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
Amendments to the BC Schools Act will allow school districts to set their own schedules. The current schedule with summers off is based on an agrarian schedule, and is not considered relevant to most parents ‘nor students ‘current needs. Read more at CBC.
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
A recent decision by Victoria’s city council is making councillor voter records easy to access. All votes are now recorded into the minutes and posted shortly afterwards on-line. To view records of votes visit https://victoria.civicweb.net .
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
School District 69 (Parksville/Qualicum) unanimously passed a living wage policy on April 25th, 2012. It is the first school board in Canada to have such a policy. ‘THAT the Board of Education of School District 69 (Qualicum) establish and implement a Living Wage Policy that is tied to the hourly rate established annually using the READ MORE
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, 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 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
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.
Last Friday, teachers in Nova Scotia rallied in front of 18 MLA offices to protest provincial cuts to education. The government insists the cuts are a necessary part of declining enrollment, but teachers are claiming cuts to funding mean larger class sizes and poorer quality education. Read more at the CBC.
Under current municipal laws, food grown on residential land cannot be sold commercially, but city council has asked staff to remove legal impediments in order to encourage local food production, one of the 10 goals of the Greenest City 2020 plan. Read more in the Vancouver Sun.
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 .
Restaurants and cafés in Leduc Alberta will now be able to convert parking spots to outdoor patios. The city has put aside $5000 for patio planters and is hoping the move will make the town livelier in the summertime. Several Edmonton councillors are hoping to pass a similar policy. Read more in The Edmonton Journal.
For 60 years Gideon Bibles have been distributed to grade 5 students Owen Sound Ontario, but an 8-3 vote by local trustees is bringing the practice to an end. The board made the move to reflect both the diversity of the local community, not wanting to grant preferred access to a particular faith group, and READ MORE
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
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
The Gold Trail BC School District, encompassing Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton, Lillooet and Lytton recently passed an anti-homophobioa policy. The decision to do so came up at a routine committee meeting, “We thought it was important that we have a policy in place to make it quite clear where we stood on the matter,” says READ MORE
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
In addition to limiting the time period for an environmental review process to 24 months, the federal government has also announced it will be cutting the number of review agencies from 40 to 3. Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver has justified the cuts, saying, “We need to tap into the tremendous appetite for resources READ MORE
Two studies, one from the US geological service and another commissioned by the government in the UK have concluded that fracking, the process of blasting water, sand and chemicals deep into the ground to fracture rock to obtain oil and natural gas, causes earthquakes. Both the US and the UK have witnessed a spike in READ MORE
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 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
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
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
In a 29-12 vote, Toronto city councillors have thrown a wrench into Mayor Ford’s plan to reduce the city budget by contracting out all cleaning jobs. The council which would normally only look at contracts worth $20million or more, has voted to oversee all contracts. Councillors argued that contracts may still be outsourced, but that READ MORE
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
Richmond BC is in the process of drafting legislation that would make the municipality free from genetically modified organisms. Richmond has a large agricultural sector and local farmers, food activists and now councillors are worried about the impact of GMO’s on local farms: the contamination of non GMO crops, excessive use of weed controls and READ MORE
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 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 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
According to a recent poll conducted by the BC Cancer Society, the majority of British Columbians support a province –wide pesticide ban. The poll also surveyed political party association and found that support was fairly even across all party lines. The BC Cancer Society is hoping the Provincial Government will pass legislation banning pesticides in READ MORE
Although for now support for the Enbridge pipeline appears to outweigh opposition a new poll finds that opposition to the poll is growing. According to the poll, conducted by Mustel Group 50.1 per cent were in favour and 41.7 per cent opposed. Read more in the Vancouver Sun.
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
The escape or release of rabbits into the wild had led to a bunny explosion in several parts of BC. Though extremely cute, they are wreaking havoc on the landscape. Although several BC municipalities have catch, sterilize and release programs in place, Delta BC wants to see Province-wide legislation that would force pet stores to READ MORE
In 2009 the city of Toronto passed a law that would see billboards taxed between $1000-$24,000 depending on size and location. Advertising giant Pattison challenged the tax in the Ontario Supreme Court. The court ruled that only Billboards erected after April 2010 could have the tax applied. The city has since appealed the ruling and READ MORE
At a recent forum on food security in Oliver BC addressed a number of issues surrounding food sovereignty, from the decline of BC’s agricultural sector to the impact of GMO foods on local farms. Of immediate concern however was the effect that the proposed CETA agreement would have on buy local policies, and in turn READ MORE
The closing of the Catalyst Mill and an increase in the cost of city services has led to a $3.6 million budget shortfall for Vancouver Island’s Campbell River. In an attempt to maintain city services, council has approved a 13.6% property tax increase, but the mayor hates the idea. “The process is flawed. The financial READ MORE
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