David Suzuki warns Canada’s environmental laws are under attack by both the federal and Ontario governments. Ontario follows the federal Bill C-38 with a bill of its own – Bill 55 – a 327-page bill that seriously affects no less than six important resource and wildlife laws, including Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. Suzuki cautions that READ MORE
As the so-called grey tsunami gains momentum across the country, a different kind of crime wave is washing over some Vancouver Island communities, including Parksville, Sidney and North Saanich, with violent acts dropping and incidents involving seniors on the rise. Door-to-door hustlers, online scams targeting seniors, scooter collisions and other vehicle mishaps, find police having to READ MORE
On June 7, 2012, Allan Patton convinced his colleagues on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to adopt a motion to register its disapproval of the Arctic Apple, a genetically modified apple that carries the risk of cross-pollination of traditional varieties and puts the entire Okanagan fruit industry in jeopardy. The RDOS board unanimously READ MORE
A Norwegian housing cooperative says it plans to build the world’s largest wooden apartment building, a 14-storey structure in Bergen. The project seeks to promote sustainable materials while at the same time boosting Norway’s vast forestry industry. British Columbia recently changed the rules to allow six storey wood-frame buildings, up from four, and there has READ MORE
Ontario is proceeding with it’s Provincial budget discussions on an eerily similar path to budget discussions in Ottawa this week. Included in Ontario’s budget bill is a section called Schedule 28. Citizen groups, including the Ontario Health Coalition, the Council of Canadians and the Social Planning Network of Ontario are raising alarm bells. The groups READ MORE
Under a new agreement between the Vancouver School Board and Fresh Roots Urban Farms, a non-profit society that promotes urban agriculture, Vancouver Technical School will be creating a 1,000 square meter garden on the school’s property in September. The Van Tech garden is expected to not only provide a valuable learning opportunity for students, but yield READ MORE
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.
The New Brunswick government will invest $62 million over the next three years to improve inclusive education. Autism advocate and Fredericton lawyer Harold Doherty is questioning the education department’s plans around autism by pointing out that some children with autism cannot function properly in a mainstream classrooms. “It’s a philosophy, it’s not an evidence based approach READ MORE
The Nature of Leadership: Ideas for Building Inclusive, Sustainable Communities is the third volume in the “Innovative Strategies Leadership Series” for locally elected leaders. Inspired by conversations at our Centre for Civic Governance forums, this handbook highlights leadership stories from across the country and beyond. It relates stories of individuals and communities who are boldly confronting the myriad READ MORE
Jim Stanford, well-known CAW economist and media commentator was the key note speaker at the Centre for Civic Governance’s Sharing of Good Ideas forum held in Hamilton recently. He spoke on The Living Wage. His presentation was followed by a panel that included Sam Magavern, a volunteer attorney for the City of Buffalo Living Wage READ MORE
Truro Nova Scotia town council is creating an urban agricultural bylaw to support local and sustainable food production and small agricultural uses on residents’ properties including allowing residents to keep animals. Read more at Farm Focus of Atlantic Canada .
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 .
The need to fundraise stemming from inadequate funding is making it necessary for Ontario schools to bulk up on private dollars, sometimes even for the basics. With the top 10 per cent of fundraising schools bringing in the same amount of money as the bottom 75 per cent combined, reliance on fundraising dollars as a core READ MORE
In the spring budget, the province of Ontario identified school board amalgamations as a way to reduce administrative expenses. With the province targeting areas with low population growth and declining enrolment, it is moving fast to cut $10.5 million in education costs by merging school boards in 2013. Read more at Metro News .
Help your communities with meeting your Bill 27 targets with free energy efficiency assessments offered by LiveSmart BC. Just click on the map here to find the Business Energy Advisors that serve your area. They will help businesses with energy efficiency measures that have a short payback, as well as obtaining rebates from BC Hydro, FortisBC, READ MORE
The issue of whether to stay or flee in the face of rising sea levels is being confronted around the globe. The use of barriers is now giving way to ‘planned retreats’ from the relentless sea. Places experimenting with retreat have adopted various strategies including breaching seawalls to create salt marshes and moving entire villages READ MORE
The number of major forest fires in B.C. will likely increase by 50 per cent or more in the next 40 years according to a recent report on climate change released by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The report, Telling the Weather Story, makes a point of altering weather patterns across the country and urges Canadians to READ MORE
Edmonton’s Mayor Stephen Mandel signed a memorandum of understanding on June 4, 2012 to put in place a new state-of-the-art closed-loop paper and cotton recycling process that makes professional grade paper without using any chemicals, producing any harmful emissions or any by-products. Read more at the Edmonton Sun .
Toronto joins San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles as cities that have banned single-use plastic bags. Toronto city council passed a motion to ban the distribution of plastic bags effective Jan. 1, 2013. Read more at the Huffington Post .
Shaping the Future of our Communities, Friday, October 12th – Saturday, October 13th, 2012 at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel & Suites located at 600 Highway 7 EAST, Richmond Hill Ontario JOEL BAKAN ANNOUNCED AS KEYNOTE SPEAKER! Joel Bakan is a Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia. He teaches READ MORE
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has released a report to help understand the underlying health of Canadian cities and communities. Read more at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities .
With childhood obesity rates climbing at alarming rates, Onatrio explores multiple interventions aimed at different aspects of healthy living including healthier cafeteria selections and increases to daily physical activity for students. Read more at The Globe and Mail .
Facing a $110 million dollar shortfall this year, some Toronto District School Board trustees say the district can’t balance its books and roll out full-day kindergarten at the same time. Read more at the Toronto Sun .
The Vancouver School Board has released the results of surveys conducted as part of its public consultation process. The board will be discussing the results, including whether or not to redevelop properties in the face of declining enrolments and provincial funding as well as the introduction of a balanced school calendar. Read more at the Vancouver Sun READ MORE
Port Moody City council voted unanimously on May 22, 2012 to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fin products, a move mayor Mike Clay hopes paves the way for other municipalities to follow suit. Read more at canada.com .
Greenhouse gas emissions are a side-effect of economically valuable activities. Most of the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions are “external” to the market and do not fall on those conducting the activities leaving future generations or people living in developing countries to pay the cost. Read more at The Guardian .
Almost half of all Ontario high schools are still charging students course fees, despite guidelines introduced by the province last fall telling them not to, says an annual report on the state of education. Read more at The Toronto Star .
All schools, including those in the Catholic system in Ontario, won’t be able to stop students from calling anti-homophobia clubs “ gay-straight alliances” if changes to a proposed anti-bullying law are passed. The amendment is being applauded as a step forward for human rights, giving students the right to name their own clubs. Read more at The Toronto Star READ MORE
On May 23, 2012, Los Angeles became the largest city in the United States to adopt a ban on plastic bags at super-market checkout lines. On a 13-1 vote in favour of the ban, this decision handed a major victory to clean-water advocates who sought to reduce the amount of trash clogging landfills, waterways and READ MORE
On June 20 -22, 2012, nations gather in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 years after the first UN sanctioned gathering focussed on sustainable development. Check out our new briefing note “Rio +20 – Why it matters for local governments.” Publication Download: RIO+20.pdf
Richmond city council has unanimously passed a motion banning genetically modified plants and crops from being grown in the city making Richmond the first predominantly agricultural jurisdiction in B.C. to enact such a ban. Read more at the Vancouver Sun.
The recently formed BC mayor’s caucus calls for reform to the current ad hoc municipal funding system. Mayors from 86 municipalities insist the current system need to be replaced with one that gives cities more certainty over funding so they can partake in long term planning that will better communities. Read more at The Globe & Mail.
With incomes unable to keep up with soaring rental costs, Councillor Pat Atkinson calls for partnership among the federal, provincial and municipal governments to address the problem of low vacancy rates and high demand for rental properties in Saskatchewan. Read more at The Star Phoenix.
Eighty-six British Columbia Mayors are meeting in Penticton this week to discuss the increase in costs being downloaded to cities, and how they can respond. Canadian cities only receive 8% of the tax base, and as budgets get cut elsewhere, they are having to deal with more and more costs in their communities. Not only READ MORE
Canadian NGOs and labour unions have sent an amicus curiae submission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) that calls for respect of Canada’s international climate change obligations and seeks to address Canada’s failure to properly defend Ontario’s Green Energy Act. Read more at United Steelworkers .
B.C. engineers have now expressed concern that Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) will result in poorer public infrastructure. Read more at The Tyee .
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
Agenda 9:00 am Registration 9:30 am Welcome 9:45 am Panel – Municipal role in Home Energy Retrofits – WE CAN DO IT! 11:00 am Break 11:15 am Panel – A Climate Change Action Charter for your municipality? 12:30 pm LUNCH 12:45 pm Key Note Speaker – Economist Jim Stanford 1:30 pm Panel – A Living READ MORE
Sam Magavern, a volunteer attorney for the City of Buffalo Living Wage Commission will be joining Hamilton Wentworth school board Trustee Alex Johnstone and Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction Director Tom Cooper on a panel on A Living Wage at the Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute’s The Sharing of Good Ideas! forum on READ MORE
Sam Magavern: Sam Magavern co-directs the Partnership for the Public Good and teaches at the SUNY Buffalo Law School and the Cornell University ILR School. He has served as the compliance coordinator and as a volunteer attorney for the City of Buffalo Living Wage Commission. Tom Cooper: Tom Cooper is Director of the Hamilton Roundtable READ MORE
Regional District of Nanaimo is now providing incentives to residents interested in reducing their energy usage and emissions, and protecting water. Nanaimo also renewed its Green Building Incentive Program to encourage residents to invest in energy efficiency, emission reductions and green building practices. Read more at the Municipal Information Network .
A Halifax councillor wants the provincial government to look into limiting rent hikes before demand for housing rises and is calling on the Halifax Regional Municipality staff to look at the pros and cons of re-establishing provincial rent controls, which were abolished in the 1980s. Currently, only BC, Manitoba, Ontario and PEI limit the size READ MORE
A Place to Call Home: Edmonton’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness inspired by the Housing First principle that providing people with housing and supports prepares them to successfully build a new life for themselves. The City of Edmonton and the Government of Alberta have all worked in collaboration to house and support 1789 Edmontonians READ MORE
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
Saskatoon joins a number of other Canadian cities in passing a bylaw allowing seniors on fixed incomes to defer increases to property taxes enabling them to stay in their homes longer. Read more at News Talk 650.
Citizens are encouraged to take advantage of the City of London’s efforts to gather input when it comes to creating a vision for London’s future through the ReThink London project. The city is asking London residents to share their ideas on how to make the city a better place to live, work, play and visit through READ MORE
Kamloops-Thompson school district leaders are calling foul on the Fraser Institute for including incorrect data in their school rankings study. The Institute has been called to task for ranking the mean income of Chase at $103,000 despite knowing that the C.D. Howe Institute lists Chase’s mean income at $40,000. The district also accuses the Institute 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 .