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.
Let's Talk Urban Living With Uytae Lee
Join us for an exciting evening as we host our Annual General Meeting and then dive into the world of urban living and civic storytelling with Uytae Lee of popular urbanist YouTube channel About Here. He'll kick off with some Victoria area trivia before exploring topics ranging from housing to transit and beyond, promising an engaging dialogue on the facets that shape our urban experience.
5:00-5:30pm: AGM, all welcome — if you'd like to sign up as a member to the CSPC, click here.
5:30-6:00pm: Mingling, food and beverages available for purchase — we're pleased to have Maiiz Nixtamal on-site selling fresh tamales, street corn, and chips and salsa!
6:00-7:00pm: Uytae Lee
Venue: Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St, Victoria, BC V8W 2B2
Grab your friends and come join us for a fun-filled evening of captivating stories, great food, and exciting discussions.
About Uytae Lee
Uytae Lee is a columnist and filmmaker whose work covers the complex issues surrounding our cities. He’s the creator of the CBC series ‘Stories About Here’, where he explores topics such as underground streams, zoning reform, public washrooms, street-food, and much much more. In addition to his CBC series, Uytae also produces urban planning documentaries for his own YouTube channel About Here.
Join the Community Social Planning Council and the United Way Southern Vancouver Island for an informative, inspiring discussion with leaders in London about their Whole of Community System Response to the homelessness crisis. A regional cross-sector response panel will follow.
With the support of the Fund For Change, a collective of community experts across sectors designed a system response that is first of its kind in Ontario. That group included more than 200 individuals representing nearly 70 local organizations in community health and social services, institutional healthcare, education, emergency services, business and economic development, land and housing development and multiple levels of government. One feature of this response includes a new network of hubs offering comprehensive services to help the most marginalized unhoused Londoners move safely indoors, stabilize, access supports and become sustainably housed.
Lynne Livingstone — City Manager of London
Kevin Dickins — Deputy City Manager of London, Social and Health Development
Diane Silva — Director of Philanthropy, London Community Foundation
Steve Cordes — Executive Director, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (hub operator)
Facilitating Dialogue Around Affordability
We'd like to say a special thank you to Coastal Community Credit Union (CCCU) for their support of our events dedicated to enhancing affordability across the region. We are grateful to be able to host events through our collaborative regional household affordability and prosperity (RHAP) project, in partnership with local municipalities.
This project aims to share and cultivate best practices in housing affordability and recently published a toolkit on municipal levers for housing affordability, with support from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). To delve deeper into this project, please click here.
Additionally, we actively contribute to the affordability dialogue through our work on the living wage calculation. Discover more about our efforts and impact by exploring the details here.
Coastal Community Credit Union
As a key supporter, Coastal Community Credit Union, the largest Vancouver Island-based financial services organization, stands among the top ten percent of credit unions in Canada by asset size. Noteworthy among their innovations is the introduction of Interactive Teller Machines (ITM) to Vancouver Island.
A testament to CCCU's commitment to excellence, they recently celebrated their fifth consecutive year of being certified as a Great Place to Work, a recognition bestowed by their dedicated and valued employees. Visit their website to learn more.
Join us on November 8th from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM for the official launch of the Living Wage across BC. This gathering is a convergence of impassioned stakeholders committed to advocating for a fair living wage. We invite employers and employees dedicated to this cause, policymakers including MLAs, MPPs, councillors, and their teams, as well as representatives from unions, businesses, and community organizations. The event will feature a panel response and living wage presentation.
Let's come together to delve into critical conversations, drive change, and collectively work towards fostering a society where a fair living wage is not just a vision but a reality. Your presence and insights are vital as we unite for a brighter, equitable future. Food and refreshments will be available. Mark your calendars for this significant event!
This event is part of the CSPC's Happiness and Wellbeing Lab in partnership with the United Way.
We are thrilled and deeply honored to receive the Climate and Energy Action award from the Community Energy Association (CEA) for our groundbreaking E-Bike Incentive Pilot Program. This recognition would not have been possible without the unwavering support and collaboration of our outstanding partners and funders: the District of Saanich, The University of British Columbia, and the Vancouver Foundation.
A Collective Vision for a Greener and More Equitable Future
At the core of our success lies a shared vision and a strong commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly transportation while ensuring equity and accessibility for all. We recognize that sustainable solutions must be inclusive and address the specific needs of all families, especially those in low-income. The support of our partners has been instrumental in driving this vision forward and turning it into a reality that benefits our community and beyond. We stand united in our dedication to reducing carbon emissions and promoting accessible, sustainable mobility solutions.
Paving the Way for a Provincial Program
One of the most gratifying outcomes of our pilot program is the influence it has had on policy at a provincial level, with a strong equity lens. This initiative, which focuses on providing rebates based on income qualifications, has acted as a model for a wider provincial program emphasizing equity, with the goal of empowering families and individuals.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Community Energy Association (CEA) for recognizing our dedication and honoring us and our partners with this award. The accolade is not just a testament to our efforts but also a celebration of the remarkable collaboration that has propelled our initiative to success. We remain steadfast in our commitment to a sustainable and equitable future and look forward to continued collaboration with our partners and funders in achieving greater milestones. Together, we will continue to make a positive impact and inspire change.
The climate crisis effects everyone, but it does not impact everyone equally. That's where we come in. Click below to learn more about the E-bike program and our work in the Climate Equity space!
Greater Victoria participated in nationwide PiT Counts in 2016, 2018 and 2020. Point-in-Time counts add essential information to our understanding of how people experience homelessness in our region. This information will assist planners, funders, and agencies in developing appropriate responses to homelessness in our region as well as to measure progress in ending homelessness.
What is involved? The PiT count involves working in small teams to conduct a brief, anonymous survey with people who are experiencing homelessness. The indoor survey is conducted inside shelters and other homeless service facilities, while the outside survey is done outdoors, walking around a specific area or neighbourhood.
Findings from this years PiT count and survey were released on August 3, 2023.
This project is funded by the Reaching Home Program - Canada's Homelessness Strategy
Supplies for PIT 2023 were provided by
The use of personal identification (PID) to access many of life’s essential services is easy for many to take for granted. However, not having PID can significantly impact and individual's health and well-being, excluding them from the most basic needs from health and shelter to income. The Community Council conducted a scoping review of academic and gray literature to explore existing research on how PID impacts health. Three main themes are clear in the research: the clear relationship between PID and personal health; the relationship between PID and the social determinants of health; and the disproportionate barriers faced by vulnerable populations.
Imagine a breathtaking island community where golden sunsets, towering trees, and thriving coastal waters allure residents and tourists alike. However, beneath this paradise, a pressing challenge looms over its transportation system, impeding progress on accessibility and environmental sustainability while jeopardizing the cherished natural vistas.
During a recent trip to Cowichan Lake, I witnessed glaring transportation issues on a mid-July weekend. Lanes were congested with solo commuters seeking refuge from the bustling South Island. Campsites at recreational facilities overflowed with four, five, and even six vehicles for a similar number of campers. Despite over 70 available sites, not one was occupied by a walk-in, cyclist, or transit user. Surprisingly, despite being a mere 100km away from the island's largest population center, Victoria, there's no public transportation option to access the campground.
The Need for Change - The Malahat(e)
This is a critical problem, as both our population and the desire to access natural spaces continue to grow. We must seize the opportunity to explore world-class natural spots on the island without solely relying on private vehicles. Not too long ago, the island made headlines for its dismal public transit network. The time for change has come – a transportation and cultural shift that can positively impact the island's future. Major arteries like the Malahat suffer from significant bottlenecks primarily due to personal vehicle travel. While some may consider roadway expansion the only feasible solution, we can create a well-researched alternative by establishing frequent and affordable bus services presenting measurable positive impacts on transit across the Malahat.
Embracing an Inclusive Transit System
Regardless of our preferences in transportation, we should all strive to create a province where access to mobility isn't a barrier but a gateway to opportunity. Our collective consciousness seems to equate personal vehicles with ultimate freedom – a belief that has marginalized seniors, students, people with disabilities, and others without access to private vehicles, limiting their mobility within their home province. A thriving BC is one where mobility is a right, not a privilege. By embracing an improved bus transit system, we can bridge gaps in mobility and create more inclusive communities. Transit equity means ensuring no one is left behind, allowing everyone to easily reach their workplaces, schools, leisure spots, and essential services.
Ecological Preservation and Climate Change Mitigation
The reason so many call this place home and others yearn to do the same lies in its natural beauty. We share a collective responsibility to preserve it for future generations. From towering trees to expansive valleys and rugged coastlines, the island offers something for everyone. Transitioning to a reliable and sustainable transit network provides an opportunity not only to reduce our carbon footprint but also to embrace clean energy technologies and protect our environment. By prioritizing private vehicle access over the larger public good, we have contributed to environmental damage. One of the goals of the Clean BC Roadmap to 2030 is to reduce the number of private vehicles on the roads by 25 percent across the province. We can achieve this by creatively implementing alternative solutions to the current status quo.
Improving Transit in Tourist Destinations
Tofino, a jewel of the island, attracts tourists from far and wide, with some travelling from the other side of the planet to bask in its sunsets at the end of the road. However, due to a lack of access, roads in high season are often congested, parking lots packed, and the tranquil beauty of the Pacific Rim can feel more like an amusement park than a protected natural area. Offering a convenient, eco-friendly alternative can reduce congestion, preserve picturesque landscapes, and promote sustainable tourism. During July and August, Tofino hosts an average of 6,600 visitors each day - how many arrive by private vehicle with not much more than a suitcase and a backpack for a long weekend of fun? Let's explore publicly funded park bus services with sufficient storage capacity for surfboards, tents, and other items typically associated with personal vehicles.
Addressing Transit Gaps in Rural Areas
Tucked away in the rainforest near the mouth of the Juan de Fuca and Port San Juan lies Port Renfrew. Despite a lack of transit options, this community receives countless surfers, hikers, and photographers every year. Despite its relative proximity to Greater Victoria and the Cowichan Valley, residents must rely on private vehicles to access services located outside of town. Furthermore, those who wish to access the area have no alternatives to the growing congestion on the route beyond an expensive private trail bus. The presence of a private service where there should be a public good indicates a need for improved transportation through the corridor. Transit accessibility should not be driven by the path of least resistance or profit but by empowering anyone with mobility. Connecting rural areas is about public safety, equity, and accessibility, especially for vulnerable populations such as indigenous women and those within the 2SLGBTQ community.
The Dedicated Right of Way to a Better Future
We stand on the cusp of a transportation revolution that will define the island's future. Sacrificing irreplaceable ecological areas for the convenience of personal vehicle access should not even be a debate - especially when viable alternatives are both more effective and cost-efficient for both taxpayers and the health of our home. In fact- for every dollar invested in public transportation, communities generate four dollars in economic activity. Let's prioritize accessibility, sustainability, and inclusivity while building a future where everyone can thrive. If our vision for a successful transportation network is solely motivated by profit, we will never achieve transit equity. The ability to connect cities, regions, and communities regardless of distance will most likely never be profitable. Public transportation should not exist through a profit lens; instead, we should view our ROI as the enhancement of community connection, improved access to amenities and natural spaces, enhanced tourism, reduced emissions, and a paradigm shift in how we perceive transportation in our region and province.
This is the fourth blog in a series on transportation equity in the region.
Published: July 26, 2023
Khadoni Pitt Chambers, Research Coordinator
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As we navigate in an era marked by a nation-wide housing crisis, all levels of government are under pressure to address the challenge, although local governments are on the front lines. Municipalities also hold a pivotal role in orchestrating the changes needed to address the affordability challenges facing Canadian cities. This toolkit outlines the many levers within municipal control that can significantly influence housing supply and affordability.
This toolkit is intended to help local governments across Canada, big and small, to understand and utilize all of the tools available to improve housing affordability by:
• providing an overview of tools and their municipal context;
• identifying success factors and key considerations for each of the tools; and
• sharing case studies and best practices that highlight successes in implementing the tools in a range of municipal contexts and for a diversity of housing types.
The optimal use of these municipal tools can change the trajectory of our current housing situation, creating a better future for housing availability and affordability.