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Managing your money, debt and investments, planning for retirement and protecting yourself from consumer fraud -  November is the 10th Anniversary of Financial Literacy Month  and a good time to review how you are doing. 


It is important that we all know how to protect ourselves, our identity and our money from frauds and scams.  Did you know that each year Canadians lose an estimated $100 million dollars to a variety of scams? In the past six months, loss to Covid-19 fraud was $6.2million. Lean more in the webinar hosted by the Vancouver Public Library taking place on November 24. 


The Canadian Government has many online tips and tools to help you better manage your finances in challenging times.  These include making a budget to keep track of your money, minimizing debt, and understanding financial products and services.  You can also learn how your credit score is calculated and how to make it better.  


If you have any questions about your financial well-being, we ask you to give us a call. We can provide complimentary advice. 


Financial Literacy Month is online in November. Follow them at @FCACan  and #FLM220


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November is Financial Literacy Month and the theme is “Understanding Your Finances”. Check the Government of Canada website for practical tips and tools on budgeting, savings, investing, fraud prevention, avoiding debt and building a strong credit history. Learn the 10 things you should know during times of financial uncertainty. 

They are also offering webinars: 

Financial Literacy Month is online in November. Follow them at @FCACan  and #FLM220.

If you have questions or concerns about your financial wellbeing, please give us a call. 

 

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We are now accepting applications for the 2021 recognition and award. 


This award is given annually to member groups that are active in social justice and co-operative development activity.  The award consists of three elements:  recognition from our community, our commitment to promote the project further through CCEC, and a financial contribution from the Roger Inman Trust.  The project itself contributes to the economic development of the community.

If you are a CCEC Member Group, business or individual you may apply for this special recognition and cash award. The award honours the memory of Roger Inman who contributed lots of time and effort to the early years of CCEC. His contributions to the wellbeing of the credit union and community economic development are numerous.  

Roger Inman became a member when CCEC first opened in 1976 and shortly after began serving as a volunteer teller. He was also a member of the credit committee, and later joined the Board of Directors where he served as co-chair and spearheaded the newsletter. A warm lovable man, Roger always contributed his time, insights, and humour to the many community initiatives with which he was involved. He was also active in local politics where his keen mind and natural optimism were always appreciated. Through this award, we acknowledge his devotion to community economic development, his commitment to his ideals and his generosity in spirit.

CCEC is committed to keeping our money and resources working in our community by actively supporting and promoting the development of strong, successful community businesses, projects and organizations

Applications are available on our website. Learn more about the award and our 2020 Award Recipient, The People's Prom 

If you have any questions, please contact Joanne.


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It’s International Credit Union Day on Thursday, October 15.  It has been held on the 3rd Thursday in October for the past 72 years. Did you know there are  291 million credit union members worldwide?  As we reflect on the role CCEC has played in our community and in our members’ lives, let’s share our experiences and invite our friends and family to join CCEC. 


CCEC received its charter in 1976, 2 years after a group of people involved in daycare, consumer and housing co-operatives raised capital to support community economic development. They called their group the Community Congress for Economic Change Society.  Our mandate was to serve groups that have been excluded from the economic mainstream - because they don't fit a banker's idea of a good credit risk - for example, the arts groups, immigrant organizations, housing co-operatives, and similar organizations that continue to be core of our membership. Loans were available to meet our members needs, and for community enterprises and community action. The founding members of CCEC described the loan process as "group solutions to individual problems."  The local focus of the credit union saw the money reinvested within our community. 

Some things haven't changed at CCEC over the past 44 years.  We continue to be guided by the principles that are the foundation of CCEC. We also continue to ensure community input into the lending process by maintaining a credit committee elected from the membership. Also, many directors, credit committee members, and staff are active in community groups that make up our membership.

CCEC is a member-owned, community development organization that is powered by people, like you;  in service of people like you.   Let’s celebrate International Credit Union Day! 


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In this upcoming provincial election, for the first time, all voters can vote by mail.  We feel this is a good option for many reasons and encourage our members to Request a Mail-In Ballot.  A reason is not needed to make this request as it aims to make voting more accessible and inclusive. At CCEC, we will be following issues of interest for our members, and for now want you to have the information you need to vote and to feel safe doing so.    


The Elections BC’s website has detailed information and instructions on how to request a mail-in ballot and how to vote.  Click here for the PDF of How to Vote by Mail


The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is October 17. Completed packages must be received by Elections BC before 8 pm PST on voting day Saturday, October 24. 


You can Request a Mail-In Ballot online, by phoning 1-800-661-8683 or at your closest district electoral office

Returning your package is by the postage paid return envelope provided; in-person at your electoral office or your voting place. 


For further information call Elections BC at 1-800-661-8683.


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“How can we create wealth, ensure social equity, and protect the environment?”  This question was posed in 2013, as CCEC hosted a Community Conversation on the BC Economy.  We were one of the 100 Community Conversations associated with the SFU Public Square project. Our blog  captured the feedback of ten CCEC members who participated in the conversation.  This blog highlights what we heard from our members as  seven years later, we are asking ourselves the same questions. 


The group first challenged the idea of a ‘BC Economy’, expressing the view that it was really an aggregation of several local and regional economies that were very distinct.  The consensus view was that the framing of the question was biased to mega-projects, large scale interventions and comparisons to global ‘norms’; a view that discounts small business and local exchange.   One voice noted that this abstraction was much removed from people’s everyday life.


Secondly, the conversation explored the term ‘create wealth’.  Harvesting natural ‘wealth’ is not creating wealth.  And GDP growth is a narrow indicator that certainly does not measure community well being.  Much discussion evolved around other more meaningful measures of community health in political-economic terms; suggestions included child poverty rates, street homelessness counts, and a happiness index.  It was observed that the ‘wealth created’ by the Exxon Valdez disaster, as an example, was not to be pursued as a ‘good thing’.

The group also wondered aloud about the waste created by industrial activity and a culture of consumption.  Why does conventional economics ignore, or downplay, the despoiled air, water and earth passed to future generations?  Why are there such inequalities with so many left in the margins?  Why do those in power deny and discount climate change?  

At CCEC, we want to encourage and foster conversations with members about our political-economy;  to foster individual agency and to explore the role of group action and projects.  

You may not know that "CCEC" was originally adopted by the credit union because the precursor organization that collected pledges to found the credit union was the Community Congress for Economic Change. 


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We’ve come to a fork in the road. We need to decide if we are an ‘oil country’ or a ‘country of nature?’ Do we want the previous status quo, with its now-obvious holes in our health and social well-being nets, and its trajectory towards climate catastrophe? Or do we want to “build back better” in ways that fight climate change, inequality & injustice?


We talk about  building a healthier, fairer, greener province based on a clean economy. We want to support strong climate and clean energy policies needed to build a resilient economy. We know the projects generated from a clean energy framework can put people to work in safe, healthy, well-paid jobs. We understand that a green recovery is a  just recovery and we don’t want anyone to be left behind. 


The Premier’s Economic Recovery Task Force is scheduled to release its findings from the 6 week public consultation process this month. The report aims to provide recommendations on how the $1.5 billion fund set aside for recovery spending will be deployed.  A member of the task force,  The BC Federation of Labour, submitted, “We must make up for lost time in addressing the climate crisis, with an accelerated and inclusive path to a green economy. The global collapse of oil prices is only the latest drastic swing in the fossil fuel economy — and one more sign that a sustainable future must rely on a swift transition to cleaner, renewable sources of energy.” They continue by saying, “We must look beyond economic indicators to human outcomes — our goal entails nothing less than the end of poverty, homelessness and other inequities. And it goes deeper: a meaningful connection to the communities they live and work in and with — even in times of crisis, with no exceptions.” Reading submissions like those of the BC Federation makes it sound hopeful that the BC Economic  Recovery Plan will support a Green New Deal. 

At the same time, however, we continue to invest in fossil fuel projects. The Trans Mountain Pipeline, owned by the Canadian Government, continues to be built despite knowing there is no longer a market in Asia or in the US to sell the gas; that we publicly committed  to climate action in the Paris Agreement; we have a flawed consultation process with Indigenous communities; a  failure to consider the risks posed by increased tanker traffic; ongoing protests and other concerns.  We know that the BC Recovery Plan Task Force is represented in favour of heavy industrial business and is  lobbying to have their projects be financially supported through the Plan.  

The Report
is scheduled to be released this month.  Let’s see how well the  recommendations reflect the importance of workplace safety, strong public services, and our collective responsibility to take care of each other. We have the chance to address those gaps, and to do much more. We can build back better than before.

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Invest locally, achieve prosperity, and build resilient regional economies. A blog in 2013 on the book,  Local Dollars, Local Sense by Michael Shuman, continues to resonate with CCEC as we have always kept your money working in your community. When the book was released in 2012, CEDNET (The Canadian Community Economic Development Network) called Shuman, the “local economy pioneer with his revolutionary toolbox for social change”. 

Shuman shows that by putting our money into local businesses, we build resilient regional economies. In 2012, he said that Americans’ long-term savings in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and life insurance funds was about $30 trillion, but “not even 1 percent of these savings touched local small business—even though roughly half the jobs and the output in the private economy come from them.” 

Here are some highlights from the book that hold true today:

Economic development as practiced today has three dubious characteristics.  It focuses on nonlocal business.  It lacks a coherent framework for assisting local business.  And it is a top-down enterprise.  There is an alternative set of principles and practices—a “local living economies” (LLE) approach to economic development that focuses on local business, creates an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports them, and invites grassroots participation. 

Starting in the 1970s, the objective of most economic developers became to attract or retain global businesses.  Indeed, one of the most common phrases in the professional literature, even today, is “to attract and retain.”  What this formulation misses is locally owned businesses.  A locally owned business cannot, by definition, be attracted.  And most locally owned businesses, because they have deep relationships to a community through its managers, employees, owners, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, usually do not require special efforts to retain them. The focus on “attraction and retention” suggests that economic developers have increasingly focused on global big business.

A community prospers when it follows three simple rules: 

Rule #1:  Maximize the percentage of jobs in your local economy that exist in businesses that are locally-owned. 

Rule #2:  Maximize the diversity of your businesses in your community, so that your economy is as self-reliant and resilient as possible.

 Rule #3:  Prioritize spreading and replicating local business models with outstanding labor and environmental practices.

As we restart our economy with a just recovery framework, it is key to support our local businesses and to buy-local.  Banking at CCEC allows us to lend to you, your neighbours, our businesses and arts community. Invite a friend and family to join us today.


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Rooted in social justice values—like human dignity and freedom, fairness, equality, solidarity, environmental sustainability, and the public good—and a strong belief in the power of participatory democracy, CCPA released its’ 25th edition of the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) Recovery Plan. 


It is time to put human rights, labour, environmental protection, anti-poverty, arts and culture, social development, child development, international development, women, Indigenous peoples, the faith-based community, students, teachers, education, and health care workers at the forefront of policy planning and decision-making. 


2020 is  a critical turning point, a year in which the systems that sustain our societies failed. Greenhouse gas emissions dropped, highlighting the irrefutable link between how we live and climate change. Globally, billions of lives have been disrupted, more than half a million lives lost.


In Canada, we are guilty of racial, ethnic, and Indigenous injustices. The inequities that were baked into our systems have been exposed and exacerbated by COVID-19.  We need investments in a just, equitable and sustainable recovery and to fix many areas of public policy. 


The AFB Recovery Plan identifies the following immediate action items: implement universal public child care so people can get back to work, reform employment insurance, strengthen safeguards for public health, decarbonize the economy, and tackle the inequalities in gender, race and income. 

The Plan includes an analysis of key areas being impacted by COVID-19 including affordable housing and homelessness.  We know that when eviction bans are lifted, more households will be on the brink of homelessness.  Also, the closure of daytime services and public spaces offering washroom facilities and internet access created challenges for those who depend on these shared services.  

We need to increase our social housing stock and in Barcelona they are doing this by seizing empty apartments.  The city told the property owners to fill the vacant rental units with tenants or they would take over their properties. The landowners have one month to comply. Would or could our city government be willing to take such bold action? 

At CCEC, we work to reduce barriers to open a bank account and to provide equitable and just access to financial services. We know this is our chance to bend the curve of public policy toward justice, well-being, solidarity, equity, resilience, and sustainability.  Learn more and read the CCPA Alternative Federal Budget Report to build healthier communities where no one is left behind. 

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A sense of disconnectedness reached epidemic levels as we were socially isolated from our friends and social life. In the last three months, the increased stressors have impacted our mental health and well-being. People are being challenged like never before due to isolation, physical health and substance use concerns, financial and employment uncertainty, and the emotional dialogue around racial equality.


During lockdown, our routines were disrupted. Our perception of time altered and the question, “What day is it?” became common. People lost their jobs and while there is financial support from the government, those of BIPOC and women are being impacted disproportionately. 


We see the police inappropriately responding to wellness check calls. The years of underfunding mental health programs has created the situation where untrained police are the front-line for these calls.


One in five people - that’s 20% of the population - have a serious mental health issue. Kids especially have a tough time. The Kids Help Phone reported a 70% increase in phone calls and 51% increase in text messages, an “exponential increase” in discussions around body and eating issues, self-harm, emotional and sexual abuse, and grief; and a decrease in calls or texts on bullying, cyber-bullying or contemplating suicide.


Young people have been in a higher state of distress, of anxiety, and concern of the unknown.  At CCEC, we are pleased that our youth are being supported by services of The YES and Red Fox Society through outreach, engagement and connection activities. Chelsea Lake of The YES says, “We know that mental health is an extremely important topic during COVID times, and for teens especially it's important to stay connected, supported and continue to feel a strong sense of self-worth while we're more socially isolated than ever before.”  Over the years, we have  supported our youth to attend The YES Camps with funds our Members contribute to a Scholarship. We’ve been pleased that youth from Red Fox Society, who are also a Roger Inman Memorial Award recipient, have been able to attend The YES Camps. 


However, recently, there has also been an increased number of calls for help coming from adults and seniors. It is reported that upwards of 10% of workers in BC are on stress related leave. In acknowledgement, the federal government has initiated Wellness Together Canada and there are other help and support services available.


At this time, we all need to take care of our friends and family in a way that is balanced with care for ourselves.  Helping others cope with their stress, such as providing social support, can also make our communities stronger.  We also need to create a “system of care” where we have effective, community-based services for those at risk and their families. They should also be organized into a coordinated network, building meaningful partnerships with families and youth, and addressing their cultural and linguistic needs.


We have an opportunity to build back better. Let’s commit to a Just Recovery.

 

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