Category Archives : Finance

More local governments considering divesting from fossil fuels

More and more local governments and education institutions are facing questions about the impacts of climate change, and the risk of having money invested in fossil fuel companies. Mike McGinn, Mayor of Seattle, recently wrote a letter to the President of Harvard, outlining why Seattle decided to persue fossil-fuel divestment. You can read the full READ MORE

School Board action on Carbon Offsets

The Trustees of British Columbia’s School District 5 (Southeast Kootenay) recently passed the following motion, and wrote an explanatory 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 district READ MORE

Tools for Fair Taxation Webinar

Listen to our webinar on Tools for Fair Taxation, with economist and CCPA research associate Hugh Mackenzie on Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013.  Click here to watch and listen to the full Webinar. Click here to download Hugh Mackenzie’s Powerpoint. Click here to read Hugh’s article on Local Government Finance in Ontario, in our Innovative Strategies Leadership Handbook. Hugh Mackenzie is principal in READ MORE

Local Governments Should Have a Bigger Piece of the Pie

Local government officials meet at the Union of BC Municipalities the week of September 24th through 28th. Climate change, increased social challenges and aging infrastructure will be hot topics. The public is on their side. Polling by the Columbia Institute Centre for Civic Governance shows that British Columbians trust their local politicians twice as much 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

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

A Day in the Life of Our Taxes

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

Where Toronto went wrong

An article in the Walrus talks about the financial decline of Canada’s economic hub. Though Toronto remains a vibrant, diverse and exciting place to live, poor economic and structural decision making have left the city with a crumbling infrastructure, service cuts, and traffic congestion that is creating frustration for everyone. With the current Mayor’s decision READ MORE

Catch $25: How mandatory carbon offsets are undermining real emissions reductions in BC school districts

School districts in BC are caught in a Catch 22. Provincial carbon neutral measures are forcing districts to pay for carbon offsets that don’t actually reduce the districts’ own emissions AND drain funds from education operating budgets. The bigger the emissions gap, the more offsets districts have to buy; the more they have to buy, READ MORE

Transferring of gas tax to municipalties would improve transit and ease congestion

Currently municipalities receive 10 cents for every dollar collected in gas taxes, but the Globe and Mail suggests that many municipal woes – from traffic congestion to crumbling infrastructure, would be fixed if the full amount were transferred. At present, “traffic congestion in the Greater Toronto Area alone costs the economy $3.3-billion in lost productivity.” READ MORE

Is it bad for cities to be in debt? Not necessarily

With all the talk of government debt recently — Toronto, $4.7 billion; Ontario, $240 billion; the U.S., $14.6 trillion — the spectacular figures and the concept of debt itself have become so abstract many people don’t even understand the conversation. The Toronto Star recently spoke with Dr. Enid Slack, director of the University of Toronto’s Institute on Municipal Finance READ MORE

CCPA sheds light on “murky world of carbon credits and a “carbon neutral” B.C. government”

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has released a commentary questioning the legitimacy of the BC Government’s carbon neutral policy. The CCPA takes issue with the fact that not only do schools and hospitals have to buy credits from the crown corporation Pacific Carbon Trust , where carbon offsets cost as much as four times what they would at a private offset READ MORE

Money-losing carbon tax must be fixed: CCPA, Sierra Club

A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and Sierra Club BC states that the BC carbon tax is “revenue-negative” and increases social inequality. It argues that instead of funding corporate tax cuts, revenues from the tax should be spent on climate change investments such as public transportation and green job creation. READ MORE

In U.S., a hot debate on infrastructure privatizing

In the aftermath of the recent economic recession, many U.S. state governments are tempted to follow Chicago’s successful use of P3s to raise money. P3s, or “public-private partnerships” hand public assets to private businesses to run them as profit enterprises. P3 critics however argue that states will subjecting taxpayers to higher costs and greater risks READ MORE

Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives Proposing a $33 Billion Stimulus Package

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is proposing a one year $ 33 billion dollar economic stimulus package that would create 407,000 new jobs, boost the economy by 3% and protect those hardest hit by recession. Unlike the contents of the Conservative’s  upcoming budget, the CCPA is not propsing any tax cuts. Read more here.

Poll: Municipal Governments are Under-Funded

A poll commissioned by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has found that there is consensus across Canada that municipal governments are under-funded. The poll showed that 90% of people believe that the federal government should provide financial support to assist municipal governments with infrastructure issues and did not see property taxes or spending cuts as reasonable READ MORE

Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance

The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto looks at municipal finance and governance issues of Canada’s large cities and city-regions. This site is chock-full of presentations, articles and papers relating to municipal finance.  For example, check out The Impact of Municipal Finance and Governance on Urban READ MORE

Green Municipalities: A Guide to Green Infrastructure for Canadian Municipalities

This guide, prepared by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Sheltair Group, lays out a vision of what ‘green infrastructure’ looks like. Green infrastructure means systems that are distributed, clustered, interconnected, integrated, service-oriented, responsive, renewable, low-imapct, appropriate, multi-purpose and finally, adaptable. The guide also explains the social, economic and environmental benefits of green infrastructure READ MORE