Poverty interventions are health interventions: Three considerations

Mar 23, 2018
An irrefutable evidence base demonstrates that socioeconomic conditions—in particular poverty and inequality—impact health. In health care we call these conditions ‘social determinants of health’ (SDOH)—a term that describes the downstream health impacts of multiple forms of systemic inequity. In the context of a society, culture and health system that focus on the individual, it is… View Article

Comprehensive action on surgical waiting times is good news for BC

Mar 22, 2018
The case for bold, evidence-based action on surgical waiting times—especially for hip and knee replacements that are among the longest in the country—is clear. That is why the BC government’s move to take decisive action to reduce surgical waiting times throughout the province is very good news for all British Columbians. Data reported by the… View Article

In defence of BC’s new “speculation” tax

Mar 22, 2018
Among the housing measures announced in BC Budget 2018, the new speculation tax has caused the most uproar. Some of this stems from a lack of clarity on how the tax will be applied. Details are being worked out by the Ministry of Finance and in their absence there’s been some confusion and alarm. The… View Article

Do you want a more transparent, accountable government? Tell them so!

Mar 19, 2018
The story goes that Franklin Delano Roosevelt once met with a group of activists who wanted bold action. He listened and then said, “You’ve convinced me. Now go out and make me do it.” BC’s new government is holding a consultation on updating our Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation. On the basis… View Article

A missed opportunity to help people with disabilities: BC Budget 2018

Mar 15, 2018
I approached BC’s February budget full of hope. It was the first full budget by an NDP government in 17 years and had been hyped as a spending budget. As a disabled woman and disability advocate, I was encouraged to see an image including someone in a wheelchair on the cover of the budget document…. View Article

Technology is changing how we work. How this affects workers is up to us.

Mar 8, 2018
While many workers of my parents’ generation expected to spend their entire careers in a permanent full-time job with one or two employers, young workers today increasingly face project-based or limited-term employment options. In fact, the very structure of what a job looks like is changing as technology unbundles traditional occupations into smaller tasks that can… View Article

Relax. Employer health taxes haven’t sunk businesses in other provinces

Mar 8, 2018
The cries of concern from some are startling, but BC is only catching up to the rest of the country by eliminating the Medical Services Plan and replacing it with the new Employer Health Tax. In last month’s budget, the provincial government confirmed it will scrap Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums in 2020 and partly… View Article

Seven ways to grow BC’s co-op sector

Mar 6, 2018
On May 17, 2017, some 36 representatives from British Columbia’s co-operative (or ‘co-op’) sector met to share ideas about how to grow the sector, to better understand challenges that co-ops are facing, and to explore next steps—both in terms of what the sector can accomplish itself, as well as what government support will be needed… View Article

Mobility pricing: An idea whose time has come?

Mar 1, 2018
Metro Vancouver is at a critical point where congestion-induced delays are the norm on the region’s roads and bridges. Congestion problems will only steadily worsen because of our growing population and with every additional car added to the region’s roads. Expansion of public transit is widely seen as essential to ensure accessible mobility, but progress… View Article

Everything you wanted to know about the housing taxes and expenditures in BC Budget 2018

Feb 28, 2018
BC Budget 2018 was billed to have major investments in housing, and did not disappoint. Indeed, the surprise of the Budget was just how far the BC government went on the demand side through new tax measures to make the property tax system much more progressive, and to discourage out-of-province investors from parking capital in… View Article

Western Canada needs real climate action, not disingenuous arguments

Feb 26, 2018
In Western Canada’s slow lurch towards sane climate and energy policy, two prominent arguments have been advanced for the continuation of business-as-usual for the fossil fuel industry in BC and Alberta. Both are interesting because they invoke the need for climate action to justify the further growth of fossil fuel production. The first argument comes… View Article

Fresh from the lockup: Highlights of BC’s action-packed budget 2018

Feb 20, 2018
BC Budget 2018 includes major new investments in child care, housing and infrastructure combined with significant improvements in tax fairness. This budget—the new provincial government’s first full budget—is a turning point. For too long, BC budgets have prioritized tax cuts and balancing the books over all else—preferring to sweep social, economic and environmental problems under… View Article

The Fraser Institute is warning that BC must stop social investment before it even starts

Feb 15, 2018
In a “bulletin” released yesterday, the Fraser Institute points out that public investment in BC has been extremely low since 2001, with real per capita program spending growth of only 0.9% annually—the lowest in the country. On this much, we agree. But the Fraser Institute’s odd conclusion is that, because public investment has been low… View Article

T’Sou-ke First Nation: Building a network of clean energy systems

Feb 14, 2018
A First Nation cannot survive without a healthy environment. If we take care of the environment, the environment will take care of us. Offsetting fossil fuels or the destruction of [the] planet in any way is something that all First Nations can grasp because we have a deep connection to the land, the animals, and… View Article

Raising the minimum wage is good for public health

Feb 5, 2018
Soon we expect the Fair Wages Commission to advise the BC government on a path towards a $15 minimum wage and a plan for regular increases. This will be very good news for our province. Increasing the minimum wage is an important step in reducing poverty and income inequalities that cause poor health. In charting… View Article

BC needs bold, transformative change. Will Budget 2018 bring it?

Feb 1, 2018
BC is a beautiful place to call home—and an extraordinarily wealthy one. Yet, despite this wealth, our province is facing crises of affordability, inequality, poverty and environmental degradation. Next month’s provincial Budget is an opportunity to face up to and truly tackle these crises—something that would require the new BC government to think big and… View Article

As UK Auditor disparages P3s, BC continues to use them

Jan 25, 2018
The public private partnership (P3) model to provide public infrastructure and services is an expensive mess, and new international evidence confirms this. The question now becomes, when is that mess going to wash up on BC’s shore? Despite increasing evidence that P3s are a bad idea, BC’s government is going ahead with this flawed procurement model,… View Article

It’s time for forestry to benefit British Columbians not multinational companies

Jan 22, 2018
There was a time when securing a good-paying forestry job in British Columbia was not just an option but an expectation for many. This was a time when the provincial government took an active role in managing our public forests and overseeing the activities of private companies whose workers cut trees, milled wood and made… View Article

Site C’s economic justifications unconvincing: It’s time we made decisions differently

Jan 16, 2018
There is no question that the new BC government’s decision to proceed with the Site C dam was a very difficult one. The previous government left them with a poison pill. With $2 billion already spent, the Horgan government faced a no-win choice, with substantial political and economic costs for either terminating or proceeding with… View Article

Small steps on affordable housing: A look at the new federal and Vancouver plans

Jan 10, 2018
In November 2017 two important new efforts to address the crisis of affordable housing were delivered a day apart: a National Housing Strategy (NHS) tabled by the federal government; and the City of Vancouver’s Housing Vancouver Strategy (HVS). This piece reviews the details of these plans. Both represent forward progress, but also leave key ingredients… View Article