Category Archives : Research Papers


Our future: Seniors, socialization and health

With input from eight seniors centres in Metro Vancouver, the Columbia Institute report, Our Future: Seniors, Socialization and Health, spotlights how municipalities are frontline in seniors health by offering a wide variety of programs that help keep seniors healthy and independent and delay/prevent seniors from requiring more costly health care services.     Download Report Executive Summary News Release Media Mentions Older and Wiser: 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


Mining: The Challenge for BC Local Governments

A rapid expansion of mining activity puts local governments in a quandary. Mining operations offer significant opportunities for communities, bringing great potential for jobs, development, and growth. On the other hand, mining operations can affect communities in adverse ways, from compromising drinking water and air quality to reducing property values. What will it take to READ MORE


Multi-Material BC and Local Governments: Will the new industry-run recycling system cause backsliding?

BC local governments are concerned about changes to the province’s recycling systems. Local governments have led the way on recycling in BC, and most support the principles of expanded recycling, zero waste, reduced packaging and producers bearing responsibility for the full life-cycle of their products. However, many are clearly concerned about the structure and implementation READ MORE


A Canadian Energy Strategy: Why should local governments care?

Canada’s federal and provincial governments are actively developing a national energy strategy, and there are compelling reasons for municipalities to become a bigger part of this conversation. Municipalities can play an important  role in ensuring that a Canadian energy strategy addresses the roles and interests of local communities across Canada. Canada’s federal and provincial governments READ MORE


The Power of Purchasing – The Economic Impacts of Local Procurement

Procurement by private and public sector institutions is a major force in the economy. In BC, local governments and school districts alone spend more than $6.7 billion annually on procurement. How – and where – procurement dollars are spent can have important economic, employment, social, and environmental impacts. This report uses the example of office READ MORE


Catch $25: How mandatory carbon offsets are undermining real emissions reductions in BC school districts

School districts in BC are caught in a Catch 22. Provincial carbon neutral measures are forcing districts to pay for carbon offsets that don’t actually reduce the districts’ own emissions AND drain funds from education operating budgets. The bigger the emissions gap, the more offsets districts have to buy; the more they have to buy, READ MORE


Municipal Procurement Implications of the Proposed CETA Agreement

Trade lawyer Steven Shrybman (Sack, Goldblatt, Mitchell LLP), prepared this paper on Municipal Procurement Implications of the Proposed Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) Between Canada and the European Union for the Centre for Civic Governance in May 2010. This report highlights the potential loss of ‘buy local’ policies through current trade discussion between Canada READ MORE


When More is Less: Education Funding in BC

Why are school districts cutting staff and laying off teachers?A Centre for Civic Governance research report finds growing evidence that the funding formula does not cover the costs of public education. The Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute reviewed the 2008-2009 preliminary annual budgets developed by boards of education across the province. The study READ MORE