The Columbia Institute will hold its annual Centre for Civic Governance Forum at the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel in Vancouver, BC from Friday, March 27 to Saturday, March 28. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, take a look at last year’s program here
“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
“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
“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.
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.
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
The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food has released a report saying that Canada’s scrapping of the long-form census, as well as it’s possible signing of a free-trade deal with Europe, will make it more difficult to fight poverty in Canada. Scrapping the long-form census has a detrimental impact on efforts to READ MORE
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
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 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.
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. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 .
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
Mordenites will again be getting more opportunities to share their views with the mayor and council in the months ahead. In addition to the weekly meet with the mayor sessions, Morden’s municipal leaders will offer another open forum this fall providing a chance for residents to speak with council without the formalities of a regular council READ MORE
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
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
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
A new survey finds only 2 percent of Canadians doubt climate change is happening. Almost 32 per cent said they believe climate change is happening because of human activity, while 54 per cent said they believe it’s because of human activity and partially due to natural climate variation. Nine per cent believe climate change is READ MORE
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
Nelson Hydro’s EcoSave Energy Retrofits Program has exceeded the two-year pilot phase target in just three months. The goal was to have 200 homes register for a home energy assessment during the pilot phase of 2012 and 2013. This number has already been exceeded and continues to grow. The benefits of registering with EcoSave are READ MORE
The sale of shark fin may soon be banned in Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby as the three cities work together on a bylaw to have the Chinese delicacy removed from restaurant menus. Vancouver City Councilor Kerry Jang says it’s important the three cities put in a ban at the same time saying, “We wanted to make READ MORE
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
Inspired by Toronto civic activist Dave Meslin’s TED Talk The Antidote to Apathy, Pemberton villager staffers set out to dramatically redesigned its public notices covering development applications, zoning and Official Community Plan amendments so residents can more easily understand them, and respond. “We’ve received a lot of feedback from different community groups with compliments saying how they READ MORE
After being on an energy diet for close to half a year, the residents of Rossland have reduced their annual energy use substantially—more than 2,220 gigajoules (GJ) of natural gas and 1,478,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, all through making energy efficient renovations to existing homes and small businesses. This was accomplished through the first ever READ MORE
Surrey city councillors, community and charity groups and academics identified four core areas of improvement transit, housing, income and community support to come up with a plan aimed at helping the 71,000 Surrey residents who live below the poverty line. “We want to establish a new benchmark to take care of the vulnerable people in our READ MORE
Estevan Saskatchewan is on the cusp of a resource-fuelled growth spurt that’s attracting newcomers from across the country and around the world. Growth has brought it’s share of problems – low vacancy rates, high cost of housing, increases in drug related crime, and difficulty filling employment positions in the service industry. Read more at The Globe and Mail .
India has put in place a $5.4-billion policy to provide free generic medicine to its people. The decision could change the lives of hundreds of millions in a country where public spending on health was just $4.50 per person last year. Under the plan, doctors will be limited to a generics-only drug list and face punishment READ MORE
Climate scientists suggest that if you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, take a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks – wildfires, heat waves, droughts, flooding and a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho. These are the kinds of extremes experts have predicted will come with climate change, READ MORE
Vancouver’s Cascade Room will be the target of a “Carrotmob” that organizers hope will draw hundreds of customers eager to reward the restaurant’s commitment to environmentally friendly renovations. A Carrotmob is a social-media driven reverse boycott in which people reward socially responsible businesses with their patronage in a one-day spending blitz. Read more at the READ MORE
Homeowners in Ontario could soon finance efficiency retrofits and solar panel installations through an additional charge on their property taxes, but only if the province makes good on regulatory changes it proposed last month. Toronto councillor Mike Layton said proposed changes to provincial legislation would allow municipalities to enter into agreements with individual property owners READ MORE
North Vancouver is joining in the growing campaign against the sale of shark fin. Councillor Craig Keating introduced a motion asking for the preparation of a bylaw that would ban the possession, sale and distribution within the municipality. The motion also calls for the city to lobby the provincial and federal governments to ban shark fin outright. READ MORE
Surrey City Council is moving forward on a new by-law which would require all new gas stations to include alternative fuel sources such as a level-three electric vehicle charging station, compressed natural gas, hydrogen or propane. “We want to promote and advance clean technology by building the necessary infrastructure to support alternative fuel vehicles,” says Mayor READ MORE
At a meeting on June 25th, the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools’ board cut full-day, every day kindergarten for the 2012-13 school year in order to balance their budgets. This follows the same move made last week in the city’s public schools. Several trustees voiced concerns about the cut and blamed the provincial government for failing to READ MORE
The Ontario Ministry of Education has assembled the Accepting Schools Expert Panel to bring together experts to identify and advise on the development of resources and practices that promote a positive school climate, equity and inclusive education, as well as bullying prevention and early intervention. Read more at the Caledon Enterprise .
After over a decade of pushing the Progressive Conservative government, advocacy groups finally see the Alberta government scrap the part of its medical services billing codes that classified gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered patients as suffering from mental disorders. Read more at Yahoo News.
Negotiators for more than 100 countries, including Canada, have signed a draft blueprint for sustainable development, but critics say Canada was instrumental in making the plan unduly weak. Officials at the Rio+20 conference in Brazil compromised and delivered a 283-point “vision” for leaders and politicians to ratify later this week. But critics say the draft READ MORE
After producing a comprehensive study of where Canada is at reducing greenhouse gas emissions requested by Environment Minister Peter Kent, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) goes out of business next March after losing funding in the 2012 budget. The report produced by NRTEE shows that Canada is nowhere near on target READ MORE
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