The Big Download of Costs to Cities

Eighty-six British Columbia Mayors are meeting in Penticton this week to discuss the increase in costs being downloaded to cities, and how they can respond. Canadian cities only receive 8% of the tax base, and as budgets get cut elsewhere, they are having to deal with more and more costs in their communities. Not only that, but major infrastructure across the country is in need of repair, and cities just don’t have the funds to take on those projects on their own.

The mayors say that there is need for a new deal between levels of government on how costs and tax revenues are distributed.

Read more here.

Cities push for B.C. Residential Tenancy Act amendment

City counsellors call for a united voice in requesting the provincial government review the Residential Tenacy Act.  Politicians from 33 municipalities agreed the act subjects tenants to a costly, time-consuming, and ineffective system that is difficult to navigate due to its bureaucratic and legal complexity.  The resolution put forward by Judy Villeneuve, Counsellor from Surrey, calling for amendments to the act will be sent to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities for debate in this fall.  Read more at the Vancouver Sun.

The Sharing Good Ideas Agenda


9:00 am     Registration
9:30 amWelcome 
9:45 amPanel – Municipal role in Home Energy Retrofits – WE CAN DO IT!
11:00 am Break
11:15 amPanel  –  A Climate Change Action Charter for your municipality?
12:30 pmLUNCH 
12:45 pmKey Note Speaker – Economist Jim Stanford
1:30 pmPanel – A Living Wage for my community




A Living Wage For My Community

Sam Magavern, a volunteer attorney for the City of Buffalo Living Wage Commission will be joining Hamilton Wentworth school board Trustee Alex Johnstone  and Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction Director Tom Cooper on a panel on A Living Wage at the Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute’s The Sharing of Good Ideas! forum on Saturday, May 26 at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton. 

The panel will follow lunch time remarks by economist Jim Stanford on A Living Wage. Stanford is a researcher with the Canadian Autoworkers and a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

In April 2010 the City of New Westminster, BC became the first municipality in Canada to pass a Living Wage Policy. At least 140 US cities have successfully implemented a living wage, including New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Miami and Buffalo. Almost half of the urban population in the US lives in a city covered by a legislated municipal living wage. 

The Sharing of Good Ideas Speakers

Sam Magavern: 
Sam Magavern co-directs the Partnership for the Public Good and teaches at the SUNY Buffalo Law School and the Cornell University ILR School. He has served as the compliance coordinator and as a volunteer attorney for the City of Buffalo Living Wage Commission. 

Tom Cooper: Tom Cooper is Director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction – a collaboration of community partners with a shared goal of reducing and eliminating poverty through the aspiration of making Hamilton the Best Place to Raise a Child. Current campaigns include ‘Making Hamilton a Living Wage community’, reforming provincial social assistance and shifting public attitudes about the costs of poverty in our community.

Alex Johnstone: Alex Johnstone is a public school board trustee with the Hamilton-Wentorth District School Board, a political pundit on Cable 14’s The Opinionators, and is employed by a not-for-profit organization in Hamilton. Alex offers a look at local poverty and the local campaign for a living wage from the perspective of gender-equity and children’s rights. 

Halifax councillor urges rent control study

A Halifax councillor wants the provincial government to look into limiting rent hikes before demand for housing rises and is calling on the Halifax Regional Municipality staff to look at the pros and cons of re-establishing provincial rent controls, which were abolished in the 1980s.  Currently, only BC, Manitoba, Ontario and PEI limit the size of a rental increase. Read more at the CBC.

Edmonton’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness Delivers Results

A Place to Call Home: Edmonton’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness inspired by the Housing First principle that providing people with housing and supports prepares them to successfully build a new life for themselves.  The City of Edmonton and the Government of Alberta have all worked in collaboration to house and support 1789 Edmontonians creating a new model for success. Read more at Municipal Information Network.

What’s the Big Deal About CETA?

Canada-Europe Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is generating serious questions and concerns from local governments across Canada.  Municipalities, local government associations and school boards have passed resolutions expressing concern about the CETA’s potential impact local public services and decision making which could undermine public control key municipal services. Read more from the Columbia Institute at The Tyee

ReThink London Engages Community

Citizens are encouraged to take advantage of the City of London’s efforts to gather input when it comes to creating a vision for London’s future through the ReThink London project.  The city is asking London residents to share their ideas on how to make the city a better place to live, work, play and visit through community conversations, events and an extensive public feedback campaign as community members, civic leaders and urban planners together to prepare a plan that will chart the course of how the city grows and develops over the next 20 years . Read more at London Community News.