Category Archives : Governance

Strong governments and effective leaders empower communities to efficiently adapt to social and economic changes, and strengthen resiliency against future challenges. The themes present in this category include planning and land use, citizen engagement, budgeting, and infrastructure.


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


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


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


Strengthening Local Democracy

Submission to the BC Local Government Elections Task Force by the Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute April 15, 2010 Click here to download a PDF version of the report including sources .   Introduction The Centre for Civic Governance appreciates this opportunity to present our perspectives and research on electoral and campaign finance reform to the BC Local Government Elections Taskforce.   About the Centre 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


Resources from 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. Click here to read Hugh’s article on Local Government Finance in Ontario, in our Innovative Strategies Leadership Handbook. Hugh Mackenzie is principal 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


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


Canada’s trade minister says ‘little flexibility’ needed to conclude EU talks

“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


Flooding due to rising seas could cost $1 trillion by 2050, with Vancouver’s risk high, study says

“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.


Denying Climate Change Is Bad for Your Electoral Health

“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


Detroit bankruptcy a cautionary tale for municipal workers

“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


Canadian Energy Strategy Update

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


Jamie Biggar – 2013 Centre for Civic Governance Forum

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


‘New normal’ weather a major threat to Canadian municipal infrastructure and finances

Newly updated weather benchmarks from Environment Canada show that Canada’s national average winter temperature has risen 3.2 degrees. Canada is getting hotter faster than ever before and at a faster rate than almost any other country. This also means that rain, snow, sleet and hail storms are becoming more erratic.  As Canadian insurers and other economists have READ MORE


Canada Steps Backward on Climate Policy, Study Says

Canada is the only country out of 33 developed and developing nations to have taken a step backward in terms of climate legislation over the past year, ending 2012 with fewer policies related to climate change than it had last January, according to an international study published on January 14, 2013. Click here to read a Wall Street Journal article on the study. Click here to read the full study from GLOBE International.  


The Science Behind Climate Change – Video

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.

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


Request for Workshop Proposals – BC Civic Governance Forum

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


Twenty year plan needed to fix crumbling infrastructure, says FCM

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is calling on the Government of Canada to develop a twenty year plan with predictable funding to fix its crumbling infrastructure. In it’s recommendations to the Governmentof Canada’s Long-TermInfrastructure Plan Consultation , the FCM is calling for measures that include long-term and predictable infrastructure funding; investment to leverage additional funds; renewal and improvements to the Gas Tax and the Building Canada READ MORE


Kingston considers living wage motion

Kington Ontario’s City Council will be voting this week on a motion calling for the city to begin work on a Living Wage policy for city employees and contractors. The motion from Councillors Bill Glover and Rob Hutchison follows up on recommendations from a CCPA Ontario report from 2011 . Living Wage policies are already in place with a number of local governments across READ MORE


How a Dyslexic Student Could Change Canada’s Schools

In this Tyee article , Past North Vancouver School Board Trustee Crawford Kilian writes about potential implications of the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling that the North Vancouver School Board must reimburse the family of Jeffery Moore, who put their son into private school in order to get adequate support for his learning disability.  As the READ MORE


Municipal E-voting Used in Halifax Municipal Election

E-Voting was used in the 2012 Halifax Municipal Election Electors received municipal notices in the mail before the start of advance voting. Security codes and other information were in those letters, which included the site of community voting stations for those who plan to cast ballots in two weeks. The civic and school board elections READ MORE


Schools strive to open lines of communication

Abbotsford principal Dexter Horton  is cancel-ling his school’s monthly newsletter as part of an effort to improve communications with parents buy delivering more frequent messages to Clayburn middle school parents using Face-book, Twitter and school blogs.  He hopes these messages will draw more parents into the school to find out what’s going on, meet the teachers, discuss their READ MORE


CCPA-NS releases first ever Alternative Municipal Budget

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia (CCPA-NS) releases its first ever Alternative Municipal Budget for the HRM today during the election campaign and well in advance of the normal budget cycle.  The Alternative Budget contains 65 action items and their estimated costs. It includes strategic investments in community centres and recreation programs, in early READ MORE


Applications are now being accepted for Next Up: A Leadership Program for Young People Committed to Social and Environmental Justice

Applications are now being accepted for Next UpA Leadership Program for Young People Committed to Social and Environmental Justice Columbia Institute is a national partner for the  Next Up Leadership program for young social change activists between the ages of 18 and 32.  The program is offered in four cities across three provinces;  Next Up BC READ MORE


How one BC municipality is getting people to actually read public notices

Inspired by Toronto civic activist Dave Meslin’s TED Talk The Antidote to Apathy, Pemberton villager staffers set out to dramatically redesigned its public notices covering development applications, zoning and Official Community Plan amendments so residents can more easily understand them, and respond.  “We’ve received a lot of feedback from different community groups with compliments saying how they READ MORE


Turning Rubble into Roads

The City of Edmonton Aggregate Recycling Programs recycles concrete, asphalt and other similar materials from reconstruction projects, private demolition and household renovations free of charge. The program provides an economical source of recycled material Edmonton then uses to construct and maintain streets and sidewalks, saving the city more than $15 million.  Read more at the Municipal Information Network.


A Day in the Life of Our Taxes

Public health care, garbage pick up, safe food, clean water, public parks, emergency services, higher learning, the chance to live in great communities with the hope of reaching our personal dreams. It’s time to start having the conversation about what our taxes contribute to a healthy society.  See the video from the CCPA


Cities push for B.C. Residential Tenancy Act amendment

City counsellors call for a united voice in requesting the provincial government review the Residential Tenacy Act.  Politicians from 33 municipalities agreed the act subjects tenants to a costly, time-consuming, and ineffective system that is difficult to navigate due to its bureaucratic and legal complexity.  The resolution put forward by Judy Villeneuve, Counsellor from Surrey, calling for READ MORE


What’s the Big Deal About CETA?

Canada-Europe Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is generating serious questions and concerns from local governments across Canada.  Municipalities, local government associations and school boards have passed resolutions expressing concern about the CETA’s potential impact local public services and decision making which could undermine public control key municipal services. Read more from the Columbia READ MORE


More municipalities raise CETA concerns, demand exemptions

More and more Canadian municipalities are raising concerns about the impact of Canada-EU trade negotiations (CETA) on local government decision making and economic development strategies. In the last two weeks, Mississauga , Welland and Niagara Falls joined Hamilton, Toronto and a growing wave of Ontario local governments in asking the province for a “clear, permanent exemption” of their muncipality READ MORE