Welcome to Briefing Notes, a monthly sampling of trending issues, public leadership and best practices in our communities.


The federal government will publish an emissions reduction plan this fall. This is one of our Top Asks!

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the Liberal government will publish an emissions reduction plan this fall that could include expanded, standardized emissions disclosure requirements for companies.(Toronto Star) More


"Top Asks" spotlighted at Columbia Institute Reception in Winnipeg

We launched our "Top Asks for Climate Action - Ramping up Low Carbon Communities" report during FCM-Winnipeg at the Columbia Institute reception in early June. The paper was designed as a tool for local leaders and municipal governments to respond to the federal climate consultation. Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer spoke about the need for 'climate leadership' in support of the paper. Andrea and Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton sat on the Top Asks advisory committee.
View photos from the event


Edmonton's Blatchford neighbourhood might heat homes with sewage

A project to build one of the world's greenest communities in Edmonton could be one step closer to reality. (Huffington Post Alberta) More

Calgary versus. the car: the city that declared war on urban sprawl

Calgary is like any other Canadian city that grew outwards, not upwards. But led by mayor Naheed Nenshi, the oil-rich, car-friendly city has become an unlikely leader in the battle to limit urban sprawl. (The Guardian) More

Ontario to introduce gender-neutral driver’s licences in 2017

Early next year, drivers will be able to select X, instead of an M for male or F for female. (Toronto Star) More

BC's school funding formula broken, say trustees, parents

Annual uncertainty and per-student grant that doesn't reflect reality hurt students, say critics. (The Tyee) More

Let's talk climate action

Provincial, territorial and federal governments are working together with Indigenous peoples and the public to shape Canada’s approach to climate change. Click here to submit your idea and join the conversation.


"Top Asks" in the media
Following the release of "Top Asks," the National Observer ran a piece ("There's a plan to turn Toronto into the low-carbon city of the future") on the importance of recognizing the role and potential of cities and communities in making climate action happen. Both Top Ask Advisory Committee members and city councilors, Andrea Reimer and Mike Layton were quoted in the article. Top Asks was also featured in Yahoo Finance, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, and the Ontario Climate Consortium.
Our Executive Director, Charley Beresford, was invited by the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) to deliver a presentation to visiting students from China at Simon Fraser University. Charley spoke about planning policy and climate change, emphasizing the roles of effective leadership and governance structures.


Stay tuned for the upcoming release of our latest report ``Our Future: Seniors, Socialization and Health," which spotlights how municipalities are front line in helping seniors maintain good health and engaged in their communities.



High Ground 2017 (March 31 to April 1),
Coast Plaza Hotel, 1763 Comox Street, Vancouver BC


The National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association and our partner in Responsible Investment, SHARE, recently launched the bold and innovative Reconciliation and Responsible Investment project. Learn more

Scholarship deadlines set for end of July and early August

Alongside our union partners, we recognize that the skyrocketing cost of education makes it difficult to return to the classroom for retraining and skills upgrading. That's why we offer a number of scholarship opportunities. Click here to learn more
Save the date for Green Jobs BC's (our green economy partner) upcoming conference in Metro Vancouver from November 24-25. The two-day event will bring together British Columbians from across the Labour and Environmental movements, as well business, First Nations community, government, and other sectors to explore the opportunities, as well as issues and challenges, of building and sustaining a strong green economy. Stay tuned.

About the Columbia Institute

The Columbia Institute is a Vancouver-based, Canada-focused public policy think-tank with a mission to foster inclusive, sustainable communities. This work is rooted in our belief that communities who value social justice, the environment and local economy are healthier, happier places to live. Our programs focus on Civic Governance, Leadership Initiatives, Responsible Investment, and capacity building through scholarships. Registered in 2000, the Institute is a charitable organization. www.columbiainstitute.ca/