Photo of bike courier with long light coloured hair in urban centre wearing a face mask.

Open Letter to BC Minister of Labour Harry Bains | Re: COVID-19 Action Plan

Apr 3, 2020
Hon. Harry Bains Minister of Labour Government of British Columbia Dear Minister Bains: The COVID-19 pandemic is having the greatest social and economic impact on workers who rely on wages from employment for their survival, this is particularly so for workers who are engaged in precarious employment and without the benefit of a union. The… View Article

Concerns about federal wage subsidy program remain as details emerge

Apr 2, 2020
The federal government announced new details yesterday regarding the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) that will flow to employers facing significant revenue declines amid the COVID-19 crisis. CEWS applies to businesses, non-profits and charities of all sizes (including large, highly-profitable corporations) if they are facing a decline in revenue of at least 30 per cent… View Article

Don’t force charities and non-profits into crisis before wage subsidy kicks in

Apr 2, 2020
Finance Minister Bill Morneau shared details yesterday about the new federal wage subsidy program that will cover 75 per cent of wages for employers hit by the COVID-19 crisis, specifically those who’ve seen a 30 per cent drop in revenues compared to this time last year (details here). As expected, the program will be available… View Article

Protecting the health and rights of migrant agricultural workers during the COVID-19 outbreak should be a priority

Apr 1, 2020
Manually skilled migrant workers contribute vitally to the Canadian food chain, including to agricultural and seafood industries. But food security cannot be achieved on the backs of workers who are denied equal access to social protections and benefits, and made uniquely vulnerable to coronavirus transmission. With news about this week’s community outbreak among migrant agricultural workers… View Article

What do recent changes to the Employment Standards Act mean for BC workers?

Mar 26, 2020
The current COVID-19 pandemic and responses to it have shone a light on the depth and breadth of precarious labour in BC, across Canada, and internationally. For many workers, the variety of restrictions and responses imposed, while integral to an effective response to the pandemic, have placed already precarious employment in further jeopardy. Many workers… View Article

Bailout for people and communities, not oil and gas industry

Mar 26, 2020
Canada is in an economic tailspin due to the COVID-19 pandemic, echoing the worst months of the Great Depression. Yet while millions of Canadians need support to pay for basic necessities, a powerful group of oil company CEOs and lobbyists has insisted on a multi-billion dollar handout from the federal government, to be released any… View Article

A closer look at the BC COVID-19 Action Plan

Mar 24, 2020
Less than two weeks have passed since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the fast-spreading virus has already led to large-scale economic disruptions and layoffs. Hundreds of thousands of workers, families, businesses and non-profits across Canada are reeling from the tremendous pressures on their lives and finances as a result. It was… View Article

Time to #CancelRent and defer mortgage payments

Mar 24, 2020
UPDATE On March 25, the BC government announced a suite of measures to protect renters during the COVID-19 crisis, including a ban on new and active evictions, prohibiting rent increases, and providing a supplement of up to $500 to help cover the cost of rent for those who are losing income due to the crisis…. View Article

What should be next for BC workers and families after the initial federal COVID-19 relief package?

Mar 19, 2020
The federal government’s newly announced COVID-19 economic relief measures are a good start to aiding people and businesses whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the ongoing public health crisis. It was crucial for the federal government to act fast and provide reassurance to Canadians that help is on the way and more is coming, with… View Article

Bold action in an extraordinary time

Mar 19, 2020
The coronavirus has brought about a global public health and economic crisis with breathtaking speed. In Canada we are entering a time of emergency on a scale that is difficult to fully comprehend or anticipate. The pandemic has quickly exposed the gaping holes in our social safety net—particularly with respect to work and income security—and… View Article

Time for a forest reserve

Mar 9, 2020
Almost inevitably, when someone suggests that logging of privately-owned lands should be subject to tougher regulations, there is an outcry from landowners. It is “their” land after all. But this ignores important historical realities in British Columbia—realities that are hopefully being considered in a current review by the provincial government.  Up until 2003, a much… View Article

Blockades aren’t the crisis. It’s the crumbling legitimacy of Canada’s democracy

Mar 5, 2020
Our democratic institutions are in crisis. Their very legitimacy is in question, and Canada’s national leaders appear ill-equipped to respond. The Indigenous re-occupation of Wet’suwet’en land and nationwide actions in support have sparked debate and deliberation about the causes, consequences, complications and solutions. The debate has been emotional and traumatic and, I fear, is defining… View Article

Managed wind-down of BC’s fossil fuel industries: A just transition to a green economy

Mar 4, 2020
Imagine it’s 2025 and because of the escalating climate crisis, governments in Asia have declared ambitious new climate action plans and an aggressive transition off natural gas. BC’s fossil fuel exports would soon dry up, workers would be laid off and local communities would lose public- and private-sector jobs. This type of scenario needs to… View Article

Coastal GasLink connects bad economics with terrible climate policy while trampling on Indigenous rights

Feb 25, 2020
Protests around BC and the rest of the country have put Indigenous issues front and centre in discussions of Canadian politics and energy policy. Approved by the BC government, TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline would run through Wet’suwet’en territory and the company argues it is in the broader “public interest” because of “substantial benefits to First… View Article

Our take on BC Budget 2020

Feb 18, 2020
BC Budget 2020 is light on new announcements. It largely marks the final year of implementation of the ambitious three-year plan set out back in 2018 to tackle some of our biggest social and economic challenges head on. The good news is that it delivers on key commitments made (and even ups the amounts slightly… View Article

Will the BC government ramp up its affordable housing efforts in Budget 2020?

Feb 12, 2020
A lack of affordable housing continues to be a top issue in Metro Vancouver and more broadly in BC. Since 2016, and in particular the 2018 BC Budget, we have seen some important tax policy changes from the provincial government in response to skyrocketing home prices. These new taxes primarily focus on wealthier homeowners by… View Article

Lessons from the Squamish Nation’s ambitious new rental housing plan

Feb 6, 2020
As we face a severe housing crisis in Vancouver, the Squamish Nation is poised to add 6,000 new homes—mostly market rental housing—to its 11 acre reserve lands in Kitsilano. This will create a major new ongoing revenue stream for the Nation, while providing rental homes to help ease Vancouver’s ultra-low vacancy rates. The Sen̓áḵw project… View Article

BC needs to significantly boost supply of public assisted living

Feb 5, 2020
Too many seniors in our province struggle to find publicly subsidized assisted living where they can be supported as they age. Amidst an affordable housing crisis felt across generations, the need to significantly boost the supply of subsidized assisted living is more urgent than ever before. Assisted living is a type of supportive housing for… View Article

A surplus at all costs? Balanced budget fixation hurts BC

Jan 20, 2020
Almost every year at budget time, BC governments of all stripes predict public coffers are going to be worse off than they’re likely truly expecting. This habit is usually portrayed as harmless or even prudent, but when the budget room available to us is systematically underestimated, it distorts the scope of public debate. Budget lowballing… View Article

Peace River Frack-Up

Jan 9, 2020
Part 1 of a report on how fracking poses risks to BC Hydro’s Peace River dams Read Part 2 of the report View timeline BC Hydro has known for well over a decade that its Peace Canyon dam is built on weak, unstable rock and that an earthquake triggered by a nearby natural gas industry… View Article