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

Hey elected official? What are your top asks?

The scope for local governments to reduce green house gas emissions is largely unnoticed in Canadian media coverage of climate change, yet decisions made by local governments can directly or indirectly influence 45% of GHGs.

Many local governments are rising to the climate challenge, while others are not sure what to do. Canada’s ambition levels could be ratcheted up to great impact through effective local government actions if federal and provincial governments took appropriate action. 

We are asking locally elected leaders their Top Asks for federal and provincial support to achieve GHG reduction targets. And, we would love your input! So, let us know if you want to be added to our Top Ask survey. (Photo by CBC)

Edmonton's open-data initiatives rank No. 1 among 34 Canadian cities

Edmonton has been lauded as a trailblazer in Canada for its open-data initiatives, beating Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary on an annual ranking list. Read more

Study on LGBTQ education finds both support and lack of security for student

Jan. 15 marked the official launch of the final results of a national study on LGBTQ-inclusive education, dubbed the Every Teacher Project. Read more

Canada discriminates against children on reserves, tribunal rules

On-reserve child welfare system receives up to 38% less funding than elsewhere.
Read more

Canada is Counting the Country’s Homeless for the First Time

By April 30, Canada will have a pretty good idea of how many homeless people live across the country. Read more

Oxfam spotlights widening gap between rich and poor

The world's richest 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest 50%, according to a new report released by Oxfam. Learn more

Building Better Cities

Cities are among our greatest experiments in human co-habitation. NPR's TED Radio Hour asks if cities hold the answer to some of the world's biggest problems.

Live in B.C.? Have a Say!

With the Paris Talks behind us, there is renewed energy for taking on the challenge of climate change. Right now the B.C. government will be accepting on its Climate Leadership Plan until March 25. It is important to note that B.C. is not currently on track to meet legislated provincial 2020 targets. Please share your thoughts on the most important actions we can take to lower our greenhouse gas emissions and take advantage of the low carbon economy of the future. It's easy to participate. (Photo at COP21 courtesy of Charley Beresford)


Save $85 by registering before the early-bird deadline of March 1! Leader's Circle members can also receive a 10% discount on early-bird and regular registration. Click here to learn more about the Leader's Circle.


Sustainable capital markets; role of investors

Along with the SFU Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability and the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), our Responsible Investment partner, SHARE,  invites you to attend a special learning and networking event on the topic of “Building Sustainable Capital Markets: The Role of Investors” in Vancouver on Thursday, February 25. Learn more

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/