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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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We have an opportunity to build back better. We need a recovery map that fixes the systemic inequalities that are embedded  in our communities. 

It is tempting to want to return to the status quo pre-Covid, but that cannot happen.  There were too many crises raging that will worsen if nothing is done.  For example, last month Vancouver recorded our highest number of opioid related deaths.  Income inequality, an inadequate social safety net and climate change are just three of the crises that must be addressed. 

We have an opportunity to redesign our economic programs, social infrastructure and public services to build an inclusive, fairer and more resilient economy. During Covid we learned that we need to invest in our workers, our shared prosperity and to have economic justice for historically marginalized groups. 

We can all agree that out of Covid, we are more aware of care and compassion.  Dr. Henry’s words, “Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Calm”  resonated with us. 

CCEC was formed in 1976 by groups who were unable to access financial services through banks and other credit unions. We continue working to reduce barriers to open a bank account and to provide equitable and just access to financial services.  

We encourage our members to get involved, speak up and be part of shaping our community economic development.  For example,  @JustRecovery and the #BuildBackBetter campaigns.  Share your stories with us.


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We all play a part to create an economy that's more just, equitable, and sustainable.


At CCEC, your funds allow us to support local, grassroots businesses and reinvest in our community. For over 45 years we have served member organizations and individuals who are underserved to meet their basic human needs and rights, for community enterprises and community action. 


At this time, it is even more important that we shop local and eat seasonal produce. Your independent owned or co-operative business contributes to your neighbourhoods’ arts, culture and sports. They build community, connect us to each other and form our economic activity.  


A member recently commented, “We appreciate the role CCEC plays in Community Economic Development and your roots from the Community Congress for Economic Change.”  


Community Economic Development (CED) is a core value for CCEC.  We know that CED empowers communities to shape how the local economy provides for them and how it impacts their lives.  We can ask ourselves, “What kind of community is created and sustained by the local economy, and how do we include the people who may be  left out.”  CCEC supports a Just Recovery and an economy where there is a shortening of the supply chain. 


Local businesses help our communities by:

  • Creating diverse, inclusive employment

  • Adapting to challenges

  • Being proactive, prepared, and resilient.


There is an additional economic benefit to an area when money is spent in the local economy.  Independent locally-owned businesses recirculate a far greater percentage of revenue locally compared to absentee-owned businesses (or locally-owned franchises*). In other words, going local creates more local wealth and jobs.


CCEC has always kept your money in your community to support our local economic development. We encourage our members to shop or keep shopping local to support our arts, culture, sports, restaurants, greengrocers and other neighbourhood businesses. 


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Keeping your money working in your community. 

Once dubbed the “activist credit union”, CCEC has been known as one of the few financial institutions willing to do business with “fill in the blanks”.   In the past 45 years that we’ve been serving our community, we see that our conversations on community economic development, sustainable development, workplace equity, and social justice have now become mainstream.

During this time of change and uncertainty as we work towards a Just Recovery,
the values on which CCEC was founded resonate stronger. 

CCEC has kept true to the values and beliefs on which we were founded in 1976.  Now, we see that many of the issues CCEC has been dealing with at the grassroots level are top priorities for credit unions and co-operatives across the country.  At CCEC, it is business as usual as we continue to promote local economic development, and serve groups that have been excluded from the economic mainstream because they don't fit a banker's idea of a good credit risk. At one time, giving workers a stake in running the business, saving the environment and promoting community development had a flaky reputation - not something a financial institution would associate itself with. But times change.

Did you know that we have provided bike loans for over 45 years! In the past, these small loans have been shunned by other banks as they don’t make money. Now, it is trendy to lend for alternative transportation like e-bikes.  No worries, however, as you can still come to CCEC for your bike loan. We do lend for many other purposes so just ask.

At CCEC, we have always reinvested your money within the community we serve. We continue to lend to member organizations and individuals who are underserved to meet their basic human needs and rights, for community enterprises and community action. 


We invite our members to get to know us better and those who want to belong to a credit union that stands up for what you believe in, to join us. 


Be sure to share with us your favourite story about CCEC. 


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We are in the same storm, not the same boat.

As we are in Phase 2 restarting, we ask ourselves: What do we want our community to look like? What did we learn from our time of self-isolation? What will be our economy?

At CCEC, we support a just recovery for all. We agree that now is the time to move forward with innovative, progressive recovery and rebuilding plans with a strong focus on social spending. Now is the time to invest in rebuilding our communities and cities based on care and compassion.

We cannot go back to the way things were. We are seeing the results of chronic underinvestment and inaction in the face of the ongoing, pre-existing crises of colonialism, human rights abuses, social inequity, ecological degradation, and climate change. We see that the people most impacted by the inequities are those living in poverty, women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), racialized, newcomer and LGBTQ2S+ communities, people with disabilities, and seniors. We are seeing that the situation is forcing governments and civil society to face the inadequacies and inequities of our systems. There is no going back as “normal” caused our current situation and problems.

The recently formed Just Recovery Canada, an informal alliance of more than 150 civil society groups, have released “Six Principles for a Just Recovery.” The principles ask that all recovery plans being created by governments and civil society:

  1. put people’s health and wellbeing first;
  2. strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people;
  3. prioritize the needs of workers and communities;
  4. build resilience to prevent future crises;
  5. build solidarity and equity across communities, generations and borders; and
  6. uphold Indigenous rights and work in partnership with Indigenous people.

The principles aim to capture the immense amount of care work happening throughout Canadian civil society right now and present a vision of a Just Recovery that leaves no one behind.

 

Now is the time to get involved and fight for a Just Recovery. We need to be on the path toward an equitable and sustainable future. 

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Programs, details and logistics are updated daily.  Be sure to check the Federal Government website for more information. This is what we know. 

For Businesses

For individuals and families

  • Rent Relief in BC - read this article for information.

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit, available April 6, pays a tax-free $2,000 payment to workers.

  • Employment insurance - If you are approved you will receive the new emergency benefit. If you were already receiving EI, you can switch if your benefits end before October.

  • Canada Child Benefit - will increase in May. 

  • Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment by early May as a one-time special payment. 

CCEC Can Help!

  • Businesses and organizations can sign up for Payment Stream (AFT Automatic Funds Transfer) our online service to create and deliver pre-authorized debits and direct deposit transactions. Call Atilio  for more information.

  • Get flexibility on your Loans and Mortgage Payments - call us or email so that we can review your options.

  • Move to online banking - if you have two signers, consider temporarily moving to one signer. This way you  can do online banking providing you with more flexibility.

 

CCEC is your local credit union. We are here to help you. Call us Tuesday to Friday 9:30am-5:00pm. Please try not to visit the branch and use ATM’s, online and telephone banking. 

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Invest in you and your future with an RRSP.  RRSP’s continue to be a good investment fit for many of our member-owners’ financial plans and lifestyles.


There are two main reasons our members invest in an RRSP:  to reduce taxable income (paying less tax in that year); and to be saving tax-free as (taxes are payable later on withdrawal in what would be a lower income year).  At this time, you can contribute up to 18% of your 2019 earned income, to a maximum of $27,230 plus any carry-forward contribution room that you may have until the year you are 71 years of age. 


If you would like to contribute, ask us about an RRSP loan so that you can maximize or top-up your RRSP contribution (before March 2, 2020).  You may be able to save tax dollars by investing the funds from the loan into your RRSP. By starting a monthly contribution plan, you can earn compound interest making more than if you contribute a lump sum. 


RRSP’s are considered longer-term retirement investments. However, you can withdraw funds,  for use towards the Home Buyers’ Plan or the Lifelong Learning Plan; which must be repaid within a specified time.  A word of caution before you resort to withdrawing from your RRSP - look for alternatives and talk to us. 


Are RRSPs worth it in the long run? Even though you have to pay the tax back when you withdraw the funds, yes, they are worth it. They are a valuable tool to reduce your tax burden and save for the future. Be sure to include an RRSP as an investment option in your financial plan. And, be sure to review your plan each year.  


Need a plan?  We can help you with that.


Call us today to speak with one of our investment specialists. 

Pick up the leaflet, Your Guide to Understanding RRSP’s in the branch or visit the CRA website for more information. 


A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a retirement savings and investing vehicle for employees and the self-employed in Canada. Pre-tax money is placed into an RRSP and grows tax free until withdrawal, at which time it is taxed at the marginal rate.

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"Scotiabank Refuses to Honour Old GIC's Until CBC Steps In" reads the headline. Watch the CBC clip and Denis Flinn, General Manager CCEC is interviewed (at 1:33). 

 

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My book, The Co-op Revolution (Caitlin Press), talks about Roger Inman, CCEC and 1970's co-ops.  It is an account of my time with the co-op movement in Vancouver’s activist years of the 1970s. I was a founder and member of CRS Workers’ Co-op, an organization that was owned and managed by us. We started four projects in Vancouver, all to do with food production and distribution: a cannery that preserved BC fruit in honey, a beekeeping co-op, a bakery and a food wholesaler. As well, we helped other small food co-ops get started.

Sometime in the autumn of 1975 Michael Goldstein showed up at the Pandora Street office of CRS Workers’ Co-op with a sheaf of documents in hand. We knew that the co-op movement possessed its own form of financial institution founded by the people, for the people’s well-being. So when Michael told our group that he and others were trying to organize just such a credit union to be called CCEC, we were happy to sign up. Several of us signed on a charter document that night and some of us expressed interest on serving on the new credit union’s committees when it received its charter in 1976. Right on!—as we said in those days. This was what co-operatives needed—access to funds that were not governed by the big business of Canada's banks or subject to the day’s political whims. The credit union movement would be a big boon to women in business as well, recognizing their abilities to manage a loan without requiring a man at the helm.

From The Co-op Revolution: “Most of us opened our personal share/saving accounts at CCEC when it moved to its first real office at 205 E. 6th Avenue. I was member number 32 and my deposit card reports that on March 4, 1976, I deposited $4 to open my account, after which the deposits and withdrawals continued sporadically until 1981. That first transaction was initialed by K, which probably stood for Katherine Ruffen, the first manager.

The best thing about this credit union was its personal service in the days before ATM machines. If I had neglected to withdraw cash on a Friday for the weekend’s activities, I could call Katherine at work and tell her I was on my way. “Please don’t leave until I get there,” I would say, and I would arrive minutes before closing time.  It’s doubtful whether any bank or credit union today would be concerned about my lack of cash for the weekend.” 

One member of our co-op, Roger Inman, served CCEC Credit Union loyally and after his death in 1989 a memorial award commemorated his work. The award is given by CCEC annually in recognition of a project that has made a significant contribution to the economic development of the community. And that’s how Roger would have wanted it.  

I first met Roger in 1975 when I moved to Vancouver from Ontario. He had moved from Winnipeg around the same time with his tent in his backpack and had heard about CRS starting the Tunnel Canary cannery. He didn’t know much about co-ops or canning at the time but he was most enthusiastic about the project and his sense of humour helped us to get through some of the hot, labour intensive work of processing fruit and jam. Roger continued to work with the cannery collective until its demise when he turned to another CRS project, Uprising Breads Bakery.

There’s more about Roger and other CRS workers in my book, The Co-op Revolution. I’ll be reading from it at the Vancouver Public Library main branch on Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend and books will be for sale. (For more, see: jandegrass.com).

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