It’s Budget Time!

A free, engaging webinar on school board budgeting for School Board trustees across the province. This interactive workshop will provide an overview on how to read budgets as political documents and include guidance on the challenges and opportunities that arise during budget time. 

Please join us for this free event on Thursday, February 22 from 6:30PM to 7:30PM by zoom! 

Brought to you by The Trustee Project, a joint initiative of the Institute for Public Education and the Columbia Institute to support school trustees in their advocacy.

Thursday, February 22, 2024 6:30PM – 7:30PM PDT
Via Zoom
Register Now

If you have any questions or are having trouble registering, please email Isabella Johnson at ijohnson@columbiainstitute.eco.

We look forward to seeing you there!

High Ground 2024: Emergence

Now in its 19th edition, our hallmark conference inspires, informs, and connects progressive elected officials (mayors, councilors, regional directors, and school trustees) from B.C. and across Canada, alongside union leaders and civil society experts by bringing them together to learn about inspiring policies and practices, informed research, and transformative actions around issues of shared priority and interest.

This year’s theme is “Emergence”, inspired by the Rebecca Solnit quote: “Inside the word “emergency is emerge; from an emergency new things come forth. The old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters.”

As we build our program and impressive roster of speakers, take a look at last year’s program to see what High Ground is all about. Revisit High Ground 2023


Date: Friday March 22 to Saturday, March 23, 2024
Location: Coast Coal Harbour Vancouver Hotel,
1180 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 4R5
Register Now

If you have any questions or are having trouble registering, please email Isabella Johnson at ijohnson@columbiainstitute.eco.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Conversation Series #4: Retention of Progressive Women in Municipal Elected Offices

We have two great events in partnership with The Feminist Campaign School. First, on October 26th from 4:00pm to 5:00pm PST via Zoom, for a look into the research project Retention of Progressive Women in Municipal Elected Offices, with insights into the barriers that women face in office, and the reasons why they don’t run again.

Following the webinar, on November 9th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm PST via Zoom, we invite women and non-binary folks to join us for a dialogue for Progressive Women in Municipal Elected Offices and a discussion on how better to support these individuals and what can be done to change the trend of women leaving elected office.

Date and Location
Webinar: October 26, 2023 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm PST
Via Zoom
Register Now


Dialogue: November 9, 2023 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm PST
Via Zoom
Register Now

If you have any questions or are having trouble registering, please email Isabella Johnson at ijohnson@columbiainstitute.eco.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Conversation Series #4: Opportunities for the Accelerating Community Energy Transformation (ACET) Initiative to Support Community Actions

Join us for a deep dive into the Accelerating Community Energy Transformation (ACET) initiative with Curran Crawford, Executive Director of ACET, and Tamara Krawchenko, University of Victoria via zoom on Thursday, October 12 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST.

The Accelerating Community Energy Transformation (ACET) Initiative, led by the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic) at the University of Victoria (UVic) together with four partner institutions, is being formed to help communities rapidly move from planning to action.

This talk with give an overview of ACET’s mission and vision, and examples of how academic research can provide tangible benefits to communities in implementing low carbon solutions from technology to policy. We’ll then present the opportunities and mechanisms for interested communities to partner with ACET. This will be followed by a Q&A session to hear from communities themselves their needs for support capacity in actually implementing their action plans.

Date and Location
October 12, 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Via Zoom
Register Now

If you have any questions or are having trouble registering, please email Isabella Johnson at ijohnson@columbiainstitute.eco.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Conversation Series #4: UBCM 2023 – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Join us for a post-UBCM debrief conversation via zoom on Friday, September 29 from 10:00am to 12:00pm PST.

The post-UBCM webinar is a space to debrief and reflect after the convention. Facilitated by Amy Lubik, Port Moody City Councillor, this discussion will focus on ideas and possible next steps stemming from UBCM 2023 – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Date and Location
September 29, 10:00am to 12:00pm
Via Zoom
Register Now

If you have any questions or are having trouble registering, please email Isabella Johnson at ijohnson@columbiainstitute.eco.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Media Training for Electeds

We’re offering a great opportunity for local electeds to brush up on their media skills prior to UBCM this year. In partnership with The Feminist Campaign School, we’re hosting a Media Training session via Zoom on September 13 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm!

Please note registration for this event is now full.

Media training offers valuable skills to help you get your message across to the audiences you want to reach. Whether doing a live or recorded interview, motivating a motion at UBCM, or speaking up at a council meeting, the skills provided in this workshop will improve your ability to be clear, concise, and avoid misspeaking at a critical moment.

This online workshop includes learning about the media landscape, the role of key messages, and a practice session to hone your skills. Unlike traditional media training, Ablaze Services focuses on approaching any media or public speaking opportunities from the perspective of intentionality, personal agency, and diverse representation.

Date and Location
September 13, 6:00pm to 8:00pm

If you have any questions or are having trouble registering, please email Isabella Johnson at ijohnson@columbiainstitute.eco. Please note, spaces are limited so registration may not guarantee a spot in the session.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Conversation Series #4: Decarbonization and the Zero Carbon Step Code

Building on momentum from our 2023 civic governance forum (High Ground), we are excited to present the first installment of our fourth Conversation Series – Decarbonization and the Zero Carbon Step Code – taking place on September 7th from 10:00am – 11:00am PST via Zoom.

At this virtual event, we will deep dive into the Zero Carbon Step Code (ZCSC) and existing building retrofit strategies for local governments. The webinar will educate local electeds across BC on options for local governments to incentivize and support retrofits, heat pump installations, clean energy, and other products that can support decarbonization.

Our speakers: Karen Tam Wu – Policy Advocate – will outline the ZCSC in detail, with Maggie Baynham – Senior Sustainability Planner, District of Saanich – discussing retrofits, decarbonization, and best practices for other municipalities. Finally, Robyn Webb – Program Manager, Local Government Conservation and Climate Action at BC Hydro – will address electricity supply and debated costs associated with the ZCSC.

This conversation will be facilitated by Tiffany Ottohal – Vancity – and will include an open Q&A session.

Date and Location
September 7, 10:00am to 11:00am
Via Zoom
Register Now

Important Resources:
Building Retrofit Strategy – District of Saanich
Zero Carbon Step Code – Help Cities Lead

If you have any questions or are having trouble registering, please email Isabella Johnson at ijohnson@columbiainstitute.eco.

We look forward to seeing you there!

High Ground 2023: Home

SAVE THE DATE: High Ground 2024 will be held at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in Vancouver, B.C. from Friday, March 22 to Saturday, March 23, 2024! 

High Ground 2023

This year, our annual civic governance forum will be held from 1:00pm Friday, March 24 to 4:00pm on Saturday, March 25, 2023 in Harrison Hot Springs.

The theme for this year is Home — exploring all aspects of “Home”, such as the need for everyone to have a home that is safe, secure and affordable, the health of our planetary home, the impact of the climate crisis on local government and infrastructure, collaborations between First Nations and neighbouring local governments, how we think about the lands that we live on, and what all aspects of home actually entails, both today and tomorrow.

Held for 18 years now, our forums are a time where we bring together local electeds (Mayors, Councillors, School Trustees, and Regional Directors) to share ideas, discuss prominent issues and solutions, deepen connections, and take away inspiration.

Childcare and shuttle service from Vancouver are available.

With the deadline for our special rate passed, rooms at Harrison are subject to availability. Please email Amor at averdeflor@columbiainstitute.eco with room requests.

*NEW* We are offering a virtual option! Please select “Virtual Option” when registering. Your registration includes participation in our four plenaries and access to their recordings post-event.

Some topics that we’ll be covering under the theme of Home include:

  • UNDRIP
  • Collaboration between First Nations and local governments
  • Watersheds
  • Lessons learned from the last municipal elections
  • Mental health and policing
  • Tenant rights
  • Barriers to green technology
  • School boards and childcare
  • Equity guide for cities
  • Youth engagement in local government
  • K-12 leaders

Stay tuned at this page as we continue to update speakers and sessions. Program remains subject to change.

Tuning in to October 15th: A Day-long Learning & Connecting Session for Local Electeds

Please join us and other Mayors, Councilors, School Trustees, and Regional Directors in Vancouver on Sunday, July 24, 2022 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m for a day of learning, skills-development, and connecting! This will be our first in-person event in over two years!

Columbia will organize the first half of the day-long session, beginning with a presentation of the latest survey results from Stratcom and a conversation on what these might mean for the campaign period. (As a refresher, we received your input on the survey questions at this year’s High Ground. These questions were then shared with a representative sample of 800 adult British Columbians in an online survey in April.)

After that, we’ll have breakout workshops: one will focus on key issues in K-12 leading up to the elections and the other will provide an opportunity for first-term electeds to share some insights and lessons learned along the way.

In the afternoon, Earnscliffe Strategies and the Union Cooperative Initiative will take the lead on the program, offering skills-development workshops that provide the insights, knowledge, and perspectives you need to develop and deliver successful campaigns in your community.

Lunch and refreshments will be available all day.

Virtual Attendance

We are happy to offer virtual attendance for the morning portion for those wanting to join from out of town. Please select your ticket accordingly.

COVID-19

Masks are optional at the venue, however as everyone’s situation and preferences may vary please be respectful of each other’s comfort levels.

About Earnscliffe Strategies

Established in 1989 Earnscliffe Strategies is an independently-owned strategic advisory firm with offices in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and a team located across Canada. Earnscliffe offers services in the areas of campaign and coalition management, community acceptance, government relations, public policy, strategic communications, and digital advocacy.

Date and Location
Sunday, July 24, 2022 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. PST
Hillcrest Centre
4575 Clancy Loranger Way, Vancouver, BC

For more information or if you have any questions, please email Sharon at sroling@columbiainstitute.eco


Opening, Welcome and Introduction

10:00 am – 10:15 pm

With Sussanne Skidmore, David Levi, and Kevin Millsip


Plenary – Stratcom Survey Results

10:15 am – 11:00 am

We’ll look at and discuss the survey results from our High Ground 2022 and begin discussion about what these results might mean for the campaign period. Presented by Bob Penner.


Break

11:00 am – 11:15 am


Workshops (Breakout Sessions)

11:15 am – 12:15 pm

  1. Public Education

This workshop explores anticipated key issues in K-12 leading up to the elections and the scope of action that Trustees have in their roles. With Robin Tosczak, Karen Ranalletta, Carmela Allevato, and Jennifer Reddy (moderator).

  1. First-Term Reflections

This workshop explores learnings and reflections from first term councillors. With Amy Lubik, Nadine Nakagawa, Sharmarke Dubow, and Kevin Millsip (moderator).


Lunch

12:15 pm – 1:00 pm

Catered by: Tayybeh

Vancouver’s top provider of authentic specialty Syrian products and a social enterprise that provides employment, social support, and financial security for Syrian newcomer women.


Training Sessions Presented by Earnscliffe and the Union Cooperative Initiative

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Based on your input from the survey, a series of training sessions covering different skills will be offered to help you prepare for the upcoming elections. With Nikki Hill and Jonny Sopotiuk.


Closing Remarks

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

With Kevin Millsip.

Conversation Series #3: Mass Timber Construction: Building a Cleaner Future

Building on momentum from our 2022 civic governance forum (High Ground), we are excited to present the first installment of our third Conversation Series taking place on Tuesday, May 17th from 2:00pm – 3:00pm PST via Zoom.

At this virtual event, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Ravi Kahlon and Minister of State for Trade George Chow will present B.C.’s newly-unveiled Mass Timber Action Plan, a comprehensive roadmap that details how B.C. will make buildings cleaner, while leveraging its abundant renewable resources and creating jobs for decades to come.

Hosted in partnership with Massive Canada Building Systems and the Office of Mass Timber Implementation, this candid, intimate, and local electeds-only conversation with Ministers Kahlon and Chow will present the local economic and environmental benefits of mass timber construction and explore what local governments can do to champion mass timber in their communities. This discussion, which will be moderated by Gaetan Royer, a Research Associate with the Columbia Institute, will include an open Q&A session.

Date and Location
May 17, 2:00pm – 3:00pm PST.
Via Zoom
Register Now

If you have any questions or are having trouble registering, please email Aidan Shirley at ashirley@columbiainstitute.eco

We look forward to seeing you there!

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