Monthly Archives: April 2012

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

Coalition of BC mayors call for marijuana legalization

Sighting safety concerns and unregulated access, eight BC mayors are calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana. They have named their coalition, Stop the Violence, and are urging senior governments to legalize marijuana in an effort to decrease crime and gang activity.  “This is not a partisan issue,” Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson said in READ MORE

Local Governments and CETA

The Centre for Civic Governance has been tracking developments in the Canadian European Comprehensive Trade Agreement and in particular potential impacts on municipalities. Our latest Trade and Policy Update provides information on the likelihood of increased legal and administrative costs, the threats to local decision-making and the potential for the privatization of municipal water services. READ MORE

2012 Living Wage for Metro Vancouver calculated at $19.14/hour

The 2012 living wage calculation for Metro Vancouver has risen to $19.14/hour. This represents a 33% increase over the 2011 living wage of $18.81/hour. The increase was driven by a number of factors that changes over the course of a year, including: shelter costs rose by $76/month, childcare fees rose by $33/month and MSP premiums READ MORE

“Generation Queer” – a resource for educators

Generation Queer, Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in Canadian Schools , provides an overview of LGBTQ youth-related research, a current picture of homophobia in Canadian schools and ideas  for helping to build the “resiliency of sexual and gender minority youth “in schools . Read more on the Alberta Teachers’ Association website. 

Toronto’s chief medical officer recommends lowering speed limits to save lives

Toronto’s speed limits are well above the national average and the city has a high rate of pedestrian deaths and injuries (In 2010, 20 pedestrians were killed and 2,050 were injured). A reduction in speed limits to 30km/hour on residential streets and 40k/hour on all other streets could save lives, says Toronto’s chief medical officer, READ MORE

City of Surrey tracks progress towards Sustainability

The City of Surrey is launching a dashboard that allows the community to track the City’s progress towards sustainability. Some of the indicators tracked include: proximity of homes to amenities like schools and parks median income for immigrants amount of farmland in food production daily household water consumption Read more at the city’s website.

Students from public schools do better in university math and physics

A study published in the International Journal of Science Education provides good news for parents with children in public schools; students from public schools outperform in the fields of math and physics at university. Furthermore, students from East Vancouver outperformed students from Westside schools. Read more in the Vancouver Sun.  Find study here .

BC secondary students develop a taste for fresh local food

BC secondary students are sharpening their palettes, culinary skills and appreciation for local, seasonal, and nutritious food in a program called Take a Bite of BC . The program delivers donations from 42 local B.C. farms, food producers and industry associations twice a month to participating schools. Currently 37 schools are participating. According to cofounder, Lindsay Babineau, “Each of the READ MORE

Faced with declining enrollment Toronto School Board may have to close 171 schools

The Toronto School Board is considering closing171 schools to deal with a significant drop in enrollment. While the student population has dropped by 71,000 students, many worry that closing schools will have serious consequences for students, families and neighbourhoods. Trustee Cathy Dandy called closing schools “the most wasteful, inefficient, myopic thing any government can consider, READ MORE

Community considers zoning legislation to allow commercial medical marijuana grow-ops

Sechelt BC has agreed to consider draft legislation that allows rezoning for commercial medical marijuana grow-op industries. The first step will be a series of public hearings on the matter. The local RCMP and fire department approve of the plan, noting it will decrease fire risks and increase public safety. Read more in the Huffington READ MORE

Atlantic Canada mayors call for CETA water exemption and seat at table for municipalities

Atlantic Canada mayors expressed concerns last week about the impact of CETA on local procurement and are calling for water services to be exempted from trade negotiations. The mayors are concerned that municipalities have been excluded from CETA negotiations and want a voice in all future talks.  To read the media release from the Atlantic Canada mayors 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

Catalyzing Youth & Intergenerational Conversations

This workshop will explore practical options for engaging young people in small and large communities. This workshop is running in concert with the Craik Eco-Village tour. Youth Engagement Workshop: Catalyzing Youth and Intergenerational Conversations Despite having much to add to the conversation about public policy directions, youth are becoming increasingly disenfranchised. This workshop will explore READ MORE

Eco-Village Tour of Craik, Saskatchewan & Youth Engagement Workshop

Coming to Saskatoon for FCM? Join us a day earlier for a tour of one of Canada’s most sustainable municipalities, Craik Saskatchewan. We are also offering a discussion and workshop on Youth Engagement. Eco-Village Tour of Craik, Saskatchewan Craik Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s leaders in sustainability. The small town boasts an Eco-Village, an Eco-Centre, READ MORE

The Sharing of Good Ideas

The Sharing of Good Ideas, Saturday May 26th, 2012 Workers Arts and Heritage Centre 51 Stuart Street, Hamilton Ontario   Join other locally elected leaders and policy experts for stimulating discussion on incorporating key social and environmental initiatives at the local level. Just announced, keynote speaker Jim Stanford! Jim Stanford: Jim Stanford is an Economist READ MORE

Canadians willing to be taxed more to reduce wealth gap

According to a recent poll commissioned by the Broadbent Institute , the majority of Canadians support higher taxation if money is dedicated to reducing the growing income gap. The survey, conducted by Environics Research, asked 2000 Canadians if they would agree to higher taxes to reduce poverty. Here are some of the survey findings: 83 per cent READ MORE

BC school boards to recapture carbon offset funds

BC school boards have succeeded in recapturing funds previously levied on them and distributed to the private sector. Carbon offset fees charged to boards by the Pacific Carbon Trust will now be deposited with the Ministry of Education’s Energy Efficient Capital Account for the exclusive use by boards for energy-efficiency projects. This should amount to READ MORE

Whistler passes motion opposing Northern Gateway pipeline

Whistler has joined several other BC municipalities in formally declaring its opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline. Citing concern over the inherent possibility of environmental disaster, the council has agreed the benefits do not outweigh the risks. Counillor Jack Crompton believes the motion will send a strong message, “It says to the federal government, the READ MORE

Female members of Rob Ford’s executive are threatening to quit unless he changes his leadership style

Michelle Berardinetti and Jaye Robinson, councillors on Rob Ford’s executive are threatening to quit over Rob Ford’s leadership style which they have characterized as lacking “vision, strategy and plan.” They have also cited his overtly ideological approach, his unwillingness to seek consensus and premature focus on campaigning as contributing factors contributing to their wanting to READ MORE

Climate Change impacting mental health

A report issued by the US National Wildlife Federation explores the relationship of extreme and erratic weather and mental health. The report concludes that climate change is leading to severe depression, anxiety and even suicide amongst those who have been impacted by floods, tornadoes, storms, droughts and other extreme weather events. Children the elderly and the poor feel the impacts READ MORE