Author Archives : Centre for Civic Governance


Centre for Civic Governance

The Centre for Civic Governance works to support community leadership meeting today’s social and environmental challenges: climate change, Canada’s increasing equity gap, and shifting social trends. At the Centre for Civic Governance, our goal is to strengthen Canadian communities through sharing best practices, providing tools for locally elected leaders, and progressive policy analysis. We strive to provide knowledge and information to make real and positive social change.


Back in House: Why local governments are bringing services home

“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


Ramener les services à l’interne : pourquoi les gouvernements municipaux mettent fin à la sous-traitance et à la privatisation (français)

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


This Green House II

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


E-Newsletter (January 2016)

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


E-Newsletter (November 2015)

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


Transportation Governance – 12 Case Studies

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


Climate Change Backgrounder – The Road to Paris (May 2015)

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


Municipalities and Universal Pharmacare

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? Federal and Provincial Downloading Onto Local Governments

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


Getting the Majority to Vote: Practical solutions to re-engage citizens in local elections

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


Made in BC Ferries: The economic benefits of local ship procurement

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


Food for Thought: Progressive Governance Forum

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


More local governments considering divesting from fossil fuels

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


Municipalities stake a claim for more balanced mining rules in BC

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


Canada’s energy strategy: it’s not just a federal-provincial issue

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


Buying Local: Tools for Forward-Thinking Institutions

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


What’s the Big Deal About CETA?

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


School Board action on Carbon Offsets

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


Dynamic Downtowns: Using Heritage to Build Strong, Vibrant Downtowns

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


Tools for Fair Taxation Webinar

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 Governments Should Have a Bigger Piece of the Pie

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


Municipal government and school districts planning together

“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


Tools for Fair Taxation WEBINAR

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