

“These debates provide candidates from each party with a forum to share their views and platform initiatives on key election topics," said Hopkins. “The Chamber believes these debates are part of a democratic process that help inform and educate voters in their decision-making process.”

“Access believes in serving our communities and that means contributing to the Canadian democratic process,” said Tracey Mucha, Community Programming Manager at Access Communications. “We’re providing opportunities on our community channels to all parties for leadership debates, issue forums and candidate messaging.

For Saskatchewan to grow and thrive, our community members need to be informed on the issues that matter.”The following political parties have been invited to have a candidate of their choice participate in each debate:

Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan
Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Green Party
Saskatchewan Liberal Party
Saskatchewan New Democratic Party
Saskatchewan Party

​​​​Schedule and topic for the debates are as follows:
October 19 – 6:00 to 7:30 pm – Topic: Healthcare
October 19 – 8:00 to 9:30 pm – Topic: The Economy
October 20 – 6:00 to 7:30 pm – Topic: Infrastructure
October 20 – 8:00 to 9:30 pm – Topic: Social Services/ Indigenous Engagement
October 21 – 6:00 to 7:30 pm – Topic: Financial Planning

Decision 2020: Provincial Election Debate will air province-wide on AccessNow TV. All local media outlets have been invited to the debates and will have an opportunity for comments or interviews following the debates.

The debates are proudly sponsored by Regina & Region Home Builder’s Association, Saskatchewan REALTORS Association, Regina Downtown Business Improvement District, Regina’s Warehouse District, Regina & District Chamber of Commerce and Access Communications Co-operative.

Federal COVID-19 Rent Relief Program 

October 9, 2020 

The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the Government of Canada’s Revised Federal COVID-19 Rent Relief Program.  

The primary source of support stems from the government’s decision to now allow businesses to apply for relief directly from Canada Revenue Agency as opposed to indirectly through their landlord.  

John Hopkins the Chamber’s Chief Executive Officer stated, “We are very pleased that the government has listened to business owners from coast to coast to coast and will now allow them to directly apply for relief.”  

According to Hopkins the Chamber also agrees that those who are impacted the most should receive support.  

COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on the national, provincial, and local economies,” added Hopkins. “We are not out of the woods yet and must remain vigilant in Saskatchewan. The second wave is spreading in many provinces and we need to do our utmost to contain the virus. 

 

Regina ranks top in benchmark study by Canadian Home Builders’ Association

620 CKRM The Source 
Moises Canales

Oct 5, 2020 4:57 PM

Regina ranks top in benchmark study by Canadian Home Builders' Association

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association has placed the Queen City at the top of their benchmark study involving 23 cities from across the country.

Regina was rated first when it comes to application approval timelines, ninth for affordable government fees and charges and eleventh for structures and processes available to developers.

For the complete story click here.

City of Regina Releases 2021 Budget Survey

The City of Regina began its pre-budget consultations in July 2020 with an initial survey that asked residents to identify spending priorities as well as what top considerations should influence the City’s decision-making for the next budget.

Based on these results, City officials are looking for in-depth feedback about which services they feel are most important and what that means for the 2021 Budget.

Click here to take the survey.

https://beheard.regina.ca/budget21

Regina Chamber responds to the 2020 Speech from the Throne

2020 Speech from the Throne

City of Regina announces $2 million Economic Recovery Grant for businesses

620 CKRM The Source

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Contact Us

Regina & District Chamber of Commerce
2145 Albert St.
Regina, SK
S4P 2V1

Phone: (306) 757-4658
Fax: (306) 757-4668
info@reginachamber.com

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