Updated April 20, 2022
The District of Sooke is proud of the diversity of local businesses that operate within the community. This page was initially developed to support businesses during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and will evolve over the coming months to provide information to local businesses as well as visitors.
Community Economic Development Committee
The purpose of the Select Committee on Community Economic Development is to provide recommendations to Council regarding community economic development initiatives that focus on building fairer and stronger local economies, tackling poverty and homelessness, and investing in sustainable communities (Canadian Community Economic Development Network definition).
The objectives of the Committee are to promote community economic development initiatives, engage and communicate with community groups, business owners and members of the public, and facilitate economic development and the planning and use of community spaces and resources while advancing economic, environmental and social goals.
- Review key commercial parcels, including those held privately, and explore opportunities for development
- Liaise with South Island Prosperity Partnership
- Address workforce challenges for local employers
- Attract and promote investment including the completion of the Community Investment Brochure and updates to Sooke profile on britishcolumbia.ca
- Support Buy Local initiatives, business retention and expansion
- Complete Municipal and Regional Destination Tax (MRDT) application
- Develop a Tourism Strategy for Sooke
- Support social and economic development initiatives of Social Services organizations
- Identify opportunities and make recommendations on innovative projects to help achieve carbon neutrality
- Provide a local perspective on climate change mitigation and adaptation while considering the balance between economic, environmental and social aspects
- Communicate and develop relationships with organizations beyond the District of Sooke to exchange ideas, experiences, plans and successes
Community Economic Development Strategy
The District’s Community Economic Development Committee has developed a Community Economic Development (CED) Strategy and Action Plan (the “Strategy”), which was adopted on December 13, 2021.
Citizen, business and organization engagement was carried out over the summer of 2021, and the Strategy takes into account the feedback provided during the engagement. Development of the Strategy used a Low Carbon Resilience approach to analyze potential actions. The Strategy is nested in Climate Action.
Sooke’s community economy realizes environmental, social and economic co-benefits for all residents/citizens, is grounded in its vital partnership with the T’Sou-ke First Nation, and is Low Carbon Resilient, diversified, resilient and adaptable.
1. To attract new businesses and organizations that are Low Carbon Resilient. Definition of Low Carbon Resilient businesses are those that, to the greatest extent possible:
- contribute to a circular economy,
- protect natural resources and carbon sinks,
- provide protection from climate risks,
- lower GHG emissions,
- identify social, environmental and economic co-benefits as part of the business vision.
2. To support existing businesses and organizations to grow, thrive and create jobs in Sooke.
3. To augment opportunities for all Sooke residents to contribute to, participate in, and benefit from, a healthy community and Low Carbon Resilient economy. Specific strategies and actions with timelines are included, to provide guidance on implementation, and to ensure that implementation begins following Council adoption of the Strategy.
Checkout Bag Bylaw to Comes into Effect May 22, 2022
This bylaw was adopted at the November 22, 2021 Regular Council meeting and regulates the provision of bags provided to customers at the point of sale; including plastic bags, paper bags, and reusable bags.
This bylaw is in place to encourage consumers to bring their own reusable bags for retail transactions. Following provincial legislation, businesses must charge for paper and resuable checkout bags. The District’s bylaw sets a minimum of $0.25 for paper checkout bags provided at the point of sale, and a minimum of $2.00 for reusable bags.
We want to know how best the District can help businesses implement these changes and educate customers on the Checkout Bag Bylaw. If your business would like to receive public education materials from the District, please let us know by completing this form before January 31, 2022.
With this new bylaw, businesses are permitted to implement a “take a bag, leave a bag” program for plastic checkout bags to reduce the financial impact on customers for whom the minimum charges for paper bags and reusable bags are prohibitive.
WorkSafe BC has made additional resources for businesses available:
- Reviewing and updating your COVID-19 safety plan: A guide for employers
- Updated entry check for workers poster
- Updated entry check for visitors poster
There are a number of agencies dedicated to ensuring small businesses in British Columbia have the resources they need during these difficult times. We have compiled several of these resources below in the ‘Links for Businesses’ area. If you find any additional resources that you would like to share please email them to SEPPlanningChief@sooke.ca.
The Provincial Government has several economic development resources available that can be found. Personal Service Establishments and Major Planned Events have been temporarily suspended in BC. Click here for more information.
The Federal Government has announced an $82 billion pandemic aid package for Canadians. This includes income supports, flexible options for taxpayers, mortgage default management tools, support for businesses and more. Click here to read more about Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
Tourism Business Resources
The Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program will be providing Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast tourism businesses with meaningful, hands-on guidance and support to navigate the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, adapt and work towards long-term resiliency.
Links for Businesses
- South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP) – Resources
- Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce
- Resources for Small Businesses (Small Businesses BC site)
- Small Business Support (Small Businesses BC site)
- Economic Development Resources (Provincial Gov’t site)
- BC Economic Response Plan of Businesses
- BC Economic Development Association – Information
- Entrepreneurs Resource (BC Centre for Disease Control site)
- Personal Service Establishments
- Provincial Tax & Revenue Changes