Category Archives : Social Fabric

Strong communities encourage the sharing of knowledge, best practices and tools, and motivate individuals to initiate positive social change. The themes present in this category include housing, poverty, placemaking, and arts, culture and heritage.

Markham’s local food policy is making a difference

Ontario’s Local Food Champions report recognizes Markham Ontario as being the first municipality in Ontario to develop a local food policy. Highlights of the policy include:• Cutting edge food service model bringing more Ontario food into a municipally run cafeteria• In 2008 Markham committed to procuring no less than 10 per cent Local Food Plus READ MORE

Now Look Who’s Big on Buying Local

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

Canadian Values More Liberal than Ever Before

A recent poll conducted by Focus Canada shows that Canadians are more supportive of gay marriage and abortion than ever before and are less supportive of capital punishment. "Focus Canada’s survey finds Canadians’ top spending priorities to be education, health care, elderly programs, the environment and reducing child poverty." Read Jeffrey Simpson’s editorial in the READ MORE

Cowichan Valley, BC Issues Report Card on the Environment

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 and Toronto Launch Programs to Encourage Newcomers to Ride Bikes

The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, with support from Vancouver Coastal Health, runs a program that teaches new immigrants how to cycle in Vancouver. A similar program, called “Culture Link”, is being launched in Toronto this June. The programs both aim to reduce stress among newcomers and engage them in new social situations. Read the full READ MORE

Planning a Post-Carbon World:The City of North Vancouver and the 100 Year Plan

The City of North Vancouver’s "100 Year Sustainability Vision" highlights what is likely one of the first attempts to use greenhouse gas reduction targets as part of the long-term design of a city. The project looks at North Vancouver’s expected growth, and aims to increase residential and job density while maintaining aesthetic appeal. Read the READ MORE

Newly released Canadian Society Report Card

“How Canada Performs: A Report Card on Canada compares quality of life in Canada with peer countries, and publishes comparisons in a report card that measures the following categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and Society. In the most recent report, Canada received one “B”, 2 “C”s and 9 “D”s. Countries with the READ MORE

Housing Policies Could Help Prevent AIDS, Says Study

A recently published study in the Harm Reduction Journal finds that injection drug users rank security issues, such as housing and physical safety, above concerns about catching diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Activists suggest that housing is a key issue in preventing AIDS infection, and emphasize the need for secure, barrier-free housing for street-involved populations. Read READ MORE

Victoria, BC Latest Transition Town

Victoria is taking the Transition Initiative by working to address peak oil and climate change issues, in an effort to enhance community sustainability and resiliency. To date the Victoria Region Transition Initiative (VRTI) has participated in public forums, given presentations, provided film screenings, and completed a Strategic Plan. Get more information on the VRTI here READ MORE

Future of the Region Sustainability Dialogues

The Future of the Region Sustainability Dialogues is the latest outreach component of the Sustainable Region Initiative. It is intended to stimulate discussion and debate among decision makers, and foster new and diverse thought on regional issues such as housing, industry, labor and immigration, drugs and crime, regional economy, energy, and agriculture. Find more information READ MORE

New Westminster, BC Implementing Density Bonuses

New Westminster city councillors are asking staff to move ahead with the implementation of density bonuses. The city is offering bonuses to developers in exchange for amenity contributions. Amenities include affordable housing, child care, civic lands and buildings, parks and open spaces, public art and specific types of transportation infrastructure were appropriate. The City has READ MORE

11 Ways to Create Affordable Housing in Vancouver

Author and developer Howard Rotberg’s new book Exploring Vancouverism: The Political Culture of Canada’s Lotus Land (Mantua Books) offers 11 key steps in creating affordable housing. Many of these strategies have been employed to great success in other provinces, most notable Ontario. Some of the key steps include: levying a business tax on unoccupied condo READ MORE

Ontario Farmers Receive a $400,000 Grant From the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

In Febraury 2005, Ontario’s provincial government designated 1.8 million acres protected greenspace. Called the Greenbelt, this area encompasses some of the richest farmeland and natural habitat in Canada. This week, a new development will help secure a legacy of sustainable farming for the area. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation awarded local farmers a $400,000 grant to diversify READ MORE

Happiness Linked to Sustainability

The New Economics Foundation has released its latest Happy Planet Index , which shows the relative efficiency with which nations convert their natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. The more efficiently they do this, the better the score. The top 6 scorers on the Index (in order) are: Vanuatu, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Panama, READ MORE

Human Rights and Affordable Housing in Ontario

Report on the Consultation on Human Rights and Rental Housing in Ontario was released by the Ontario Human Rights Commission in mid-June 2008. The report finds that all levels of government, as well as public and private sector landlors, discriminate against immigrants, refugees, single parents, the disabled, aboriginals, and the mentally ill. Such discriminating acts READ MORE

Food Secure Communities in BC: Resource Guide for Local Governments

The BC Provincial Health Services Authority has just released this new guide , designed to help local governments create more food secure communities. According to the guide, improving food security involves integrating health, economic, ecological, and social factors. The guide includes such topics as community gardens, farmers’ markets, making food access easy through neighbourhood planning, supporting local food READ MORE