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
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 .
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 .
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 .
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
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
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
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 .
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