Yearly Archives: 2007

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

Engaging the Community: School Closures and Other Issues of Interest

This presentation was given at the 2006 BCSTA Academy by MaryLynne Rimer, Chair of the Saanich School Board and Dr. Keven Elder, the Superintendent of Saanich School District. It provides some background and information on: Saanich School District’s school closure process and the lessons learned from that process; how the school district engaged the community; READ MORE

P3s Make News Across the Country

P3s made headlines across the country this week. Newspapers in Halifax, Montreal, and Edmonton all carried pieces that questioned the supposed benefits of the P3 model. Last week the Globe and Mail Business Section also featured a piece that challenges the federal government’s current P3 push. Here are the links to the articles: P3 Schools’ Budget Doubles Edmonton Journal Architect Erases Himself from Hospital Design The Gazette, Montreal Beware P3 Rec Centres, Says Ottawa Councillor Edmonton Journal Why the Rush on P3s? Globe and Mail   READ MORE


DeSmog is an initiative of Jim Hoggan, president of the PR firm James Hoggan & Associates, and chair of the David Suzuki Foundation. The aim of the site is to dispell climate change myths and counteract the public relations campaign that aims to cast doubt on climate change science. The site has an extensive database of READ MORE

BC Legislation Mandates Carbon Neutrality by 2010

Bill 44, the BC Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, received royal assent on November 29. The Bill requires the provincial government, including provincial ministries and agencies, schools, colleges, crown corporations, etc. to become carbon neutral by 2010 and to make public a report every year detailing actions taken towards carbon neutrality. Read the B.C. government’s press release on the bill . Read the full bill here .

Citizen Participation Toolkit

The Citizen Participation Toolkit offers various types of information on citizen participation in local governance and maintains a database of cases from all over the world of participatory governance, including tools used and lessons learned. In this way, local authorities and civil society organisations can learn from each others’ experiences. The database is searchable by region, scale, focus, and READ MORE

Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance

The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto looks at municipal finance and governance issues of Canada’s large cities and city-regions. This site is chock-full of presentations, articles and papers relating to municipal finance.  For example, check out The Impact of Municipal Finance and Governance on Urban READ MORE

City of North Vancouver Greenhouse Gas Local Action Plan

The City of North Vancouver released its Greenhouse Gas Local Action Plan in February 2005. The Plan outlines how to reach the City’s interm target of a 20% corporate emissions reduction and a 6% community-wide emissions reduction by 2010. Focusing on building retrofits, new building design guidelines, Smart Growth land use planning, and transportation demand management, the City hopes to READ MORE

Investing in a Better Future: A Review of the Fiscal & Competitive Advantages of Smarter Growth Development Patterns

This 2004 report from the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy makes the case that more compact development patterns and investing in projects to improve urban cores could save taxpayers money and improve overall regional economic performance. 

Green Municipalities: A Guide to Green Infrastructure for Canadian Municipalities

This guide, prepared by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Sheltair Group, lays out a vision of what ‘green infrastructure’ looks like. Green infrastructure means systems that are distributed, clustered, interconnected, integrated, service-oriented, responsive, renewable, low-imapct, appropriate, multi-purpose and finally, adaptable. The guide also explains the social, economic and environmental benefits of green infrastructure READ MORE

New Report from the Pembina Institute Looks at What It Will Take for BC to Meet Its Climate Change Goals

Mind the Gap, a November 2007 report from the Pembina Institute, looks at the BC government’s plan to reduce emissions by 33 per cent by 2020. This 33 per cent goal means a reduction of 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. However, according to the Pembina Institute, the policies and actions announced by the government READ MORE

Victoria – Mayor’s Task Force on on Breaking the Cycle of Mental Illness, Addictions and Homelessness

On October 19, 2007 the Mayor’s Task Force on Breaking the Cycle of Mental Illness, Addictions and Homelesness released its findings. The report calls for a supported Housing First approach and makes a number of important recommendations, including a target of 1550 new supported housing units over the next five years. Click here for more READ MORE

Healthy Communities, Sustainable Communities

The Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) has released a new report that links poor land use planning to public health issues. The report emphasizes good urban design, active transportation, and green infrastructure as keys to healthier communities. Go to the OPPI website for the summary, backgrounder, press release, and full report.

October 2007 Changes to Education Funding

On October 18th, the Ministry of Education announced changes to the education funding formula. These changes are to come into effect immediately, despite the fact that school boards have already established their budgets for the current school year. The changes being made to the funding formula apply to students in grades 10, 11 and 12. READ MORE

Future Visioning of Climate Change at the Local Level

Future Visioning of Climate Change is a website from the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) at UBC. The project involves developing new approaches to community engagement through future visioning, using “virtual reality” techniques based on digital mappings and scientific data. The goal of the project is to specialize, localize, and visualize climate change effects at the neighborhood or community READ MORE

Partners for Climate Protection

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities Partners for Climate Protection is a framework developed for muncipalities to use as they undertake initiatives to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  When municipalities sign on to the PCP they voluntarily agree to complete five milestones.  Milestone One: Create a GHG Emissions Inventory and Forecast Milestone Two: Set an Emissions READ MORE

Protecting Local Democracy

  As councillors and school board trustees strive to create environmentally and socially sustainable communities, the robustness of local democracies is being threatened from several angles.This handbook contains information on some of the most urgent challenges being faced in 2007. Such challenges include: • the Trade Investment Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA); • shifts in the READ MORE

Columbia Institute Board of Directors

The Centre for Civic Governance is a program arm of the Columbia Institute. The Columbia Institute is a charitable organization established to activate and motivate working people to build strong, progressive communities throughout Canada. Click here to visit the Columbia Institute website. Columbia Institute Board of Directors Ken Georgetti, President Emeritus, Canadian Labour Congress David Levi, Chair, Columbia Foundation Ken Neumann, President, United Steelworkers Tom Dufresne, Retired President (retired), International Longshore Workers Union David Black, President, COPE 378 Barry O’Neill, Retired President, CUPE BC Jim Sinclair, President, BC Federation of Labour John Shields, President Emeritus, BC Goverment and Service Employees’ Union Ken Georgetti, President Emeritus, Canadian Labour Congress Ken Georgetti READ MORE

Columbia Institute Poll: People in BC and Ontario Want Bigger Piece of the Tax Pie for Local Governments

The polling shows that people in BC and Ontario have greater trust in local politicians, are willing to pay more taxes for increased action on climate change and want senior levels of government to provide regular and flexible funding to local governments. To see the polling figures that were released in BC click here: To see the polling figures that were released in Ontario click here: To read the BC media release click here:

Going for Green: Leadership Makes a Difference

Locally elected leaders are forging innovative, homegrown methods of making sustainability their reality. They are tackling social issues such as the pressing need for affordable housing. In the second edition of the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance Going for Green Series, Leadership Makes a Difference, we have gathered the best stories on leading-edge policy READ MORE

Leadership Makes A Difference

Local communities are going all out as they “go for green” from: • the Capital Regional District’s energy plan, to • Squamish’s global warming pledge, to • Ucluelet’s official community plan that took the United Nations’ top prize, to • making school buildings and curricula sustainable, Locally elected leaders – councillors and school board trustees READ MORE

From Restless Communities to Resilient Places: Building a Stronger Future For All Canadians

Final Report of the External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities (June 2006) In February 2004 the federal government established the External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities. The main goal of the Committee was to help the federal government rethink its approach to communities and cities in Canada. The Committee was composed of a READ MORE

Commission on Public Education Report – Saanich School Board

In October of 2006, the Saanich School Board formed a Commission of Public Education, which included three trustees, the Superintendent of Schools and a respected community member. The Commission was tasked with receiving feedback on the Board’s declared values, programs, priorities and services; addressing the ongoing funding shortfalls facing the Board and receiving ideas on READ MORE