“Back in House: Why Local Governments are Bringing Services Home” says that across Canada and around the world public services that were once outsourced are now finding their way back in-house to municipalities, mainly because using in-house services saves money. That means the expected benefits from privatizing services are not as significant as expected. Download English READ MORE
Le rapport “Ramener les services à l’interne: pourquoi les gouvernements municipaux mettent fin à la sous-traitance et à la privatisation” s’intéresse, comme son nom l’indique, à la tendance actuelle au retour des services à l’interne. Le plus souvent, ce sont les coûts qui incitent les municipalités à ramener les services à l’interne, les économies promises par READ MORE
Read the full Briefing Notes The housing market in British Columbia is broken and making it more affordable will require taking several approaches at the same time, according to a new report from the CCPA.
We held our annual Columbia Institute Reception during FCM in Winnipeg on June 2 at the historic Fort Garry Hotel.
At High Ground 2016, we asked attendees to send a message to the United Nations in the form of a 30 second video that addressed the question: “What does the Paris Agreement mean for me?.” We then shared these videos with our community right before the official Paris Agreement signing ceremony was held on Earth Day (April READ MORE
Read the full Briefing Notes Space in schools is a hot topic: While BC school districts struggle to fill schools, the rules are different in Alberta, where the Calgary district is working on a plan to reduce capacity.
This Green House II follows up on our 2011 research on residential energy retrofit financing. The updated report is about opening the door for local government leadership on home retrofits through minor changes in local improvement charge legislation. Since buildings contribute as much as 30% of community greenhouse gas emissions this represents a huge opportunity. READ MORE
Read the full February Briefing Notes High Ground: Tools for Engaged Leaders, our 2016 Civic Governance Forum, is just weeks away! The final program is posted on our website . So take a look at the program and register!
Read the full January Briefing Notes Hey elected official? What are your top asks? The scope for local governments to reduce green house gas emissions is largely unnoticed in Canadian media coverage of climate change, yet decisions made by local governments can directly or indirectly influence 45% of GHGs. Many local governments are rising to the climate challenge, while others are READ MORE
Read the full December 2015 Briefing Notes . Half of the Columbia Institute Team was in Paris for the #COP21 Climate Summit early this month (thanks to our Executive Director, Charley Beresford, for the photos) and it was indeed a historical global moment. We’ll share our report with with you in the new year, but for now here’s one of our favorite highlights! READ MORE
Read the full October 2015 Briefing Notes . With the Paris climate talks (COP21) around the corner, we are dedicating this issue of our monthly e-newsletter to climate action. There is much hope for the climate discussions in Paris, despite the horrific terror attacks. If anything, this may strengthen all of our resolve to replace the expiring 1990 Kyoto agreement—the world’s first READ MORE
Briefing Notes On Monday, November 19th, Canadians voted for change. A fresh, new government like the one we delivered to each other yesterday offers new conversation windows to achieve more inclusive communities, an economy that works in harmony with the environment and a brighter future. The Columbia Institute has been proud to play a role in public READ MORE
This note updates, verifies and adds to the information contained in Regional Transportation Governance: Selected Case Studies produced by the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority in 2006. It contains information about 12 transportation agencies in Canada, the U.S., France, the U.K., and Finland. All of the cases are regional transportation agencies, though the scope of their responsibilities varies. Some are responsible for multi-modal transportation systems, while others READ MORE
Briefing Notes Welcome to the latest edition of our e-newsletter, Briefing Notes, a monthly compilation of news, articles and reports covering the most recent issues and trends shaping our communities. Read the full newsletter here: Briefing Notes
Energy use in buildings accounts for a significant portion of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada. In British Columbia, they account for 29% of energy use and 12% of emissions. Read Retrofit Backgrounder
2016 High Ground: Tools for Engaged Leaders was held at Harrison Hot Springs Hotel & Resort from April 1-2.
Almost 200 countries will meet in Paris this December for a legally-binding global climate agreement on curbing carbon emissions, with the goal of limiting global warming to 2ºC from pre-industrial levels. This is the 21st UNFCCC COP (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – Conference of the Parties). The Union of Concerned Scientists READ MORE
96.5% of local elected municipal leaders say that federal and provincial downloading of costs onto local governments is a problem for their community.1 A new story about downloading is the one emerging through the national pharmacare conversation launched by Canadian Doctors for Medicare.1 Why? There is no universal plan to cover the costs of prescription drugs READ MORE
Who’s Picking Up the Tab? investigates the scale and scope of downloading onto local governments from federal and provincial governments, using B.C. as a case study. Surveys of local leaders and senior staff, a fresh analysis of statistical and financial data and case studies of key policy areas provide a clear picture of responsibilities and READ MORE
Across BC voting is decreasing in all levels of elections—federal, provincial and municipal. Voter turnout in federal and provincial elections is now below 60 per cent, but more dramatically we are seeing many municipal elections in which only 20 to 30 per cent of people go out to vote. What is happening in communities where 70 to 80 per cent of READ MORE
2015 High Ground: Tools for Inspired Leaders was held at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites in Vancouver, BC from March 20 to March 21.
The Columbia Institute’s local economy work is hitting the news with the recent announcement that three new BC ferries will be built offshore by Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland. Check out Made-In-BC Ferries for a detailed analysis of how our local economy would grow if they were built in BC instead. Listen to an interview READ MORE
Metro Vancouver is a powerful purchaser in the region. In 2012, the total payments to Canadian suppliers by the regional district – over 750 – was over $800 million. The regional district’s current Sustainable Procurement Procedures and Green Procurement Procedures, focus on the conduct of suppliers and contractors relating to environment attributes of READ MORE
On May 29, 2014, we hosted an extended lunch forum on ‘Rising to the Climate Challenge’ with IPCC Climate Scientist Dr. Danny Harvey, and Toronto Councillor Mike Layton. Download Dr. Harvey’s presentation on the latest climate science here . Download Councillor Layton’s presentation on Toronto’s ground breaking home retrofit financing program here .
The full agenda and more information about Food For Thought, which ran April 4-5, 2014, at the Coast Plaza Hotel in Vancouver, can be found here . Videos from the Pecha Kucha style presentations, and Paula Daniels’ Keynote, can be found here . Conference Session Resources: TAKING ACTION – As global discussions work towards a READ MORE
Institutional procurement is a powerful, and often underutilized, economic development strategy that can positively impact “value added” economic sectors. How and where procurement dollars are spent can have important economic effects. In July 2013, BC Ferries announced it will put three new intermediate class ferries into service by 2016/2017. The corporation is seeking a fixed READ MORE
Our Progressive Civic Governance Forum is happening April 4th – 5th, 2014 in the Coast Plaza Hotel in downtown Vancouver, BC. The theme is: FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Growing Local Economies, Strengthening Local Leadership Access resources from Food for Thought here . View videos from Food for Thought here. Pre-Conference Sessions: Public Speaking for Local Leaders – Persuasive communications training teaches concepts of message delivery in an intensive, interactive READ MORE
Join us Friday, April 4th for a Dinner & Keynote with Paula Daniels! And help spread the word: FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Growing Local Economies, Feeding Local Communities Friday evening Dinner and Keynote with Paula Daniels April 4th, 2014 at the Coast Plaza Hotel in Vancouver Register for the dinner at: http://www.eply.com/2014CivicGovernanceKeynote Find out more about READ MORE
Paula Daniels – Plenary Speaker Paula Daniels was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Senior Advisor on Food Policy and Special Projects in Water. She is the founder and full-time Chair of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, a policy based collective impact initiative of food system leaders. Pecha Kucha Style Presentations: Hilary Henegar – READ MORE
More and more local governments and education institutions are facing questions about the impacts of climate change, and the risk of having money invested in fossil fuel companies. Mike McGinn, Mayor of Seattle, recently wrote a letter to the President of Harvard, outlining why Seattle decided to persue fossil-fuel divestment. You can read the full READ MORE
Mining in BC is booming. But with outdated regulatory legislation, that boom is presenting challenges for local governments, and at this week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention, councillors from across BC called for the legislation to be updated. The 2011 BC Jobs Plan foreshadowed eight new mines and nine mining expansions operational by 2015. READ MORE
Last month, three Canadian premiers provided a public update on interprovincial efforts to develop a national energy strategy. While their update on the Council of the Federation’s plans opened a needed window on the negotiations, missing from public discussions so far is any reference to the stakes – and potential roles – for municipalities in READ MORE
One of our popular resource guides, Buying Local: Tools for Forward-Thinking Institutions, details specific policies and practices for economic development through local purchasing. Earlier this year, we released a study detailing the economic impact of local purchasing – the first study of its kind in Canada. Using office supply procurement in B.C. as an example, the study measured READ MORE
As our friends at Blue Green Canada have said, “If you’re a homeowner in Ontario, it just became easier to save money. Oh, and it also became easier to help the planet and to support your local economy.” Ontario became the first Province in Canada to open the door for Municipalities to take the lead READ MORE
By Robert Duffy Read this article on The Tyee at: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/05/03/Secrets-of-CETA/ The proposed Canada-Europe Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is generating serious questions and concerns from local governments across Canada. CETA, a sweeping trade and investment deal, is currently in its tenth round of negotiations, and the Canadian government believes it could be READ MORE
The Trustees of British Columbia’s School District 5 (Southeast Kootenay) recently passed the following motion, and wrote an explanatory letter to the Honourable George Abbott, BC Minister of Education. The motion, and letter, communicate challenges they face within the current structure of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, and suggests improvements that would help their district READ MORE
Created in collaboration with the Columbia Institute , the Dynamic Downtowns Workbook is a resource for communities that want to know more about how to include heritage buildings as part of their downtown revitalization strategy. The five ‘Case Studies’ included in the Workbook illustrate examples of how some British Columbia communities are incorporating heritage buildings into their READ MORE
Listen to our webinar on Tools for Fair Taxation, with economist and CCPA research associate Hugh Mackenzie on Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013. Click here to watch and listen to the full Webinar. Click here to download Hugh Mackenzie’s Powerpoint. Click here to read Hugh’s article on Local Government Finance in Ontario, in our Innovative Strategies Leadership Handbook. Hugh Mackenzie is principal in READ MORE
Local government officials meet at the Union of BC Municipalities the week of September 24th through 28th. Climate change, increased social challenges and aging infrastructure will be hot topics. The public is on their side. Polling by the Columbia Institute Centre for Civic Governance shows that British Columbians trust their local politicians twice as much READ MORE
“The District of Mackenzie is hoping to get some feedback from School District 57 on its official community plan. As Mackenzie goes through a recovery of the area, the plan is being formed to deal with the resurgence expected to happen. Chief Administrative Officer Mark Fercho says there have been some changes to the area READ MORE
Listen to our webinar on Tools for Fair Taxation, with economist and CCPA research associate Hugh Mackenzie, that happened Tuesday, Oct 29th, 2013. Click here to watch and listen to the full Webinar. Click here to download Hugh Mackenzie’s Powerpoint. Hugh Mackenzie is principal in an economic consulting business, Hugh Mackenzie and Associates, based in Toronto. He has worked for over 35 years in a variety of capacities related to READ MORE