Press Release | Tri-Cities Chamber Announces 2020 Business Excellence Awards Winners

Press Release | Tri-Cities Chamber Announces 2020 Business Excellence Awards Winners

(TRI-CITIES) February 1, 2021 – The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Business Excellence Awards.  Winners in each of our nine categories have demonstrated success, innovation, and passion in their respective fields.  The Tri-Cities Chamber recognized the accomplishments of these businesses and individuals at the 20th anniversary Business Excellence Awards Gala held virtually on January 30, 2021.

We would also like to acknowledge our finalists in each of the award categories, as well as our Chamber Member of the Year, Chris Chong.  These businesses and individuals are an integral part of the Tri-Cities business community and we wish them continued success in their respective industries.

Congratulations to all award winners and nominees, and thank you to all those who attended the Gala. If you missed it, you can view the recording on our Facebook page at

The winners of the 2020 Business Excellence Awards are:

Business of the Year (1-10 Employees): Butter Studios

Finalists: Engineered Bodies Strength & Conditioning, PlayWorks Physio & Labour Rights Law

Business of the Year (11-30 Employees): Ballistic Arts Media Studios
Finalists: G Force Gym & Eco Paving

Business of the Year (30+ Employees): Rocky Point Ice Cream
Finalists: Summit Labels & Woody’s Pub & Liquor Store

Not-for-Profit of the Year: Immigrant Link Centre Society
Finalists: Act2 | Child and Family Services &  Coquitlam Public Library

Community Spirit Award: Malik Malikzada, Jamila’s Kitchen & Grill
Finalists: Coquitlam Centre & Tri-Cities Community Foundations

Business Leader of the Year: Angela Calla, The Angela Calla Mortgage Team
Finalists: Sharon Perry, Sharon Perry & Associates, CPA & Bill Laidler, Laidler Group

Young Professional of the Year: Jessica Morrison, Squish Juicery

Finalists: Paul Choi, Juris Notary & Yasaman Madanikia, Expressions Counselling

Environmental Steward of the Year: Fulfill Shoppe

Finalists: Port Moody Refillery & Wesbild

Business Resiliency Award: Legends Haul & Novo Textiles

Finalists: Coquitlam Florist, Patina Brewing & Galactic Entertainment

Chamber Member of the Year: Chris Chong, Butter Studios

“We are extremely proud of the wealth of outstanding businesses here in the Tri-Cities,” said Michael Hind, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber. “All of the 2020 finalists have demonstrated business excellence and a commitment to bettering our community, they should be extremely proud of their nominations.”

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is a proactive network of business-minded individuals that are committed to acting as an accessible, visible, supportive and reciprocal resource to our members and the Tri-Cities at large, communicating their collective voice to help shape a prosperous business community.

Stephanie Rennie, Director, Operations


Press Release | Does your business have a continuity plan in the event of a crisis?

Does your business have a continuity plan in the event of a crisis?

(TRI-CITIES) March 4, 2020 – In January 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a Coronavirus disease in Hubei Province, China to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

WHO and public health authorities around the world are taking action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Everyone in our society – including businesses and employers – must play a role if we are to stop the spread of this disease.

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is reminding businesses that with everything that’s currently going on, it’s important, as part of Canada’s business community, to have a pandemic preparedness and crisis plan in place. It will be peace of mind for your business now and for any future situations.

“There are many circumstances that can create chaos in your small business such as injury or sickness, loss of major customers, but often forgotten are pandemic issues or even natural disasters. Critical business situations can lead to financial distress. It’s good for businesses to have continuity plans in place,” says Michael Hind, CEO Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, “Businesses need to plan their response in advance of an emergency by establishing clear policies for monitoring the situation, commitments businesses will make to employees and budget available for contingencies.”

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce have gathered some resources that you may find useful to help get your business prepared in case of an emergency.

It is not too late to plan for the effects of a crisis and The Chamber urges all business owners who have not yet done so to give the current situation serious consideration and use the many resources available in their business planning processes.

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is a proactive network of business-minded individuals that are committed to acting as an accessible, visible, supportive and reciprocal resource to our members and the Tri-Cities at large, communicating their collective voice to help shape a prosperous business community.

For further information, please contact:

Michael Hind, Chief Executive Officer


Alexander King, Public Policy Advisor


Ine Van Aken, Communications Coordinator


Press Release | BC Budget 2020

Press Release | BC Budget 2020


“BC Budget 2020 continues the government’s focus on affordability, but lacks a sorely needed ‘competitive business strategy’ for the province” – Michael Hind, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

The 2020 BC Budget, released yesterday afternoon, February 18th, continues the provincial government’s laudable investments in affordability, but lacks a defined provincial competitiveness strategy to help the business sector that is being left to foot a large part of that bill. Since the government’s Budget 2017 update, we have seen BC’s tax competitiveness decline with:

  1. The corporate tax rate increasing from 11% to 12%
  2. Carbon tax still increasing $5/tonne per year on its way to $50 per tonne by 2021.
  3. The Employer’s Health Tax set to cost businesses and other organizations $1.9 billion this fiscal year, and over $2 billion by 2022/23.
  4. The speculation and vacancy tax in the Lower Mainland, Capital Region District, Nanaimo region, and the Kelowna/West Kelowna area.

Businesses have also been dealing with other tax burdens such as commercial property tax increases due to the “highest and best use” standard.

Despite that, the Tri-Cities Chamber recognizes positive measures such as the enhanced BC Child Opportunity Benefit that will put more money back into the pockets of families. The government is also investing an additional $419 million for Clean BC initiatives over the next 4 years including for energy efficiency retrofits in schools and hospitals, and continues its support for the 10-year Homes for BC plan that will build affordable homes for low and middle-income families. On the labour front, the new BC Access Grant together with the Canada Access Grant will give up to $4,000 to students looking to complete a degree, diploma or certificate.

The 2020 Budget remains balanced with forecasted revenues continuing to grow at a steady pace, though largely funded by tax increases to business. Provincial economic calculations have baked in a good amount of fiscal prudence to give the budget a cushion in case of a slowdown in the economy. The provincial surplus for 2019/20 remains a modest $203 million with an estimated surplus for 2020/21 at $227 million. The budget contains Forecast Allowances of $300 million and a contingency of $600 million for 2020.

The Chamber network continues to monitor BC’s debt projections. Taxpayer supported debt-to-GDP continues to increase due to capital investments in transportation, education, and health infrastructure. $9.2 billion over 5 years is going to trade, highway, and transit infrastructure projects. The provincial debt-to-GDP ratio is still at a strong 14.6% but is projected to climb slightly to 17.1% in 2022/23. Meanwhile, taxpayer supported debt-to-revenue – a key metric in determining provincial credit ratings – is at 77.9% and trending higher to 94.4% by 2022/23. This level is acceptable assuming revenue projections materialize, but any slowdown in the economy could see that number begin to impact our credit rating.

The Tri-Cities Chamber welcomes continued affordability investments in health, education, childcare, and housing but are disappointed to see a lack of corresponding improvements to provincial competitiveness. Cost of doing business remains a problem for our members as does growing issues in finding labour. Energy intensive, trade exposed businesses are not receiving adequate support as the province shifts towards a lower carbon economy. Overall, the tax burden on businesses will cause growth and hiring to slow, and BC’s deteriorating tax competitiveness will discourage investment in the province over the long term.



The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is a proactive network of business-minded individuals that are committed to acting as an accessible, visible, supportive and reciprocal resource to our members and the Tri-Cities at large, communicating their collective voice to help shape a prosperous business community.

For further information, please contact:

Michael Hind, Chief Executive Officer
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce


Alexander King, Public Policy Advisor
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce


Stephanie Rennie, Director Of Operations
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce


Feature Member | Reviving 5,000 years of Civilization Society

Feature Member | Reviving 5,000 years of Civilization Society

The Reviving 5,000 Years of Civilization Society is a non-for profit organization established in Vancouver in 2014 by a group of people who treasure the value of traditional Chinese culture and believe that these values are highly important in today’s world.


What’s one thing you would like people to know about your business?
As “Reviving 5,000 Years of Civilization Society”  the one thing we would like people to know about is our current project “Shen Yun Performing Arts” . The New York show is a true celebration of the Middle Kingdom’s rich 5,000-year-old civilization and will be coming to Vancouver March 13-22, 2020 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

What is your favourite thing about what you do?
Through promotion of Shen Yun, we are able to introduce and educate Canadians about what the glorious real traditional Chinese culture is all about. We are incredibly proud to be a part of its revival.

What is the best-kept secret about your products/services?
We provide a world class show that’s not only entertaining but also calming, uplifting, inspiring, and deeply spiritual through the universal language, beautiful dance, and music. An exhilarating experience that showcases the magical world of ancient China that many audiences around the world have grown to love.

What tip would you give to someone who is starting a business?
To be successful in a profit environment, it is crucial to provide good services – the client comes first and that is the key to success we believe. For non-profit business, your passion is the driving force to your success.


Vivian Yu
Reviving 5,000 Years of Civilization Society

STATEMENT | Provincial Legislation for Interim Business Property Tax Relief a Step in the Right Direction

STATEMENT | Provincial Legislation for Interim Business Property Tax Relief a Step in the Right Direction


On January 17th, the provincial government announced plans to introduce legislation in the Spring of 2020 to provide interim property tax relief to small businesses, non-profits, and arts and culture organizations facing unusually steep property tax bills due to sudden large increases in the value of their leased property.

According to the government news release, the legislation would give municipalities the ability to exempt part of the value of a select number of commercial properties from taxation, easing the tax burden for tenants responsible for property taxes through their commercial leases.

Under the commonly used system of triple-net leases for commercial properties, small businesses pay the property expenses such as property taxes, building insurance, and maintenance in addition to rent. The result is that the tenants pay most of the costs associated with owning the property but see none of the windfalls from increased values.

Over the past few years, many triple-net lease businesses across the Lower Mainland have faced steep increases in their property taxes that have often proved untenable, forcing them to close down. Several of these have been longstanding businesses with decades of history in their communities. The problem is complex but has generally been found in areas where property values have risen dramatically due to zoning or official community plan changes. Nonetheless, the problem involves a number of intermingling factors.

“This is an issue that we have championed for over a year so we understand its complexity and appreciate the province’s desire to solve the problem without unintentionally creating new ones”, said Chamber CEO Michael Hind. “I am happy to see this issue getting the attention it requires, and await further details on the new interim measures so we can properly assess their impact. Nonetheless, our Chamber stresses the need for a comprehensive solution such as the one supported by the lower mainland chambers – namely, to achieve a split assessment through the creation of a new commercial subclass.”

The proposed legislation would apply to the 2020 tax year and be in effect for a maximum of five years. It is being designed to provide a tool for municipalities with enough flexibility to provide tax exemptions to target specific businesses and non-profit organizations to support those most impacted by the current framework, without changing an already complex assessment system.

For the BC government’s news release, please click here.

Expert Article | What to Do Before Entering a Difficult Conversation

Expert Article | What to do before entering a difficult conversation


Imagine this…

You are about to enter a client meeting. You already know the client is upset. This is the third time you have had to move the order of delivery and you are aware that your client will not be happy to hear about it.

You are having a team meeting and you have to address a co-worker who has publicly dismissed your idea and questioned your credibility.

Management has called you to a meeting and although you do not know the exact nature of the meeting you fear that your job may be in jeopardy.

The growing data around self-regulation and learning has many connections for the workplace. Whenever we are engaged in conflict, tense or pressured environments our bodies will behave as if we are under physical threat. We will respond physiologically as if a sabretooth tiger is coming at us. The increase in cortisol, endorphins and adrenaline can prevent us from thinking, strategizing, and managing our feelings. Before you enter a difficult conversation or tense meeting there are a number of things you can do to help you represent your best self.

What can you do?

Your sympathetic system will be activated. That means you will have increased sweat, your mouth may be dry, you may feel cold you may feel your eyes are dry or dilated or tensed you might feel like your hands are cold or, your digestion stops and you may have limited access to your prefrontal cortex. That’s the part of your brain that engages in organization, future thinking, and creative solution finding. You will most likely have increased energy as your body prepares to manage the threat. Common feelings are anxious, worry, frustration, annoyance, anger or nervousness. Finding strategies to manage and release that energy will be key to having you stay present with your prefrontal cortex engaged in the difficult conversation. Here are a few strategies:

  1. Identify Your Feeling. Notice what is happening in your body. Take a moment to ask yourself, how do I feel right now? The first plan of action is to be able to clearly address what is happening in your body. Take small breaks during the day to notice how feelings are expressed throughout your body.  What does hungry, thirsty, tired, calm, content, relaxed feel like?  Where does annoyed, unhappy, uncomfortable, and jealous show up in your body?  It is important that you become familiar with the physical signals that show up especially for uncomfortable feelings.
  1. Practice Managing Uncomfortable Feelings. Everyone should have a well-rehearsed toolkit of coping strategies to manage distress. Some simple strategies include; move your body, shake your hands, move your feet from side to side, walk, jumping jacks, call a friend, find a quiet spot and breathe, pray or meditate, or go outside. Any kind of physical movement that can help you remove some of the energy out of your body before you enter the space will help you.
  1. Stay Hydrated. When you are overwhelmed or feeling under threat taking, small sips of water can help you stay in your prefrontal cortex and keep you present. Especially if you find yourself with a dry mouth, water can be a great support.
  1. Breathe. I know this is a no-brainer but it’s one of the first things we stop to do when we feel under threat. We breathe shallow in our chest rather than from our belly. Just having long deep breaths especially the out breath, will help regulate your nervous system and help calm you down.
  1. Make a Plan for Future You. Before you enter a difficult conversation or conflict, make a plan or think about something that you will do after the meeting. Go for lunch with a friend or call your partner or block off an hour of time to be alone. Having a clear idea of something that will happen after the meeting will also help you remember that life goes on after difficult conversations. The more difficult the conversation, the more self-care your idea should be.

The more you practice becoming aware of your body’s responses to distress, the more practice you have at physically managing those experiences the better you will be to handle the difficult conversation. Take care of your body first. Have a plan to manage your feelings and regulate your nervous system so that you can have the best chance to stay focused and less reactive in the midst of difficult conversations.


About The Author

As a conflict facilitator and coach. Dr. Garzitto helps leaders, managers and employees gain the skills to stay in the room when conflict arises. Through one on one personal coaching, workplace or team instruction, mediation and workshop trainings, clients learn to transform painful struggle into healthy and productive outcomes. They are provided with the tools and the practice to wage good conflict in the workplace.  This includes conflict assessment, personalized training, rehearsal and script development to support direct coaching in real time conflict situations.

Statement | Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Supports Move Toward Regional Business License for Ride-hailing

Statement | Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Supports Move Toward Regional Business License for Ride-hailing


The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce congratulates the Translink Mayors’ Council on the decision to fast-track the development of a regional ride hailing license that will reduce red-tape and compliance costs in this emerging sector. The regional license push is a joint action between the 23 local and municipal governments in Metro Vancouver, but could potentially include all willing municipalities between Hope in the Fraser Valley and Pemberton in the Sea-to-Sky region. The December 12th decision is a step forward in regional coordination of ride-hailing licenses that would otherwise have been developed piece-meal by individual municipalities, each with their own fee structures and licensing costs.  

Without a regional approach ride hailing providers might choose to operate only in more lucrative municipalities such as Vancouver, given the cumulative regulatory and financial burden posed by patchwork licensing from municipality to municipality. This could leave some parts of the region under-served, likely suburban areas such as the Tri-Cities.

The cities of Port Moody, Coquitlam, and Port Coquitlam had already started the process of creating a sub-regional ride hailing business license for the Tri-Cities while appealing for a larger regional license to be established. We are pleased to see that the proactive efforts of our regional municipalities has helped convince the Mayors’ Council of the need for a regional license. 

As the process towards a regional license will take many months, the Tri-Cities Chamber supports the recommendation from Translink that in the interim “municipalities aim for as much consistency as possible in their individual municipal business license bylaws to lay a strong foundation for an eventual Inter-municipal business license.”(1.) Alternatively, Translink also suggests that municipalities could “provide a temporary exemption for the need to obtain a business license. This is an approach that a number of municipalities are currently considering and would avoid overburdening ride hailing operators with cumulative license fees which, in their totality, are potentially prohibitive.”(2.) 


  1. “Public Agenda – December 12, 2019.” Translink. December 12, 2019. URL:
  2.  “On-Table Report – Ride-hailing.” Translink. December 12, 2019. URL:

Chamber Announces 2019 Business Excellence Awards Finalists

Chamber Announces 2019 Business Excellence Awards Finalists

(TRI-CITIES) November 21, 2019 – The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce our 2019 Business Excellence Awards Finalists! All of our nominees demonstrated passion for business and the Tri-Cities community. We wish them all great success in their respective industries.

The finalists for the 2019 Business Excellence Awards are:

Business of the Year (1-10 Employees)
Aging My Way Home Care
Dave’s Custom Metal Works
PlayWorks Physio
Squish Juicery
Strive Health + Performance

Business of the Year (11-30 Employees)
Creative Transportation Solutions
PULSE Dance Centre
West World Paper

Business of the Year (30+ Employees)
Coast Therapy
Executive Plaza Hotel Coquitlam
Hard Rock Casino Vancouver

Young Professional of the Year
Kelso Kennedy, RedStamp Agency
Taryn Barker, The Little Butcher
Yasaman Madanikia, Expressions Counselling

Business Leader of the Year
Chris Chong, Butter Studios
Ryan Peterson, Finger Food
Angela Calla, The Angela Calla Mortgage Team

Community Spirit Award
Sandpiper Signs & Decals
Team Léo – RE/MAX All Points Realty

Not-for-Profit of the Year
Build a Biz Kids
New View Society


“Congratulations to the 2019 Business Excellence Awards Finalists,” says Michael Hind, Chief Executive Officer of the Tri-Cities Chamber. “We’re excited to recognize all of the hard work, innovation and dedication of our diverse business community! These businesses have demonstrated an exemplary record in business and a passion for the Tri-Cities community.”

Check out your finalists online! We’re asking Tri-Cities residents to weigh in on who they think should win in each of our categories. Visit, read about each of the finalists, and then vote for your favourites. Your votes will help our judging panel choose our winners.

Winners will be awarded at our annual Business Excellence Awards Gala on February 1, 2020 at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver. Click here to register.

– 30 –

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is a proactive network of business-minded individuals that are committed to acting as an accessible, visible, supportive and reciprocal resource to our members and the Tri-Cities at large, communicating their collective voice to help shape a prosperous business community.

For further information, please contact:

Ine Van Aken, Communications Coordinator


Chloe Wan, Events Coordinator


Meet your Federal Candidates

Meet your Federal Candidates

With Election Day just around the corner, it’s important to know who you are voting for. The Tri-City News has just released a series of videos that will help you get to know the candidates in your riding. You can view these videos below. Be sure to follow the accompanying links to travel to each candidate’s personal website if you wish to know more about their platform.

Remember, while Election Day is on October 21st, 2019, there are many easy ways to cast your vote before then. Check out Elections Canada for more information. Make sure you get out and vote this October!

Port Moody – Coquitlam

New Democratic Party: Bonita Zarillo

Website: Bonita Zarillo

Liberal Party: Sara Badiei

Website: Sara Badiei

Conservative Party: Nelly Shin

Website: Nelly Shin

Green Party: Bryce Watts

Website: Bryce Watts

People’s Party: Jayson Chabot

Website: Jayson Chabot

Coquitlam – Port Coquitlam

Liberal Party: Ron McKinnon

Website: Ron McKinnon

Conservative Party: Nicholas Insley

Website: Nicholas Insley

New Democratic Party: Christina Gower

Website: Christina Gower

Green Party: Brad Nickason

Website: Brad Nickason

Editorial | Mayors Share Regional Issues at BBQ

Editorial | Mayors Share Regional Issues at BBQ

Well, summer is over and things are starting to get busy in the local business community. At the municipal
level, the Chamber hosted our annual Mayors BBQ earlier this month. All three cities and both villages that
make up our wonderful community were represented by their mayors.

It was an entertaining night for all who attended. Behind the laughs and banter, a number of issues facing
our community were brought forward. The Fremont Connector – which bridges the emerging community of
Burke Mountain in Coquitlam and the Fremont area of Port Coquitlam with access to the Mary Hill Bypass
and the Lougheed Highway – remains an un-resolved issue at this time. This is an important north/south connection within the region that will need to be built to accommodate the huge growth coming in North-
east Coquitlam.

Belcarra has a major issue with it’s emergency water supply. The city’s current reserve can only hold enough water to fight a fire for around one hour before it is depleted, and the pumping capacity to refill it is not sufficient for the community and its emergency needs. The consequences of this could be disastrous should a major fire break out in this heavily wooded community and spread to the surrounding forest.

Anmore is anticipating a proposal to come to council later this year for development of a 52-acre parcel of property in it’s part of the Ioco Lands. The project would be the largest single development in the village’s history and perhaps bring some retail and commercial space to the area.

It was revealed that Coquitlam does not have a plan at this time to allow retail marijuana stores within the city. But neighbouring Port Coquitlam has a process in place for applications and is awaiting Provincial approval of some of the applications.

Port Moody is dealing with perennial concerns around transportation. There is added density along Clarke and Murray Street with the approval of Westport Village by Barnet Highway, and the rising popularity of Brewers Row and Rocky Point Park as regional tourist spots. All are putting pressure on the already congested roads in Port Moody centre. In conjunction, through traffic is only going to increase along St. John’s Street.

The Chamber’s hope is that all our communities can work together to find that common ground that works for all busineess and residents of the Tri-Cities. We will keep working towards that goal.


Michael Hind, CEO