New UBC Study Highlights Vancouver’s Income Gap

A new study from the University of British Columbia is the first to use census data to examine changing income inequality in Vancouver. Researchers used a method that separates the city into three distinct income categories in order to show how the groups have fared differently over the past 35 years. Click here to read more in Huffington Post Canada. 

Government collects carbon offset surplus from public institutions

In BC all public institutions including schools and hospitals are legally required to purchase carbon offsets from the Pacific Carbon Trust to achieve a goal of carbon neutrality. The cost of purchasing offsets from the PCT is $25 per tonne of offsets. It is suspected that the PCT only pays $5.70 per tonne of offsets. Questions are arising as to why public institutions are being forced to purchase expensive offsets from a company that appears to be making a sizable profit. Read more in the Tyee.

Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Task Force targets middle-income residents

The affordable task force released a list of recommendations that could potentially help those in the middle income households (ranging from an individual income of $21,500 to a combined household income of $86,500). Some of the recommendations include; expediting applications that address affordable housing, developing the Cambie corridor for higher density rental housing, and leveraging city land for non-profit and co-op housing. Before a final report is delivered in June, the task force will be seeking public engagement. Read more in the Vancouver Sun. 

Toronto seeks exemption from CETA agreement

Toronto is the latest municipality to seek an exemption from the CETA agreement. At issue is the likely loss of local procurement policies. Most governments in Canada, at all three levels, have clauses in their contracts that particular goods and services must be generated locally. The benefits to such clauses are obvious in that they generate jobs and money for the local economy. Under CETA local procurement policies would likely be illegal. Read more in the Toronto Star. 

Cambridge Ontario goes for the gold

As of March 5th all civic building will be built to the Leed Gold Standard. This ambitious plan will cost taxpayers more in the short-term, but over the long term will result in much lower energy costs. It takes only between 3-5 years to gain back the extra costs. Councillor Pam Wolf believes “Advertising our community as a gold community will help us attract new industry, I think we can only win by it.” Read more in The Record. 

Governments should consider “fiscal blowback” before they commit to outsourcing jobs

An op- ed in the Toronto star is critical of Toronto City council’s proposal to outsource cleaning jobs. Outsourcing jobs would mean a drastic pay cut for hard working cleaning staff and a whole host of problems including unforeseen fiscal costs :”the costs of tendering, supervision and compliance; severance costs for displaced workers; profit margins captured by suppliers; and the costs of unexpected or irregular cleaning functions not covered in standard contracts.” Read piece in the Toronto Star. 

City of Edmonton signs on to Global Cities Covenant on Climate Change

The City of Edmonton reaffirmed its global role in taking action on climate change by agreeing to sign The Global Cities Covenant on Climate.

Edmonton will become the seventh Canadian city and one of 200+ cities world-wide to sign the Covenant. The Global Cities Covenant on Climate originated from the World Mayors Summit on Climate held in November 2010.

City Council approved signing the Covenant on February 29, 2012.  Read more at the City of edmonton website.

Northern opposition to pipeline grows- Smithers BC rejects Enbridge proposal

Opposition to the proposed Enbridge pipeline is growing in Northwestern BC . The town of Smithers has joined Terrace, Prince Rupert and the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District in formally rejecting the pipeline proposal, due to concerns that the risks associated with oil spills are too high in a region that is ecologically sensitive and dependent upon its fishing industry. Read more in the Toronto Sun.