Executive Director Update

The critical role of social planning in creating sustainable and vibrant communities cannot be overstated. As such, I am pleased to share important updates from the Community Social Planning Council (CSPC) regarding our efforts towards achieving more just and equitable communities in Greater Victoria. Our recent activities include addressing issues related to homelessness, gender equity, and housing affordability across the region. 

We recently conducted a bi-annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count and Survey in partnership with the Capital Regional District (CRD) and the Alliance to End Homelessness in the Capital Region. We'd like to say a special thank you to the participants who came forward to share their stories and for their patience with the surveyors. We are thrilled to have had over 200 volunteers working in the HQ and on route throughout the region. Thank you to all of those who sponsored and funded this years count and survey, your dedication to the community is admirable! The survey findings in July will inform plans for both short and long-term solutions to homelessness. 

On International Women's Day, we reflected on the ongoing gender pay gap in the CRD, which is not only important for gender equity (SDG 5), but also for promoting economic growth and reducing inequality (SDG 8). To raise awareness and encourage action, CSPC shared a fact sheet on the gender pay gap in the CRD that highlights key strategies and policies that can help achieve gender equity in the workplace. 

On March 6, 2023, the CSPC and City of Colwood hosted Councillor Learning Session: Municipal Levers for Housing Affordability with Brent Toderian as a keynote speaker to emphasize the importance of building complete neighborhoods that support affordability. The event is part of the Regional Housing Affordability Project which supported the creation of a community of practice to share local learning and best practices, compiling local policies and practices, and engaging with municipal, business, and community partners. In phase two, the City of Colwood plans to expand the project's toolkit, update housing needs reports, and continue offering regional workshops. The Regional Housing Affordability Project aims to create more just and equitable communities, contributing to larger efforts to create a better city for everyone across municipal boundaries. 

Although these are positive steps, there is still much to do. Looking ahead, we have several upcoming events that focus on important issues related to social planning and equity.  On April 18, we are hosting a webinar titled "Revitalizing Downtown Spaces in a Hybrid Work Environment." This event will bring together experts, community members, and decision-makers to discuss the future of downtown spaces in light of changing work patterns.  

On April 25, we are hosting a workshop titled "Family By Design: Designing Cities for Families". The workshop will focus on strategies for building better family environments throughout the region. 

Finally, on May 2, we are hosting a lunch and learn titled "Homelessness, Housing, and Human Rights: A look at Housing First Approach”. We will highlight data from cities such as Helsinki where they have utilized a housing first approach to effectively reduce homelessness and build thriving communities for their residents. 

It is important to align our efforts towards creating more just and equitable communities with the global goals for sustainable development. Proper social planning is crucial in achieving our community goals and ensuring a better future for everyone. As we work towards these goals locally, we must remember that they are interconnected with larger provincial, federal, and global efforts to create a better world for all. Let's continue to promote social inclusion, advocate for fair pay practices, and support affordable housing to create sustainable and vibrant communities that contribute to a larger global effort. Stay updated on our efforts and upcoming events by following the CSPC's social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Join us in spreading awareness about the importance of these issues by sharing this with your friends and family.

Published: March 10, 2023


Diana Gibson, Executive Director


Achieving Gender Equity and Closing the Gender Pay Gap in the CRD

Women in the Capital Regional District (CRD) continue to earn less than men. The gap is even larger for visible minority women and women with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Women annually earn between 30 and 85 cents for each dollar a white man earns. The gender pay gap is a widely recognized indicator of gender inequities that exists across industries and professional levels. Even with recent progress, there is still much work to be done to eliminate gender-based pay inequality. 

At the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria (CSPC), we believe that achieving gender equity is essential for building a fair and just society. As we celebrate International Women's Day in 2023, with a theme of "Digital: Innovation and technology for gender equality," we recognize the crucial role that technological tools can play in promoting gender equality and closing the gender pay gap in the CRD. 

The United Nations has identified digital innovation and technology as key drivers of gender equality and economic empowerment for women. With the increasing use of digital platforms and tools, organizations have the opportunity to increase transparency and accountability in pay practices and ensure that all employees receive fair compensation for their work. 

To achieve gender equality and eliminate the gender pay gap in the CRD, we must encourage employers to conduct pay audits and increase transparency in pay practices. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business provides exercises to conduct an internal audit, which can be adapted to other jurisdictions. Conducting pay audits can help identify and address pay disparities within organizations. 

Supporting flexible work requirements is another way to promote gender equality in the workforce. Women are often forced to choose between work, childcare, and other family commitments. A flexible schedule that eases in-office requirements can help working mothers balance work and family responsibilities. 

Publishing wage/salary information in job postings is also an effective way to eliminate the gender pay gap. Providing salaries up front keeps unintentional bias from creeping into the hiring process and provides transparency for applicants. Publishing a range also allows room to negotiate based on education and experience while ensuring candidates have equal starting places. 

Writing to your MLA and encouraging them to pass provincial legislation that outlines protections, processes, and remedies that require all BC employers to provide equal pay and to make the minimum wage a living wage can also help to close the gender pay gap. Universal childcare is also seen as a key way to eliminate the gender pay gap, as it can help women balance work and family commitments and increase their participation in the workforce. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a roadmap for achieving gender equality and closing the gender pay gap by 2030. SDG 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, while SDG 8 calls for decent work and economic growth. By implementing policies and practices that align with these SDGs, we can create a society that values and promotes gender equity. 

In conclusion, on this International Women's Day, let us renew our commitment to achieving gender equity and closing the gender pay gap in the CRD. By leveraging digital innovation and technology, implementing policies that align with the SDGs, conducting pay audits, supporting flexible work requirements, publishing wage/salary information in job postings, and advocating for fair and transparent pay practices, we can work to close the gender pay gap. Join us in advocating for policies and practices that promote pay equity and gender equality in our community. 

Women’s Day 2023 – The Gender Wage Gap in the CRD is the most recent iteration in a series of data releases from the UWSVI and CSPC collaboration Happiness and Wellbeing Community Lab. The data provides additional information and statistics on the gender pay gap and highlights key strategies and policies that can help to achieve gender equity in the workplace. We invite you to share this resource with your colleagues, friends, and family to help raise awareness and encourage action on this important issue. Together, we can build a fair and just society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.  

Published: March 8, 2023


Teena Santiago, Development Coordinator


Family Day Factsheet: No Family Left Behind 2023

As part of the Happiness and Wellbeing Lab project, the United Way South Vancouver Island and Community Council release an annual family day fact sheet. The fact sheet brings awareness that even though we may all be in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. As we celebrate this BC Family Day, let's make sure that No Family Gets Left Behind. 


Preparing for Extreme Heat Events

While this summer has, so far, been on the cool side for Greater Victoria, the risk still exists for extreme heat events in July, August, and even September. Following last year’s devastating heat dome that killed 619 people in British Columbia – the majority of victims being renters, on low-income, and seniors – we hope this guide will help more British Columbians stay safe and well.

GUIDE: Preparing for Extreme Heat Events

Income disparity in Greater Victoria

On July 13, 2022 Statistics Canada released data from the 2021 Census that included a portrait of Canada’s families and households, and an income profile of Canadian households. This data update contained both good news and bad news for residents of Greater Victoria.

The good news? Incomes are rising for everyone from the lowest income levels (i.e. households with an income that is 50% or less of the regional median) to the highest (i.e. households with an income that is 120% or more of the regional median). As well, the median income in Greater Victoria is higher than the provincial median and very close to the national median.

The bad news? Incomes are rising more quickly for the people who are already making the most money. This means that people are making more money but have less left over for food, transportation, clothing, and other needs after meeting their housing costs.

Click this image to read the full 2 page infographic


Statistics Canada, July 13 Census data release: https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/dp-pd/index-eng.cfm