Housing Policy Cafe

On Sunday June 3rd, I hosted a Housing Policy World Café with the title:  Let’s Talk Housing Supply: How do we get what we need?

The key questions we addressed were:

  •  what specific types of people are in housing need
  • what kind of housing do they need; what are the barriers they face, and what can the city do to lower those barriers?

Craig Jorgenson with Generation Squeeze and Stuart Smith with Abundant Housing provided information about the work being done in their respective organizations to raise awareness, and to generate workable solutions around the need for more housing.  Importantly, among the people in housing need that we clearly identified were:  young professionals, workers in the service and hospitality industries (especially young workers), seniors (especially single senior women), students, families with young children, and people needing mental health support. Continue reading

Labour policy and politics

I was very lucky to begin my professional life in the 1980’s working on the passage of the Pay Equity Act in Ontario.  For the next five or so years I helped expand the reach of the Act, first to deal with the undervaluing of women’s work in predominantly female workplaces and then to deal with exclusively female workplaces.  This work, led by several successive Liberal and NDP Ministers of Labour, was ground-breaking.  And then the Harris Conservatives were elected and it all came to a halt.  If I’d had any doubts before, they were erased:  Who you elect really matters.

In BC I’ve had opportunities to talk about pay equity and the mechanisms through which it can be achieved.  I’ve also been fortunate to be involved with the Employments Standards Coalition, a group bringing forward many urgent issues related to the basic rights protected by the Employment Standards Act. Continue reading

Oil and E-Coli in the Water

On April 15th, 2015, 2,700 litres of bunker fuel oil leaked into English Bay from the vessel MV Marathassa.  This past week, this leak was in the news again as Vancouver filed suit to recover its clean up costs. It will be some time till we find out what can be recovered, but hearing about the case reminded me of the first op-ed I wrote as a Park Board Commissioner (along with my colleague Michael Wiebe) shortly after that oil spill.  It was published April 27th 2015, in the Straight.com.  Here’s the link:  https://www.straight.com/news/439251/catherine-evans-and-michael-wiebe-theres-more-oil-water. The text is below. Continue reading

Campaign Finance Reform for BC Municipal Politics

The BC government has banned union and corporate political donations at the provincial level, and has done the same for municipal politics.

These municipal campaign finance reforms will affect elections for mayor, council and school board trustees.

At the municipal level there is a ban on corporate and union donations and individuals are limited to $1,200 in donations per year to the campaign of any one candidate or local political party. Donors will be allowed to pledge up to $1,200 to each of multiple unconnected candidates or elector organizations.

These municipal campaign reforms will go into effect on October 31, 2018. While the ban will be retroactive to October 31, 2017, money raised by individuals and parties prior to then will be allowed to be used in the 2018 municipal elections.