Welcome to Briefing Notes: A monthly short list of emerging policy issues, public leadership stories and best practices shaping our communities.

Women march in Washington and around the world

Trump's election and inauguration have stirred anxieties around the world. Thousands of women are marching this Saturday in Washington D.C., inspiring more than 600 sister marches around the world, including Canada. The women's march message is this: "We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us." Here's a CTV News interview with Canadian women headed to Washington. (Full disclosure: One of these women is Helesia Luke, who works with Columbia Institute's programs.) And, here's what you need to know about the march.

The state of homelessness in Canada

Did you know that 35,000 people in Canada experience some form of homelessness every day? In the Globe and Mail, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness co-chairs explain how the national housing strategy presents an opportunity to make a difference. Read article

2 richest Canadians have wealth equal to 11 million poorest

The two richest Canadians have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 30 per cent of the country combined, according to a new report from a group of international aid organizations. Read article

We Can't Afford Poverty- Yoga Pants

Vancouver comedian Charlie Demers takes a walk on the west side, talking about obscene wealth, obscene poverty and the future of BC that hangs in the balance.

No big bucks to be saved by merging schools division

Saskatchewan might be tempted to merge school divisions, but it will not save the government a ton of money, an educational expert says. Read article 

School for indigenous youth focuses on the successes

In a series on vulnerable youth, The Tyee examines how strong bonds between students and adults make the difference. Read article

How climate change could ruin your weekend

Are your friends not taking global warming seriously? According to The Guardian, our failure to act, and bad weather, will mean that many of the pleasures we take for granted will disappear. Read article.

Earth sets a temperature record for third straight year

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. Read article
Want to learn how your community can ramp up climate action?
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Community green jobs are emerging globally

Philadelphia is moving forward with an ambitious plan to create 10,000 “green jobs” over ten years. It involves investing $1 billion in public and private money into energy efficiency projects in all city-owned buildings, schools, as well as 25,000 low-to-moderate-income homes and 2,500 small businesses. Learn more

So is the idea of a basic income

Finland is the first country in Europe to pay unemployed citizens a basic monthly income. A two-year pilot project with 2,000 participants who can spend the money however they chose and will keep it even after receiving a job. Read article

Climate change expertise lacking in Canadian boardrooms

Our responsible investment partner, SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research and Education), recently published an op-ed and report on how Canada's biggest oil and gas producers and utilities appear to lack expertise in climate change at the board level despite their dependence on selling energy products linked to the issue. Learn more

Sign up for "Back in House" webinar on February 15 

Want to find out why local governments are bringing services home? Join us for our webinar on Wednesday, February 15 at 10:00 am PST to hear key findings of our report "Back in House" from report authors Keith Reynolds, Gaetan Royer and Charley Beresford.
Register for the webinar now
Reserve your spot! Tickets: $100; Table: $950
(And you can get a tax receipt.)
High Ground 2017 (March 31 to April 1)
Coast Plaza Hotel, 1763 Comox Street, Vancouver BC
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About the Columbia Institute

The Columbia Institute is a public policy think-tank with a mission to foster leadership for inclusive, sustainable communities. Our programs focus on Civic Governance, Leadership Initiatives, Responsible Investment, Green Economy, and Scholarship Administration. Registered in Canada in 2000, the Institute is a charitable organization. www.columbiainstitute.ca/ 

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