Category Archives : Resources


Municipal government and school districts planning together

“The District of Mackenzie is hoping to get some feedback from School District 57 on its official community plan. As Mackenzie goes through a recovery of the area, the plan is being formed to deal with the resurgence expected to happen. Chief Administrative Officer Mark Fercho says there have been some changes to the area READ MORE


Tools for Fair Taxation WEBINAR

Listen to our webinar on Tools for Fair Taxation, with economist and CCPA research associate Hugh Mackenzie, that happened Tuesday, Oct 29th, 2013.    Click here to watch and listen to the full Webinar. Click here to download Hugh Mackenzie’s Powerpoint.   Hugh Mackenzie is principal in an economic consulting business, Hugh Mackenzie and Associates, based in Toronto. He has worked for over 35 years in a variety of capacities related to READ MORE


Dispelling the Myths about the Bundling of Construction Projects

“Our extensive research on the subject of the bundling of construction contracts discloses a common thread. The actual evidence of the impact of project bundling does not support the claims made about its benefits, including substantial costs savings. Furthermore, the analysis set out in this paper leads to the conclusion that the costs of bundled projects may be considerably higher.”   READ MORE


Canada’s trade minister says ‘little flexibility’ needed to conclude EU talks

“Canadian trade minister Ed Fast says negotiations with the Europe Union are re-launching early next month in a final push to complete a comprehensive deal, adding all that is needed is a “little flexibility” on both sides.   He gave no specifics but sources have said the major stumbling blocks include the EU’s reluctance to READ MORE


Flooding due to rising seas could cost $1 trillion by 2050, with Vancouver’s risk high, study says

“Coastal flooding could cost the global economy $1 trillion a year a few short decades from now due to the rise in sea levels caused by global warming if action is not taken now to stem the flow and Vancouver is one of the cities most at-risk for losses, says a new study.”   To read the full article on the Vancouver Sun click here.


Conservation could create 25,000 jobs by 2025, claims report by unions and environmental groups

“Slashing energy consumption by a quarter over the next decade or so could create 25,000 new jobs, concludes a report by a coalition of environmentalists and unions. The group, Blue Green Canada, maintains that curbing power use would add $3.7 billion to the economy and help cut the federal and provincial deficits by almost $2 READ MORE


Denying Climate Change Is Bad for Your Electoral Health

“Some good news for a change when it comes to global warming:  A new bipartisan poll  shows strong support among young voters for taking action about climate change. That’s incredibly encouraging. And it gets better: 79 percent say they are more likely to vote for someone who supports action on climate change, and 73 percent say they would voteagainst someone READ MORE


Climate change in 2012: record sea-level rise, Arctic melting, warmed oceans, report says

“A new massive U.S. study says the world in 2012 sweltered with continued signs of climate change. Rising sea levels, snow melt, heat buildup in the oceans, and melting Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheets, all broke or nearly broke records, but temperatures only sneaked into the top 10.”   To read the full article on CTV click here.


Climate change occurring 10 times faster than at any time in past 65 million years

“The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker READ MORE


Climate strongly affects human conflict and violence worldwide, says study

“Shifts in climate are strongly linked to human violence around the world, with even relatively minor departures from normal temperature or rainfall substantially increasing the risk of conflict in ancient times or today, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton University.”   To read the full article on phys.org click here.


Why a Detroit-style bankruptcy is unlikely in Canada

“While Canadian cities have a number of funding hurdles to overcome on the horizon, the possibility of a Detroit-style bankruptcy of a Canadian municipality is unlikely. That’s the conclusion of a report by CIBC economic Warren Lovely, released Thursday, that looked at a number of metrics to gauge the overall health of Canadian municipalities.”   READ MORE


Sorry, It’s Not A ‘Law Of Capitalism’ That You Pay Your Employees As Little As Possible

“In short, the obsession with “maximizing short-term profits” that has developed in America over the past 30 years has created a business culture in which executives dance to the tune of short-term traders and quarterly earnings reports, instead of balancing the value created for employees, customers, and long-term owners.”   To read the full article on Business Insider click here.


Detroit bankruptcy a cautionary tale for municipal workers

“Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr brought forth a bankruptcy filing that would give current and future retired city workers 10 cents on the dollar of pension benefits they had accrued.” “Experts feel the biggest threat to Canadian municipal pension plans is a looming bill of about $200 billion to replace aging infrastructure. If money is READ MORE


Canadian Energy Strategy Update

In July 2012, Premiers agreed to renew “A Shared Vision for Energy in Canada”.  At the July 2013 Council of the Federation meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Premiers leading the Energy Strategy discussions   tabled a report on their progress .  The  Premiers are targeting the summer of 2014 for release of the final product and say they are exploring further stakeholder READ MORE


One in eight Canadian households couldn’t access sufficient food in 2011: Report

Food insecurity in Canada is “a serious social and public health problem,” says a new report that found nearly one in eight Canadian households couldn’t access sufficient, safe and nutritious food in 2011. Click here to read the full article in the Edmonton Journal. Click here to read the study.        


Good health depends on wealth, new Canadian report finds

“Poverty is the No. 1 factor in determining whether Canadians live long, healthy lives, says a report from the Canadian Medical Association. The report makes a dozen recommendations on what actions governments and individuals can take to live healthier lives. First among them – eliminate poverty.”   To read the full article on the Globe and Mail click here.        


Physicians are calling for an action plan to reduce poverty

“Poverty is making Canadians sick, says a report released Tuesday by the Canadian Medical Association. The report, based on public consultations at six “town halls” in cities across the country last winter and spring, said factors such as poor housing, lack of access to healthy food and early childhood programs all affect health.”   To read this full article on the Windsor Star click here.  


Fostering public spaces – without breaking the bank

Public Spaces Matter   “Great public spaces transform an ordinary city into a destination. They are what draw people to visit, do business and live in them. They are investments in the economy of a city – and fortunately, they don’t need to cost that much money. With creative rezoning and re-designating municipal lands, cities can READ MORE


Jamie Biggar – 2013 Centre for Civic Governance Forum

Jamie Biggar’s Dinner Plenary at the  Deepening Democracy  Civic Governance Forum 2013: “In order to be able to address the massive challenges that are facing our society, we have to work on this crisis of declining trust. We need to bring people together, and build social trust, so that we can take collective action, and move from READ MORE


How urban design affects our health

Research from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) has found that people in more walkable cities are more likely to be healthy. The research involved studies in 11 countries, and recommends that cities encourage walking and physical activity through: better integration of residential areas with commercial areas  building communities so that the places where people want READ MORE


‘New normal’ weather a major threat to Canadian municipal infrastructure and finances

Newly updated weather benchmarks from Environment Canada show that Canada’s national average winter temperature has risen 3.2 degrees. Canada is getting hotter faster than ever before and at a faster rate than almost any other country. This also means that rain, snow, sleet and hail storms are becoming more erratic.  As Canadian insurers and other economists have READ MORE


Canada Steps Backward on Climate Policy, Study Says

Canada is the only country out of 33 developed and developing nations to have taken a step backward in terms of climate legislation over the past year, ending 2012 with fewer policies related to climate change than it had last January, according to an international study published on January 14, 2013. Click here to read a Wall Street Journal article on the study. Click here to read the full study from GLOBE International.  


Three ways the Canada-Europe trade talks could affect you

A CBC news article today highlights the reasons why businesses and local leaders in Hamilton, Ontario are getting increasingly concerned about potential local impacts of the Canada-Europe CETA trade talks. And the potential impacts in Hamilton are the same for municipalities across the country. ‘Unlike previous agreements like NAFTA, the CETA agreement appears to be READ MORE


There’s news on the CETA front, and it’s not so good.

There’s news on the CETA front, and it’s not so good. We’ve been following the CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) negotiations between Canada and the European Union since 2010, starting with a legal analysis of early leaked documents, commissioned by our Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute. That analysis, by trade lawyer Steven READ MORE


More Bang For Our Buck – A new study from Blue Green Canada

This new report from Blue Green Canada  shows if the $1.3 billion in government subsidies, now given to the oil and gas sector, were instead invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency, Canada would create more jobs: 18,000 more.  The full report is available for download here.   You can also read media stories covering the report, from The Vancouver Sun and The Star .


UN says slow pace of carbon cuts brings catastrophic climate change closer

The world is straying further away from commitments to combat climate change, bringing the prospect of catastrophic global warming a step closer, a UN report said on Wednesday. The warning came as nearly 200 governments prepare to meet in Qatar forinternational climate negotiations starting next Monday. The gap between what world governments have committed to READ MORE


Request for Workshop Proposals – BC Civic Governance Forum

Civic Governance ForumRequest for Workshop Proposals The Centre for Civic Governance’s dynamic BC Governance forum is happening March 23 & 24, 2013. We are requesting workshop proposals that are relevant to locally elected leaders, particularly workshops about climate action, social inclusion, social justice, citizen engagement, and the cultural economy.  Proposals should include: An overview of READ MORE


Twenty year plan needed to fix crumbling infrastructure, says FCM

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is calling on the Government of Canada to develop a twenty year plan with predictable funding to fix its crumbling infrastructure. In it’s recommendations to the Governmentof Canada’s Long-TermInfrastructure Plan Consultation , the FCM is calling for measures that include long-term and predictable infrastructure funding; investment to leverage additional funds; renewal and improvements to the Gas Tax and the Building Canada READ MORE


Kingston considers living wage motion

Kington Ontario’s City Council will be voting this week on a motion calling for the city to begin work on a Living Wage policy for city employees and contractors. The motion from Councillors Bill Glover and Rob Hutchison follows up on recommendations from a CCPA Ontario report from 2011 . Living Wage policies are already in place with a number of local governments across READ MORE


Depleting natural gas reserves makes no sense for the province – Study

A new Climate Justice Project study from the BC office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives warns that “BC’s water and hydroelectric resources are at risk of being depleted by industrial users, thanks to lax reporting requirements and extremely low water prices”. The study identifies gaping holes in key information relating to the water that major industries use. For example, of the READ MORE


How a Dyslexic Student Could Change Canada’s Schools

In this Tyee article , Past North Vancouver School Board Trustee Crawford Kilian writes about potential implications of the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling that the North Vancouver School Board must reimburse the family of Jeffery Moore, who put their son into private school in order to get adequate support for his learning disability.  As the READ MORE


Municipal E-voting Used in Halifax Municipal Election

E-Voting was used in the 2012 Halifax Municipal Election Electors received municipal notices in the mail before the start of advance voting. Security codes and other information were in those letters, which included the site of community voting stations for those who plan to cast ballots in two weeks. The civic and school board elections READ MORE


New website to share green policies in Ontario municipalities

The Ontario Green Policy Hub, launched in October, offers a searchable on-line library of sustainability policies in Ontario municipalities. At launch, the website provides details about policies and programs in Toronto, Kitchener, Burlington, East Gwillimbury, York Region, and joint programs. Categories are: Community Design, Transportation, Green Infrastructure, Water Conservation, Energy, Waste Reduction, and Public Buildings. READ MORE


Unions and Environmentalists Urge Continued Support for Green Energy and Green Jobs

The World Trade Organization has come back with a preliminary ruling that find’s Ontario’s Green Energy Act is in contravention of some provisions of the GATT. The news broke in the Globe and Mail . Blue Green Canada is urging the Ontario and federal governments to step up the defence of Ontario’s Green Energy Act. To read more of Blue Green Canada’s response, click here


Asking the right questions: A guide for municipal officials considering P3s

With growing financial and political pressure on municipalities to use P3s, this guide is a timely resource that answers key questions about financing and delivering infrastructure projects.  With this guide, municipal councillors and civic officials will be able to ask the right questions before considering entering into a P3.  For more information, to download the READ MORE


Schools strive to open lines of communication

Abbotsford principal Dexter Horton  is cancel-ling his school’s monthly newsletter as part of an effort to improve communications with parents buy delivering more frequent messages to Clayburn middle school parents using Face-book, Twitter and school blogs.  He hopes these messages will draw more parents into the school to find out what’s going on, meet the teachers, discuss their READ MORE


Meteorologists Name Humans ‘Dominant’ Cause Of Climate Change

The American Meterological Society released its official statement on climate change, claiming the dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities. This scientific finding is based on a large and persuasive body of research.  The National Snow and Ice Data Center, in conjunction with NASA, announced today that Arctic sea ice has reached a READ MORE


Prominent climate change denier now admits he was wrong

Richard Muller, professor of physics at the University of California, Berkely, a MacArthur fellow and co-founder of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project has undergone a ‘total turnaround’ on his stance on global warming, which he now admits is caused by human activity.   “Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in READ MORE


CCPA-NS releases first ever Alternative Municipal Budget

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Nova Scotia (CCPA-NS) releases its first ever Alternative Municipal Budget for the HRM today during the election campaign and well in advance of the normal budget cycle.  The Alternative Budget contains 65 action items and their estimated costs. It includes strategic investments in community centres and recreation programs, in early READ MORE


Canada-wide and BC commitments on climate change move to back burner as economic self-interest takes over

Emission reduction targets (half of what Canada needs to achieve) are being ignored in favour of economic self-interest with the federal government refusing to set targets to cap the fastest growing source of greenhouse bases in Canada – oilsands development.  BC has followed suit in announcing regulations that will allow it to fall farther off its READ MORE