“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
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
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
On June 22, 2012, the Columbia Institute made a submission to the Municipal Finance Policy Branch at the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in a response for public feedback on proposal number 11-MAH011 – Local Improvement Charges Regulation Amendments Under the Municipal Act and the City of Toronto Act. The submission focused specifically on the role municipalities 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
Current emissions reductions targets are likely to create a warming of 3.5°C by 2020, far below the original pledge of 2°C lower. The Climate Action Tracker has done an analysis that shows what the financial and environmental risks are. The tracker is continually updating according to the latest information available. What the current analysis shows READ MORE
Under new provincial legislation, school administrators will be able to permanently expel bullies. The province already has a Safe Schools Act and this new legislation will provide an opportunity to take meaningful action. Premier Mc Guinty is encouraging students, teachers and administrators to “to take action to prevent bullying, intervene when appropriate and apply appropriate READ MORE
The Trustees of British Columbia’s School District 5 (Southeast Kootenay) recently passed the following motion, and wrote an explainatory letter to the Honourable George Abbott, BC Minister of Education. The motion, and letter, communicate challenges they face within the current structure of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, and suggests improvements that would help their READ MORE
Last spring, the Saanich School Board banned WiFi in all public elementary schools, now a private elementary school south of Prince George is following suite. The move to ban WiFi comes as reported cases of nausea, faintness, headaches and cardiac arrests among children, are on the rise. To find out more about WiFi and children’s READ MORE
Hamilton Ontario has created a voluntary climate action charter that can be used by local individuals, businesses and organization to foster communication and commitment on addressing climate change. Signees are expected to keep informed on climate change issues, set targets, show leadership, report annually on climate change measures, and to educate fellow Hamilton residents. A READ MORE
A campaign to create a sexual orientation and gender identity policy for all BC schools is underway. The campaign is asking individuals to submit personal letters explaining why they think such a policy is needed. Those in the LGBT community are encouraged to write as are their friends and allies. Letters can be sent to: READ MORE
BC’s Farm to School program is having a transformative effect on student participants. The program provides students with locally grown food served at the school cafeteria, and some classroom time dedicated to learning about local food and nutrition. At participant schools students are enthusiastically lining up at the salad bar and are showing a genuine READ MORE
ICLEI Canada Adaptation Initiative is offering a unique program to municipalities addressing climate change and adaptation. ” Participants have access to exclusive webshops, each focusing on specific areas of a milestone; in-person workshops; networking opportunities with other participants and experts in the field of adaptation; and ongoing technical support from ICLEI Canada Staff.” The Initiative READ MORE
The Community Energy Association’s latest funding guide for climate change initiatives provides a comprehensive list of programs and grants that offer financial incentives for climate change initiatives. The guide also provides tools and resources for accessing up-to-date information on energy planning. Download the 2011 release of Funding Your Community Energy and Climate Change Initiatives here READ MORE
A pilot program being launched in Victoria, BC – The Capital Regional District, City of Victoria, Township of Esquimalt and Town of View Royal will allow home sellers to advertise the energy efficiency of their home through a rating system similar to the EnergyStar system for appliances. The program is a partnership with BC Hydro READ MORE
With pedestrian fatalities on the rise some cities are looking at ways to make streets safer through engineering. Globe and Mail writer Francis Bula provides a list of street designs that have helped pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Among them are: lights with countdown timers, corner bulges, lower speed limits and scrambles. Read more in the Globe READ MORE
A comprehensive sustainable growth plan for Edmonton was approved by city council on July 20th. “The Way We Green describes a future Edmonton that is carbon-neutral, generates zero waste, is significantly less dependent on fossil fuels, has clean air and water, is able to withstand and bounce back intact from a range of possible environmental READ MORE
A new report takes an independent look at 27 North American Cities and rates their environmental performance. The US and Canada Green City Index reports on 9 key areas in urban sustainability; CO₂, energy, land use, buildings, water, waste air and environmental governance. Each city is provided with an environmental profile that examines in detail areas where the city excels or READ MORE
A new website that builds upon open data allows users to rate Toronto neighbourhoods. Information provided on the Wellbeing Toronto website is exhaustive, ranging from the number of car crashes in an area, to income and education levels. While some view the ranking system as potentially damaging to communities, many others are happy to have such data readily READ MORE
“P3s are complicated and politically contentious. They shift the role governments play in the delivery of public services and infrastructure,” says Charley Beresford, Columbia Institute’s Executive Director. “On balance, our research shows that P3’s do not support the public interest.” columbiap3_eng_v8-webpdf.pdf
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union Canada has been negotiating a new trade agreement with the European Union, an agreement that could hurt local governments. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) could take away your municipalities’ right to have buy local & buy Canadian policies, increase your administrative READ MORE
Columbia Institute Executive Director, Charley Beresford, argues last month’s intensive floods, tornadoes and hurricanes should serve as reminder that we can’t wait any longer to start actively reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. A report released by the Columbia Institute, This Green House: Building Fast Action on Climate Change examines the role Canadian READ MORE
Municipal financing makes changes easy and affordable for homeowners A new study – This Green House – Building Fast Action on Climate Change and Green Jobs by the Columbia Institute – reveals that modest investments in energy conservation in homes can save homeowners thousands of dollars, and dramatically and rapidly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)emissions in READ MORE
The Burnaby school district has drafted a policy, No. 5.45, to support students and employees who are (or are assumed to be) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit or queer (LGBTQ). While the policy is being met with protest from some parents and church groups, students are overwhelmingly in favour of the policy. Read more READ MORE
During the past four years the city of Surrey has greatly reduced criminal activity by employing a variety of strategies: increasing police presence at hotspots for crime, creating more affordable housing, neighbourhood beautification and increasing community and school programs for youth. Surrey’s innovative crime reduction program is the result of “community partnerships, innovative programs and READ MORE
Several municipalities across BC already have cosmetic pesticide bans, but now there is a move to extend the ban province-wide. NDP leader Adrian Dix proposed the ban last week, and in a rare moment of agreement, it looks as though the Liberals are on side. Read more at the CBC . To find out more about READ MORE
The FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) now has a collection of sustainable by-laws posted on their website. The site breaks by-laws down into categories: Brownfields, Energy Transportation, Waste, Water and Multi-sector. View By-law library here .
The Canada Green Building Council has just published a Sustainable Communities Toolkit that focuses on the following areas: Community Planning Natural Environment Transportation Buildings Infrastructure Energy The kit is free to all Municipal Government Employees Click here to find out more.
In the US, government investment in energy efficiency and retrofitting programs has helped stimulate economic activity, create jobs in the green building sector, and reduce carbon emissions. Portland has been particularly successful with such programs, and non-profits, government agencies, and energy providers have partnered together to provide retrofit financing to homeowners. The Pembina Institute looks READ MORE
Sixty-five years after the United Nations officially recognized March 8 as International Women’s Day, gender equality still remains a work in progress. Women are disproportionately represented as victims of violence, and comprise the majority of the world’s poor. Gender discrimination is also apparent in workplaces across the globe, including Canada where the gender inequality gap READ MORE
On February 21 the Vancouver board of education unanimously passed a motion of support for Bill C-389, a federal bill that would add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code. Gender identity and expression are common grounds for bullying and harassment among school-aged READ MORE
Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Resolution – CETA – September 2010 October 2010, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) pass a resolution calling on the provincial government to negotiate a clear, permanent exemption for local governments from CETA. WHEREAS the Canadian government has entered into negotiations with the European Union for a comprehensive READ MORE
September 2010, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) pass a resolution calling on the federal government to respect municipal autonomy in trade negotiations with the European Union. MUNICIPAL IMPACT OF CANADA AND EUROPEAN ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP TRADE AGREEMENT WHEREAS The Government of Canada has entered into negotiations with the European Union for an EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic READ MORE
Campaigns aimed at supporting local economies are gaining popularity, especially in BC. Writer Darren Barefoot has made a commitment to buy only Canadian products and services for an entire year, and the BC chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced its “ Ten Percent Shift Campaign ” to encourage British Columbians to shop locally. Read the READ MORE
The Cowichan Valley Regional District, BC, has issued a report card to measure the following areas of environmental concern: Overall Environmental Footprint, Population Growth, Biodiversity, Agriculture, Water, Climate Change, Air Quality and Waste Management. The report card is but one piece of a larger plan for building a “strong, resilient community.” Find report card here . READ MORE
Vancouver Sun journalist Peter McMartin suggests that following the Edmonton model of diversifying schools and offering more choice may help save Vancouver’s public schools. Read the article in the Vancouver Sun .
Two BC municipalities are leading the way when it comes to children and families. Both New Westminster and the City of Surrey are developing strategies to promote the well-being of children in their communities. To read about Surrey’s initiatives, click here . To read about New Westminster’s Children’s Charter click here .
Following on the heels of Toronto, Vancouver has officially endorsed the Vienna Declaration . The Vienna Declaration encourages governments to use scientific, evidence-based research when developing drug policy, rather than dealing with drug addiction from an ideological perspective. The city’s safe injection site is a key example of an evidence-based policy. Read more in the Metro READ MORE
In 2008, the City of Toronto released a study titled The Mayor’s Tower Renewal Opportunities Book . The study looked at ways that Toronto’s outdated and inefficient apartment housing stock could be retrofitted for energy efficiency and liveability. The current Mayor’s office however, has deemed the program a waste of taxpayers money, despite the energy and financial savings that would be READ MORE
The report, titled “Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature, ” is written by Pavan Sukhdev, a banker who heads the UN’s green economy initiative, and describes the global tendency to take advantage of nature’s free services without applying economic value to them. The report points out that deforestation costs millions of dollars in flooding, greenhouse gas emissions, and water purification- more READ MORE
After many years of careful planning, Vancouver Island’s Capital Regional District (CRD) has just received provincial approval for a $782-million sewage system upgrade that will put an end to the practice of dumping raw sewage into the ocean. Saanich City Councillor, Judy Brownoff, who also serves as chair for the CRD’s Sewage Treatment Committee, has READ MORE
Prepared by the Land Conservancy and Farm Folk City Folk, the “Local Government Toolkit for Sustainable Food Production” provides tools and resources for the promotion of local farming and food security. Download the toolkit here .
The Community Energy Association has just released a guide providing information on over 60 funding programs and resources that provide financial and educational support to BC local governments and climate change initiatives. To access the guide click here .
Whistler’s annual BioBlitz invites local and non-local scientists to participate in a species treasure hunt. Scientists snap photos and collect samples of species found in the Whistler Resort area. This year’s event resulted in a collection of over 700 plant and animal species and 100 of them are thought to be new. Read more in READ MORE
Green builders are currently examining the environmental benefits of different roofing systems, focusing much of their research on white roofs and green roofs. While green roofs are expensive, test sites in New York City have shown that green roofs are very effective at reducing the urban heat island effect, absorbing stormwater and keeping buildings cool READ MORE
The Canadian Opera Company in Toronto is doing their part to stop the decline of bee populations in North America by installing two honey bee hives on the roof of their building. Recent studies have shown that urban bees often fare better than their rural counterparts due to lower pesticide exposure. Read about the project READ MORE
In an effort to boost cycling as a mode of transportation from 3.7% to 10%, the city of Vancouver is allocating $25 million dollars towards a two year plan aiming for a reduction in road space for cars. The city has already converted a lane of traffic from the both the Burrard Street Bridge and READ MORE
Ontario will soon have the highest electicity prices in Canada, as residents will see a 25% increase in their electricity bills by the end of 2011, and more increases will come by 2012. These increased rates will stem from new wind, solar and biomass energy projects that are expected to provide cleaner air and a READ MORE
The New Westminister Board of Education voted unanimously to cease bottled water use in school facilities and promote public water use through an educational program. CUPE staff and trustee Lori Watts were behind the motion. Read the full story at the CUPE website .