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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“Our extensive research on the subject of the bundling of construction contracts discloses a common thread. The actual evidence of the impact of project bundling does not support the claims made about its benefits, including substantial costs savings. Furthermore, the analysis set out in this paper leads to the conclusion that the costs of bundled projects may be considerably higher.” READ MORE
“Canadian trade minister Ed Fast says negotiations with the Europe Union are re-launching early next month in a final push to complete a comprehensive deal, adding all that is needed is a “little flexibility” on both sides. He gave no specifics but sources have said the major stumbling blocks include the EU’s reluctance to READ MORE
“Coastal flooding could cost the global economy $1 trillion a year a few short decades from now due to the rise in sea levels caused by global warming if action is not taken now to stem the flow and Vancouver is one of the cities most at-risk for losses, says a new study.” To read the full article on the Vancouver Sun click here.
“Slashing energy consumption by a quarter over the next decade or so could create 25,000 new jobs, concludes a report by a coalition of environmentalists and unions. The group, Blue Green Canada, maintains that curbing power use would add $3.7 billion to the economy and help cut the federal and provincial deficits by almost $2 READ MORE
“Some good news for a change when it comes to global warming: A new bipartisan poll shows strong support among young voters for taking action about climate change. That’s incredibly encouraging. And it gets better: 79 percent say they are more likely to vote for someone who supports action on climate change, and 73 percent say they would voteagainst someone READ MORE
“A new massive U.S. study says the world in 2012 sweltered with continued signs of climate change. Rising sea levels, snow melt, heat buildup in the oceans, and melting Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheets, all broke or nearly broke records, but temperatures only sneaked into the top 10.” To read the full article on CTV click here.
“The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker READ MORE
“Shifts in climate are strongly linked to human violence around the world, with even relatively minor departures from normal temperature or rainfall substantially increasing the risk of conflict in ancient times or today, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton University.” To read the full article on phys.org click here.
“While Canadian cities have a number of funding hurdles to overcome on the horizon, the possibility of a Detroit-style bankruptcy of a Canadian municipality is unlikely. That’s the conclusion of a report by CIBC economic Warren Lovely, released Thursday, that looked at a number of metrics to gauge the overall health of Canadian municipalities.” READ MORE
“In short, the obsession with “maximizing short-term profits” that has developed in America over the past 30 years has created a business culture in which executives dance to the tune of short-term traders and quarterly earnings reports, instead of balancing the value created for employees, customers, and long-term owners.” To read the full article on Business Insider click here.
“Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr brought forth a bankruptcy filing that would give current and future retired city workers 10 cents on the dollar of pension benefits they had accrued.” “Experts feel the biggest threat to Canadian municipal pension plans is a looming bill of about $200 billion to replace aging infrastructure. If money is READ MORE
In July 2012, Premiers agreed to renew “A Shared Vision for Energy in Canada”. At the July 2013 Council of the Federation meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Premiers leading the Energy Strategy discussions tabled a report on their progress . The Premiers are targeting the summer of 2014 for release of the final product and say they are exploring further stakeholder READ MORE
Food insecurity in Canada is “a serious social and public health problem,” says a new report that found nearly one in eight Canadian households couldn’t access sufficient, safe and nutritious food in 2011. Click here to read the full article in the Edmonton Journal. Click here to read the study.
“Poverty is the No. 1 factor in determining whether Canadians live long, healthy lives, says a report from the Canadian Medical Association. The report makes a dozen recommendations on what actions governments and individuals can take to live healthier lives. First among them – eliminate poverty.” To read the full article on the Globe and Mail click here.
“Poverty is making Canadians sick, says a report released Tuesday by the Canadian Medical Association. The report, based on public consultations at six “town halls” in cities across the country last winter and spring, said factors such as poor housing, lack of access to healthy food and early childhood programs all affect health.” To read this full article on the Windsor Star click here.
New poll shows 87 % of Canadians agree that we need a Canadian climate and energy strategy to plan our nation’s energy future. “The success of a Canadian energy strategy will hinge on the extent to which it both reduces carbon pollution and positions Canada to compete in the global low carbon, clean energy economy READ MORE
Public Spaces Matter “Great public spaces transform an ordinary city into a destination. They are what draw people to visit, do business and live in them. They are investments in the economy of a city – and fortunately, they don’t need to cost that much money. With creative rezoning and re-designating municipal lands, cities can READ MORE
“With political will, modern techniques and the latest ideas from cities and governments around the world, we have the capacity to reduce emissions and adjust to climate change at the same time. But we do need to act, and now would be a good time to start.” An op ed from David Miller. David READ MORE
Jamie Biggar’s Dinner Plenary at the Deepening Democracy Civic Governance Forum 2013: “In order to be able to address the massive challenges that are facing our society, we have to work on this crisis of declining trust. We need to bring people together, and build social trust, so that we can take collective action, and move from READ MORE
The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food has released a report saying that Canada’s scrapping of the long-form census, as well as it’s possible signing of a free-trade deal with Europe, will make it more difficult to fight poverty in Canada. Scrapping the long-form census has a detrimental impact on efforts to READ MORE
According to a report from the Conference Board of Canada, Canada is failing in child poverty, income inequality, and gender equality. “Despite our overall “B” grade, comparatively high rates of poverty and a large gap in income levels can put stress on a society and on the economy. Rising poverty rates and greater income inequality READ MORE
Literally Place-Making was a conference for Saskatchewan municipal leaders and school trustees to help you look at how you can act on your intention to build more sustainable and inclusive communities. Download the full Literally Placemaking Agenda here. Keynote Speakers: Featuring Keynote Presentations by Candace Savage, author of the new Governor General Award Winning Book A Geography of READ MORE
A CBC news article today highlights the reasons why businesses and local leaders in Hamilton, Ontario are getting increasingly concerned about potential local impacts of the Canada-Europe CETA trade talks. And the potential impacts in Hamilton are the same for municipalities across the country. ‘Unlike previous agreements like NAFTA, the CETA agreement appears to be READ MORE
As global climate negotiations wrap up in Doha, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the science behind the push for climate action. You can view the video on our YouTube channel, by clicking here. Dr. John Fyfe is one of 150 Scientists contributing to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The fifth “assessment report” will be published in 2013-2014. The forth “assessment report” was published READ MORE
There’s news on the CETA front, and it’s not so good. We’ve been following the CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) negotiations between Canada and the European Union since 2010, starting with a legal analysis of early leaked documents, commissioned by our Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute. That analysis, by trade lawyer Steven READ MORE
This new report from Blue Green Canada shows if the $1.3 billion in government subsidies, now given to the oil and gas sector, were instead invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency, Canada would create more jobs: 18,000 more. The full report is available for download here. You can also read media stories covering the report, from The Vancouver Sun and The Star .
Civic Governance ForumRequest for Workshop Proposals The Centre for Civic Governance’s dynamic BC Governance forum is happening March 23 & 24, 2013. We are requesting workshop proposals that are relevant to locally elected leaders, particularly workshops about climate action, social inclusion, social justice, citizen engagement, and the cultural economy. Proposals should include: An overview of READ MORE
What do climate action, local economies, citizen engagement, mindfulness, equality, community, rule of law, and freedom of speech all have in common? Democracy! And our schools and communities are where it all begins. Our future depends on nurturing a healthy and vibrant democracy, and leaders who exercise their ‘democratic jurisdiction’. Join us in deepening democracy. Join READ MORE