Save the date!
The Centre for Civic Governance's annual BC Governance Forum is happening April 4-5, 2014 in Vancouver.

Publications and multimedia:

We are very pleased to highlight our latest publications:

A Canadian Energy Strategy: Why Should Local Governments Care discusses Canada's energy future and the need for a new national approach to energy. Local governments have a key stake in ensuring stable, sustainable, and affordable energy, and have an important role to play in a national energy discussion. 
This briefing note has generated media interest. See recent articles in the the Ottawa Citizen and The Tyee, for example. 
Read the full article here

Multi-Material BC and Local Governments examines the implementation of British Columbia's new recycling system, and the ramifications for local governments. The provincial government is asking municipalities to choose between continuing their own curbside collection or turning it over to an industry group. While shifting responsibility for collecting and recycling packaging waste to industry seems to make sense, many municipalities are refusing to participate because they fear it will increase the overall cost to taxpayers.
See an op-ed by Columbia Institute Executive Director Charley Beresford, and reporting in the Vancouver Sun, the Globe and Mail, and The Tyee.

In collaboration with the Sierra Club of BCMining: The Challenge for BC Local Governments is the Columbia Institute's most recent research paper. Examining emerging local government issues resulting from BC's mining boom. Mining operations offer significant opportunities for communities, bringing great potential for jobs, development, and growth. On the other hand, mining can affect communities in adverse ways, from compromising drinking water and air quality to reducing property values. Current mining legislation in BC does not allow local governments to be involved in decision-making on major resource projects, even when these projects may impact residents' quality of life and may require budgetary expenditures to mitigate.

Request for workshop proposals
The Centre for Civic Governance is requesting workshop proposals for its upcoming BC Governance Forum (April 4-5 2014).
We are requesting workshop proposals that are relevant to locally elected leaders. We are using a food lens this year, and we are particularly interested in workshops that connect food policy with climate action, social inclusion, social justice, citizen engagement, the cultural economy, and stories that showcase leadership.
Proposals should include:

  • An overview of the workshop content
  • A list of possible speakers or panelists, and their title or experience
  • An explanation of how the workshop will be useful for other locally elected leaders

Response Deadline: December 9th

CCG webinar: tools for fair taxation
The Centre for Civic Governance presented a webinar with economist and CCPA research associate Hugh Mackenzie on October 29th. The event was very well-attended, and we are receiving great feedback. The webinar, powerpoint, and other materials are available on our website here. You can read Hugh's article on Local Government Finance in Ontario in our Innovative Strategies Leadership Handbook here.

We think webinars can be a really effective and useful way to share information and resources for local leaders across Canada. What do you think? If you have ideas of other local government and education topics you'd like a webinar on, please let us know! Email Charley Beresford at

News from our Friends:

Check out The Tyee's national rollout. The Tyee publishes independent reporting, commentary, and investigative journalism on the issues that matter to Canadians.

Who We Are
The Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute works to strengthen Canadian communities and enhance the public good through analyzing issues, sharing best practices, and providing tools for locally elected leaders working to build inclusive, sustainable communities. 



Local governments continue to lead on climate issues
The World Mayors Summit on Climate Change last month brought together over 50 mayors from 30 countries in Nantes, France. At the summit, mayors adopted the Nantes Declaration, which calls for renewed cooperation and multi-jurisdictional action on climate change. Frustrated by slow response from other levels of government, and recognizing the desperate need for immediate action, municipalities around the world are taking the lead on addressing climate change. The Nantes Declaration was developed through a partnership with the Local Government Climate Roadmap and was facilitated by ICLEI.

Nature kindergartens continue to inspire
More and more school boards are developing nature-based curriculum for children. The Greater Victoria school district is looking at launching a pilot program for two kindergartens that will focus on environmental stewardship and aboriginal culture, and will include daily field trips to parks, forests, and ocean environments. Nature-based education is a growing movement across Canada, inspired by Scandinavian 'forest schools' and designed to address 'nature deficit disorder' caused by our fast-paced, urban-based, modern lives.

New water legislation in BC
British Columbia is proposing a new Water Sustainability Act and inviting public response by November 15th. You can access the Freshwater Alliance Toolkit HERE. The province of BC has a website to elicit feedback HERE, and you can find further resources from West Coast Environmental Law and the POLIS  project. This is the first time BC's freshwater legislation has been updated in over 100 years, and all stakeholders should be part of the conversation.

Work in a warming world
Work in a warming world: Labour, climate change, and social struggle will be held at York University between November 29-December 1, 2013. Global warming is one of the great challenges of our time, and is already altering national economies. This international conference will bring together experts working broadly in the field of climate change adaptation, including environmental and labour leaders, academics, and practitioners. Join the Columbia Institute's Charley Beresford and Rob Duffy for a presentation on retrofitting infrastructure for climate change, and read about their work in our publication This Green House.

CETA: What does it mean for you?
What is the Canada-EU trade agreement? What does it mean for Canada, and for Canadians? Here is the technical summary from the federal government, a policy note from Iglika Ivanova at the CCPA, and some commentary from The Tyee and from Now Toronto, which focuses on the deal's impact on municipalities. Early reviews point out that we really don't know what the deal includes. There are serious concerns about the secrecy of the negotiations and the limited information that has been released subsequent to ratification. Troublingly for Canadian municipalities, CETA may hinder local procurement policies and ease privatization of municipal services. The City of Toronto will consider a motion requesting a hearing from the province on CETA, to clarify what the deal means, and provide the City of Toronto with an opportunity to debate and vote on the deal before it is approved in Ontario.

Climate change - not just for the 99%
This article in Fortune covers the emerging concern with Earth's reserves of unburnt fossil fuels. There is much more carbon reserves  than can be safely extracted and burnt, if we are to avoid tipping the atmosphere into really dangerous climate change. The Carbon Asset Risk Initiative, group of 70 institutional investors representing more than $3 trillion, are calling on energy companies to explain their exposure to national and international GHG emissions reduction efforts. The group of investors asks energy companies to manage this risk through actions such as divesting carbon-intensive assets and investing in alternative energy. 

This issue has been covered in depth by the CCPA's Marc Lee - read about his research here - and by the Carbon Tracker Initiative. Increasingly, divestment from energy companies involved in fossil fuel extraction is an issue of concern for local governments in Canada. The City of Vancouver is investigating divesting fossil fuel investments from the Municipal Pension Plan, as are Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.


Help The Tyee go national!

From our friends at The Tyee: Canadian media needs a boost. You can help.

Strong democracies thrive on fact-driven, independent journalism, and Canada is not doing well.
  • FACT: Only one per cent of Canadian media are independent.
  • FACT: CBC funding cuts have dramatically hurt Canadian programming. Now political interference threatens the CBC's independence and long-term viability.
  • FACT: In the last federal election, 95 per cent of Canadian newspapers endorsed the Prime Minister's re-election, while only 24 per cent of eligible voters cast votes for the Conservative party.
Do you think Canada needs more independent journalists covering the social, environmental, and economic issues of our day? What about more reporting on viable policy solutions? Check out The Tyee's campaign to go national. The Tyee is an award-winning B.C.-based news website followed closely by policymakers, academics, and smart, engaged citizens. In an age of media austerity, they've launched a campaign to grow their national reporting. Join them in changing Canada's media landscape.

Recycling continues to make news in British Columbia

In response to the implementation of British Columbia's new, industry-driven recycling system, the Union of BC Municipalities has created a recycling negotiating committee to study municipalities' concerns. You can complete a survey on it here, and read the Centre for Civic Governance's report here. This initiative in British Columbia should be of concern for local governments across Canada, as it presents a new model that may be implemented more widely.

Save the Date
Civic Governance Forum - Harrison in Vancouver
April 4-5 2014



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