Nanaimo Chamber Speaker Series

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nanaimo Chamber started a weekly Speaker Series hosting local political representatives and business leaders in our community. This series was created to provide up-to-date information and resources for concerned business owners in a variety of sectors affected by COVID-19.

Although our Speaker Series has come to an end, the Chamber continues to develop new programming designed to continue supporting the Nanaimo business community in their restart and recovery.

We wish to express our sincerest gratitude to all our panelists and participants in this series. Thank you!

June 19, 2020 | Join us in celebrating our local First Nations and to learn more about National Indigenous Peoples Day this Sunday, June 21st, 2020. 

Our first guest panelist, Erralyn Thomas, will be sharing information about the Treaty of 1854 and the historical Crown-Snuneymuxw relationship. Our second guest panelist, Dave Bodaly, will be showing us his studio space dedicated to creating cedar weavings and carvings, in addition to teaching the next generation these techniques and traditions. Our third panelist, Beau Wagner, will be giving us a tour of his carving cabin and share his progress in carving a canoe.

For more information about programs and classes, or to arrange a visit with either Dave Bodaly or Beau Wagner, please feel free to reach out via the following email addresses:

Dave Bodaly:

Beau Wagner:

June 12, 2020 | This week we welcomed Member of Parliament, Paul Manly, and Member of the Legislative Assembly, Sheila Malcolmson, to review government support programs and learn more about what actions government is taking to restart our economy.

June 5, 2020 | This week we welcomed RCMP Superintendent, Cameron Miller, in conversation with Nanaimo Chamber CEO, Kim Smythe. Our discussion focused on homelessness and crime reduction in our community, issues with domestic violence and mental health, and Indigenous policing services. 

May 29, 2020 | This week we welcomed Laraine Ashpole from the Employers’ Advisers Office to discuss WorkSafeBC regulations and occupational health, insurance and compensation information.

Her role is to provide independent advice, assistance, representation and training to employers concerning workers’ compensation issues.

To access more information about the Employers’ Advisers Office, visit:

To view the Covid-19 Refusal of Unsafe Work webinar mentioned in this video, visit:

To contact Laraine for advice, email:

May 22, 2020 | This week we’ve welcomed VIU’s Community Engagement Coordinator for the MBA Internship Program, Cynthia Lange, and WorkBC’s Employment Relations Specialist, John Tait, to discuss how employment opportunities may change as businesses get back to work in the aftermath of Covid-19. Discover what has changed, and what is yet to come. 

May 15, 2020 | Join our panelists, Rory Kulmala, from the Vancouver Island Construction Association, and Kerriann Coady, of the Canadian Homebuilders Association, as we discuss the importance of development and construction to the local economy and employment.

May 8, 2020 | Join our panelists, Dr. David Coupland, President of the Medical Staff Association at NRGH, as he discusses the state of local health care amidst the pandemic, and Dr. Joris Wiggers, Head of Psychiatry at NRGH, as he discusses the impacts COVID-19 has had on mental health.

May 1, 2020 | President and CEO of the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association, Ian Tostenson, discusses the state and fate of dine-out businesses in our community and across BC.

Another sector facing tremendous challenges is retail, so our expert panelist for this topic is Mark Fenwick, GM of Woodgrove Centre in Nanaimo, the largest shopping centre on Vancouver Island.

April 24, 2020 | Join Graham Truax, from Innovation Island, and Calum Mathews, from Tourism Nanaimo, as we discuss the Digital Economic Response Program (DER3) and the BC Tourism Resiliency Network.

The Digital Economic Response Program (DER3) is providing personalized technical and industry expertise to enterprises ready to adapt their business models to the digital economy.

The BC Tourism Resiliency Network provides tourism businesses with practical assistance as they navigate the current crisis, through to their eventual recovery, post-pandemic.

April 17, 2020 | Join Mayor Leonard Krog as he discusses measures the city is taking to get through the Covid-19 crisis, including possible considerations for our business community.

Panelist, Ian Thorpe, Regional District of Nanaimo Chair, discusses actions the RDN are adopting to help Nanaimo’s commercial and residential taxpayers.

April 9, 2020 | MLA, Sheila Malcolmson, guides us through provincial government programs available to businesses, and local lawyer, Greg Phillips, navigates the world of legal frameworks for employees and employers during this challenging time.

April 3, 2020 | MP, Paul Manly, guides participants through government programs available for businesses and individuals including EI.

Lawyer, Greg Phillips of Johnston Franklin Bishop, helps navigate the legal frameworks for employers and employees during this challenging time.

© Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce | Photography by Dirk Heydemann HA Photography | Video by Tannar Pictures