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
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 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
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 .
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
JOIN US on November 29, 2007 at Queen’s University from 12-4:30pm. Click here to register. The Columbia Institute Centre for Civic Governance presents a forum for local leaders in Ontario who want to make a difference in their community. This half-day forum is designed to inform, inspire, and connect leaders from Eastern Ontario interested in READ MORE
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
An opinion piece from the Toronto Star, written by Martin Connell, asks, “What could $1.1 billion do for Toronto?” The Conference Board of Canada says that Toronto needs to spend this much, above the current budget, in order to start ‘getting this city back on track’. Connell argues that this isn’t a huge sum of READ MORE
This report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives details problems with BC’s budgeting methodolgy, in particular the problems associated with huge “surprise” surpluses. The report contains a useful table showing healthcare, social services, and education expenditures as a percentage of GDP. Check it out here .
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
This is Part 3 of the Centre for Civic Governance’s recent publication, Leadership Makes A Difference. It includes articles by Smart Growth BC’s Executive Director, Cheeying Ho, Victoria City Councillor Dean Fortin, Executive Director of Housing California, Julie Spezia, and North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto. Download it here .
A 2 minute video clip from CBC News about a great initiative in Vancouver – an affordable housing project for artists over age 55. View the clip here .
Get a head start on getting to carbon neutral in your school district. Through the Green Glass will provide a firm understanding about the climate change challenge we are facing globally. Get a head start on getting to carbon neutral in your school district. Through the Green Glass will provide a firm understanding about the READ MORE
This detailed report from Smart Growth BC includes policies and programs for affordable housing, strategies, non-governmental models, projects, and case studies from around Canada and the U.S. Download it here .
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
From the BC Ministry of the Environment, this webpage contains documents on best management practices and guidelines for urban and rural land development, raptor conservation, tourism and recreation, and more. Click here to visit the website.
A lesson guide developed by the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness, the BC Federation of Teachers, SPARC BC and the Vancouver Art Gallery, this guide is designed to engage teachers and students in learning and activities related to Homelessness Action Week. Download the guide here .
A new study from StatsCan has found that young men are far less likely to attend university than young women. The study found that differences in study habits and academic performance at the age of 15 contributed to this trend, as well as parental expectations. To read the study click here .
In light of the Gateway Proposal, here is an interesting study from the Sightline Institute in Seattle. Their research shows that every extra one-mile stretch of lane added to a congested highway will increase CO2 emissions by more than 100,000 tons over 50 years. Such findings fly in the face of the rationale for highway READ MORE
The District of Ucluelet and the District of Houston were the top winners at the 2007 Energy Aware Awards presented at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Convention on Sept. 27. Ucluelet won in the Community Planning & Development category, for its use of Smart Growth and compact development land use policies. Houston came out READ MORE
In this CCPA report, Ellen Gould examines the potential impacts of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement between BC and Alberta. To read the report click here .
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
A Centre for Civic Governance poll reveals “71.1 per cent of Ontarians think provincial and federal governments should provide local politicians with “more regular and more flexible sources of funds.” Read the article in the Toronto Star here .
An article from The Province about the Centre for Civic Governance poll released in September 2007, which shows that citizens want local action on climate change. Read the article here .
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:
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
From the Sightline Institute comes a handy page with a breakdown of various greenhouse gas emission reduction policies, including carbon trading and ‘cap and auction’. Each policy is broken down into a bulleted pros and cons list and includes a brief paragraph about organizations and governments that support it. Check it out here . Also check READ MORE
Introduction The Centre for Civic Governance is committed to protecting the privacy of people whose personal information is held by us through responsible information management practices. Any personal information provided to the Centre for Civic Governance via this website is collected, used and disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection READ MORE
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
Sebastopol, near San Francisco, aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 42% over ten years and is currently installing 500 solar panels on the roofs of houses around the town. The City of Sebastopol’s website hosts descriptions of the City’s many environmental initiatives.
Esquimalt’s environmental advisory committee has decided to replace Round-up with steam to rid its public sidewalks of weeds. The town doesn’t expect that using steam will cost much more than a few thousand dollars extra a year. This is the first step in a move towards a full pesticides by-law in Esquimalt. Click here to read READ MORE
Shelter: Homelessness in a Growth Economy , a report released by the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, reveals that Canada’s lack of action on homelessness has had serious consequences over the past ten years, including a dramatic rise in the homeless population. The report includes case studies of Iqaluit, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver.
An interesting study released by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University shows that high quality, discover/play-oriented pre-school programs lead to a 44% improvement in math skills, an 85% improvement in print awareness and knowledge of letter-sound associations, and gains in vocabulary that were 31% greater than children who did not attend.
A study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explores how the built environment affects food access. How does the neighborhood food environment affect the amount of fruits and vegetables people eat and neighborhood obesity levels? What role do transportation systems play?
The Green Action Plan contains a number of policies related to land use, transportation, energy efficiency, etc., which can be implemented at the local level. It was introduced by Councillor Jonathan Cote, who has been active in promoting environmental awareness in New Westminster.
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
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
Dawson Creek won the 2006 Energy Aware Award for its community planning and implementation work. The Energy Aware Award is given by the Community Energy Association to the municipality or regional district that best incorporates energy awareness into its community plan. Winners are announced at the annual UBCM meeting.
The Community Energy Association provides information, news, and resources for local governments concerned with climate change and energy reduction and provides steps for how to deal with these issues. Click here to link to the Community Energy Association website.