Welcome to the latest edition of our e-newsletter, Briefing Notes, a monthly compilation of news, articles and reports covering the issues and trends shaping our communities.

New horizons on our door step

Hello everyone,

Canadians voted for change on Monday. A fresh, new government like the one we delivered to each other yesterday offers new conversation windows to achieve more inclusive communities, an economy that works in harmony with the environment and a brighter future.

The Columbia Institute has been proud to play a role in public policy dialogue for inclusive, sustainable communities across Canada since its founding. To be more exact, this cause has been dear to our hearts for almost 15 years now.

So, with change arriving on our door step, we'd like to draw your attention to some of our work on public finance and local economies. (For example, Who's Picking Up the Tab? and Buying Local: Tools for Forward-Thinking Institutions).
Here’s how we will continue our work:
  • By sharing our research on green economy, public private partnerships and transportation, for example, in order to build and advance sustainable and healthy communities.
  • By organizing a range of special events to share best practices and  new research about emerging issues facing our communities. (Take a look!)
  • By partnering  in issue areas that are important to Canadians -- like climate action, responsible investment and public education-- enabling us to leverage our shared resources to have a direct and lasting impact on people's lives.  (For example, our responsible investment partner SHARE.)
And in the meantime, let’s celebrate Canadians turning out in the highest numbers since 1993 to engage in the discussion on the future of our country.
Charley Beresford
Executive Director


Evening reception with the David Suzuki Foundation

On September 22, we hosted a reception with the David Suzuki Foundation-Blue Dot Movement as Lead Sponsor in downtown Vancouver. MLAs, mayors, councilors, regional district directors, and civil society participants attended our reception, which featured an inspiring address from a determined Vancouver Island 11-year old named Rupert Yakelashek. Rupert has worked with locally elected leaders on the Island to generate municipal declarations recognizing citizens' rights to a healthy environment.

Civic Governance Forum

April 1-2, 2016
Harrison Hot Springs

Have you marked your calendars for our Civic Governance Forum yet? This is an amazing and transformative learning and networking experience for locally elected officials.


Transportation Governance - Case Studies

At a time when transportation management directly affects job creation, local economies and climate action, transportation governance is an important topic. So, in light of the transportation planning and and governance review task force recently struck in Metro Vancouver region, we dusted off our 2009 report on “Regional Transportation Governance,” which spotlights the mandates, funding, governance and board composition of 12 regional transportation agencies in Canada, the U.S., France, the U.K., and Finland. Take a look here.


Chamber of Commerce asks incoming government for carbon tax

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is urging the next federal government to implement a suite of initiatives, including changes to the Canada Pension Plan and the adoption of a national carbon tax aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions within 35 years. Read more

How Boston gives youth control over part of the city budget

What would happen if you took a million dollars from your city’s budget and gave it to young people to decide where to spend it? The Atlantic City Lab explores this question in an article on city residents in Boston between the ages of 12 to 15 divvying up $1million in capital improvements annually. Read more

The quest to find common ground on carbon tax resolution

Check out this blog from Matt Horne at Pembina on the carbon tax resolution recently discussed at UBCM. The idea for the resolution was generated in a workshop on climate action at the Centre for Civic Governance High Ground conference earlier in the spring. Read more

Oslo aims to make city center car-free in four years

The newly elected city council of Oslo, Finland made up of the Labor Party, the Greens and the Socialist Left, announced plans to ban cars from central Oslo by 2019 to help reduce pollution. Read more

Praise the dog park

Dog parks — designated spaces where pooches can enjoy an off-leash romp under the supervision of their owners — are about more than canine fun. They’re also a place for pup owners to connect. And as the fastest growing type of park among major cities in the United States, dog parks could play an increasingly important role in community interaction. Read more

Seniors housing shortfall in Canada

Federation of Canadian Municipalities calls on federal political parties to address housing for senior in the fall election campaign. Read more

Vancouver School Board trustees defy special adviser’s report

The Vancouver school board vows it will not sell off any school sites to address ongoing funding issues, despite the fact this option has brought huge windfalls for other districts in Metro Vancouver. Read more


"Inside the UBCM: a rookie visit," TC-Tri City News, September 23, 2015.


We're proud to partner with the Tyee Solutions Society to bring forward innovative solutions on housing, beginning with an evening of storytelling, which will dig deep into the story of housing in Vancouver and beyond, with an eye on working households at or below median income in urban centers across Canada.

Read more about the event and join everyone at the reception after the show, for light refreshments and heated discussions. Click here for tickets

Investors ask banks to do more to address climate change

Ahead of the Paris talks on global climate change in December, a new research report from our Responsible Investment partner, SHARE (Shareholders Association for Research and Education) finds that Canada’s banks have an important stake in addressing one of the most defining economic, environmental and social challenges of our time. Download report

Applications open for New David Podworny Memorial Scholarship

Applications are open for the David Podworny Memorial Scholarship, intended for those studying or planning to study Telecommunications Trades and Labour Studies at accredited public institutions in BC or Washington State. Thanks for helping us spread the word!


Still time to buy tickets to our fundraiser on November 30!

Don’t forget to purchase your ticket to our upcoming fundraiser with Partners in the Home of Africa on Monday, November 30, 2015 in Vancouver. The evening celebration includes a networking reception, an Ethiopian buffet dinner, a speed painting presentation with the painting being auctioned off after dinner, and a silent auction. Ken Georgettti, Canadian Labour Congress President Emeritus, will emcee the event.

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/ 

Support our work

Support our work by making a tax-deductible contribution and show your commitment to nurturing leadership for inclusive and sustainable communities across Canada. Donate Now