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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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“We can focus on the “well-being” of citizens, rather than on traditional bottom-line measures like productivity and economic growth”, says, NZ President, Jacinda Arden. As we RestartBC and reopen the economy, will we go back to what was “normal” or will we use the opportunity to forge a New Way Forward? 

For example, New Zealand is proposing a budget where all new spending must advance one of five priorities: improving mental health, reducing child poverty, addressing the inequalities faced by indigenous Maori and Pacific islands people, thriving in a digital age, and transitioning to a low-emission, sustainable economy.

Naomi Klein with The Leap has started the project, BAILOUT FOR PEOPLE AND THE  PLANET:  A Crisis Response that Builds from Emergency to Transformation. They advocate for a recovery where  stimulus spending builds the scaffolding for a zero-carbon, full employment economy; and re-imagining where we  transform the economy to prioritize safety and stability for all, not just the 1%.  The Leap is working with partners to advance urgent demands around Housing, Health Care, Work and more.

Our response to this period of converging crises is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the federal government to initiate a reset of our economy and society, putting Canada on a path toward zero emissions, and bringing immediate material benefits and enhanced, 21st century universal public services to everyone – prioritizing Indigenous, racialized and working class communities – that is, the people who need them most.

In other words, this is the ideal moment for the Green New Deal. Essentially, it recommends an unprecedented public investment in a justice-based transition that creates well-paying jobs, solves our crises in housing, crumbling infrastructure, health and education, inadequate transit, and deep inequality. This kind of public investment would vastly expand the tax base and stabilize the economy at the same time.

Learn more. Get involved. Like, follow, sign up to support The Leap’s People’s Bailout, Progressive International, and a Green New Deal Canada.

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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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At this time of year, we are encouraged to “Create Memories Not Garbage”.  We are reminded that we all should be doing our part to make less waste. Our awareness level  has increased about food waste, single use plastics and taking our own bags when we go shopping. However, we need to be doing much more.  

We need to adopt an economy that operates within planetary boundaries and focuses on keeping materials in circulation (and out of the landfill). We need to be designing products that can be 'made to be made again' and powering the system with renewable energy. This is the circular economy.  

A circular economy “offers a solution to the growing problem of waste, generates economic growth, increases the number of local green jobs, and encourages  innovation.” The BC Minister for the Environment and Climate Change at #COP25Madrid discussed the circular economy and how the way we use waste and resources impacts climate change. 

The circular economy is also about sharing, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. As we welcome 2020, let’s do our part to support a circular economy and community economic development.

So, if you could do just one thing differently to create memories and reduce waste, what would it be? Visit the Metro Vancouver website for ideas! 

Learn more about how to accelerate the transition to a circular economy with best practices, case studies and worksheets from these websites: 

https://ceaccelerator.zerowastescotland.org.uk/ - exists to create a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted; to influence and enable change. 

https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/concept - works with business, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.
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Who Controls the Economy’s Money Supply?

www.positivemoney.org  

Submittted by CCEC member Joan Woodward

Most of us have been led to believe that the boom-bust cycle is inevitable.  We have been sold vague notions about “business confidence”, “herd psychology”, and best of all, “mysterious market forces”.  We are expected to have blind faith in the “crumbs from the table effect” (alternately know as the trickle-down effect) and to immediately genuflect in the presence of the banker priests of our economic destiny. 

While a great many of us intuitively feel that there is something wrong with the economic structures that direct our collective destiny, we find ourselves unable to define the precise changes needed.  This is the result of a great many oft repeated myths about who, or what, controls the money supply and how the money supply machine works. 

In an effort to clarify and debunk many of the commonly held beliefs about how the banking system works, a small group of people founded an organization in Britain with the ambitious objective of bringing about monetary reform.  This organization quickly blossomed into a group of 30,000 plus members and followers and now has affiliates all across Europe. 

To begin with, Positive Money surveyed the ways in which people typically view the role of banks. 

About a third of those surveyed believe that the bank is like a piggy bank which keeps money in a safe place on behalf of the saver.  In other words, no one is using the money while it is sitting the bank. 

The other two thirds had a slightly more sophisticated understanding of the banking industry.  They believe that banks are an intermediary between savers and borrowers.  Savers deposit money which can then be lent out to borrowers.  This implies that the amount of money available for loans is dependent on the amount of savings that have been deposited in the banks.  It also implies that reckless lending would cause the banks to run out of lending ability.  A third assumption is that governments control the amount of money circulating in a given country through institutions such as the Royal Mint, where coins are punched out of metal and bank notes are printed. 

Those who have studied a bit of economics in school typically understand the creation of money through classical economic theory.  This theory teaches that a bank won’t need to keep all its depositors’ money on hand at any given time.  Instead, the bank keeps back a small reserve, of say, 10%, and lends out the other 90%.  If a bank had a $1000 deposit and lent out $ 900 of that, the $ 900 would probably be deposited into a different bank, from which deposit, the bank could lend out 90%, or $810. Supposedly this cycle continues until almost all of the original money is lent out which would be about 200 cycles. The sum total of all these loans would add up to about $10,000 dollars.  This implies that the reserve ratio dictates how much money can be circulating in the economy at any given time.  If the 10% reserve ratio were increased, less money would be available for lending: if the reserve ratio were decreased, more money would be available for lending.  This also implies that the money supply is finite and has natural limits based on the reserve quota, or base money in the banking system. 

Unfortunately, the reserve ratio is an antiquated notion.   According to Chris Ferreira who writes for   http://www.economicreason.com , the reserve requirement for Canadian Banks is zero and has been for many years.  Unfortunately, many people who hold influential positions in the Canadian economy still cling to these outmoded economic theories. 

The money supply is therefore, not finite, and can be expanded or contracted at the will of the banks.  In order to better understand this, we need to have a look at the three forms of money circulating in the economy.   These are:  inter-bank settlement money (central bank reserves); cash; and electronic bank deposit money.  Interbank settlement money is an electronic system designed to cancel out payments that the banks owe to each other.  At the end of a business day, the amount of money not cancelled out by the debts individual banks owe to each other is infinitesimally small.  The term “fractional reserve banking’ come from a time before computers when banks were required to have a percentage of their holdings at the ready for inter-bank and other liabilities at the end of each business day.   Thus, there are only two forms of money that really matter in today’s world. They are the 97% of all money used by the public in the electronic (based on deposits) money and the 3% constituted in cash.    

If there were a reserve ratio, a fraction of the bank’s assets held back immediate payouts would constrict the amount of lending a bank could do.  A reserve ratio of 10% would mean that the same money could only be lent out again ten times over.  This would limit the extent to which the banks expand the amount of money present in the economy through the creation of loans.  In the modern era, the fractional reserve system has been partially replaced by the capital adequacy requirements.  This buffer of financial assets is meant to absorb unexpected financial losses by the bank.  This buffer is not intended to limit the amount of reckless lending the banks can engage in.  It only ensures that when a financial crisis hits and everyone else is going under, the banks will not.  The only thing that really reigns in the amount of capital created through loans is the willingness of the banks to lend.  This business confidence of the banks is bolstered when banks are not held responsible for reckless and immoral banking practices. 

Now there some who argue that banks create credit and not money.  Credit implies risk, so if a bank grants a customer a loan, it creates that loan in figures on the customer’s bank statement.  The amount of money in the customer’s account is then guaranteed by the government of Canada.  The customer’s bank account has now become risk free for the customer.  In this way, banks are creating money (no risk) not credit. 

When more businesses and individuals are borrowing money, more money is created by the banks.  More money is circulating, more people are employed, and the economy is said to be doing well.  When people choose not to borrow, or worse yet, to save, the amount of money in circulation is reduced.  Given that the banks’ ability to loan is in no way connected to the level of bank deposits, so is there any inherent social value in saving?  What is good for an individual does not seem to coincide with what is good for the economy as a whole.    What can we do as individuals to improve the amount of money in circulation for everyone?  

At present, the successes of the banks result in house price bubbles and gambling on financial markets.  What can we do to see that money comes into the real economy before it goes into gambling on real estate and financial markets?  In other words, can we take the power of money creation away from the banks?  Under a transparent and accountable form of democratic process, newly created money could be used to refurbish public infrastructure and raise the incomes of ordinary people.  Could this be done under a politically non-partisan government body at arm’s length from the government of the day?  These are question posed by Positive Money, a European group presently looking at a change in the economic paradigm.  For more information, please refer to www.positivemoney.org  

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Credit unions are consumer owned enterprises that represent a fundamental challenge to conventional capital corporations.  Credit unions do not exist to generate profits, but to provide services to member-shareholders.  Recent published documents raise some interesting questions about the future of our credit unions.  

Consolidation and amalgamation over the last thirty years has drastically reduced the number of credit unions in BC (and elsewhere).  In the mid-eighties there was 120, now there are 43.  And the two largest credit unions comprise @50% of the deposits and almost 50% of the memberships in BC. Two papers submitted to the provincial government review of credit union legislation were made public online and provide pointed criticism of the erosion of member democracy in large credit unions. Submissions are public and the papers from Bruce Bachelor and Mark Latham both argue for enhanced democratic practices. Also, governancewatch.ca  provides an excellent overview of difficulties at Coast Capital Credit Union. 

But beyond that, credit union members also own "second tier" enterprises, or are the beneficial owners of these; Central 1, Co-operators Insurance, CUMIS Insurance, etc.  Since credit unions control these businesses, consumer owners rarely consider their stake in them.  But a recent paper from Central 1 provides a great overview, and a discussion of a 'restructuring' of these entities - Future State. But this paper fails to recognize consumer ownership as the key 'uniqueness' of our credit unions.

Over time the radical idea of consumer control has been down played.  More emphasis has been placed upon marketing smarts and service. Indeed, co-operative democratic governance has been under-represented and eroded.  Members are no longer encouraged to take active interest in the affairs of the credit union, unless there is a merger proposal. This is unfortunate, as the price of democracy is vigilance.  Our credit unions not only manage our savings, but also control substantial accrued 'wealth'; retained earnings is an asset held/owned in common by all members. This is community property.  

Our organizations do not 'belong' to the managers and directors. When there are big choices to make members should be consulted. Members must not only think about their own accounts and transactions, we all have a stake in the community organizations that we have jointly created over time and organizations that ought to be looking out for us as we move forward. 

CCEC welcomes input from our members on the evolution of the credit union system and how we may play our part.  Feel free to listen into this podcast with Ross Gentleman and Tammy Lea Meyer. 

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Yuri Yerofeyev, founder of Taurus Exchange says, “Cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, have turned upside down the way I think about the world.”  To understand Bitcoins and why they are popular, Yuri says that you need to look at things from a global perspective. 

Bitcoin came to be during the financial crisis of 2008 when, after losing their assets, people started questioning the existing monetary order.  The realization that all the money is controlled by a handful of moguls gave rise to a plethora of writers, bloggers and journalists who focused on exposing the unsustainable financial system we live in; and a group of programmers worked to create a new way to transmit value from one person to another.  Yuri says, “ Enter Bitcoin, a decentralized peer-to-peer value transmission protocol that doesn't depend on any central bank or government.”

Yuri learned about Bitcoins by reading the white paper published in 2012.  He started trading as a hobby and co-founded The Bitcoin Co-op, a non-profit organization whose main goal was to educate individuals and businesses about the benefits of using Bitcoin in their daily lives.  Today he runs Canada's first fee-free bitcoin exchange called Taurus.

Here is how it works:  if you want to exchange Canadian dollars for bitcoins, you place an order and wait for a match to occur.  You can also match your bid with an existing asking order for an instant trade.  He says that while bitcoin payments are automated and easy to set up, the main challenge is the ability to provide quick and reliable funding methods on the Canadian dollar side of the deal.  Thus, most customer requests have to do with money transfers, especially when it comes to fast payment processing and alternative options.

Bitcoin is still in its infancy and can be compared to the Internet as it was in 1994.  Yuri says that bitcoin transactions are not anonymous and there are complex issues, such as scalability and financial privacy, that need to be addressed.  While there are a growing number of financial institutions and venture capitalists interested in the advantages of the "blockchain technology" considered to be un-hackable, it doesn't always mean they are into Bitcoin itself.

He feels that financial institutions like CCEC can benefit from this new technology if used for transactions, record keeping, notarization services and smart self-executing financial contracts.  He says, “Imagine a credit union that is free of human error and whose cash flow is fully automated, transparent and incorruptible.”  As the industry develops new opportunities appear including remittance, instant global payments, point-of-sale systems and derivatives markets.  While admitting that another challenge may come from the financial regulators, his hope, however, is that no significant changes are made in the law and this segment of the market will remain truly free.

Why I belong to CCEC: “One of the most important moving parts in running a cryptocurrency exchange is solid banking relationship.  CCEC is one of the few financial institutions that recognize the potential of cryptocurrencies.  The credit union's board is open-minded  and forward-thinking.  CCEC is leading the Vancouver financial space when it comes to promoting and educating people about the peer-to-peer economy, decentralization and personal freedom.”  Yuri Yerofeyev, founder of Taurus Exchange

Contact Yuri at to yuri@taurusexchange.com or visit Taurus Exchange 

Read more about alternative currencies in a previous blog:  Digital Darwinism Bridges the Gap Between Community and Finance 

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What better way to connect with neighbourhours than supporting start-up enterprises?  Vancouver SOUP differs from online crowdfunding in that it is in person.  People come together, share an evening of food and fun, while supporting projects happening in their community.  The audience, who are the ‘investors’, hear four project pitches and the ‘winner’ leaves with the door proceeds.  This is building community and CCEC is proud to partner with Groundswell as a sponsor on their new project.

To volunteer, make SOUP, donate bread email vancouversoup@gmail.com

Vancouver SOUP is based on the successful Detroit SOUP.   The organizers see this project as a unique opportunity for Vancouverites to connect with each other in an easy, fun, delicious way.  Vancouver is known as an unfriendly city where people feel disconnected from their neighbours and their community.  The Vancouver SOUP Team feel that the problem that part of the problem can be solved by getting together with people over meaningful conversation or projects like weeding a shared garden, serving on a committee, or even deciding which community-building project to support.  Vancouver SOUP can be that project.  Kerrie says, “I have lived in many apartment buildings where people barely make eye contact crossing paths in the hallway.  Conversations are mere pleasantries.”  By attending a Vancouver SOUP event, people are launched into meaningful conversation about projects that could affect their lives.  They are all in it together .

The first Vancouver SOUP held in September was sold out with over 70 people who donated almost $800.00.  Kerrie O’Donnell, Project Di

rector says, “While online crowdfunding might raise more money, it doesn’t bring the community and investors together.  We, you and I, are the investors.”

The winner at the first event was Magpie’s Nest Community Art Space with their Community Art Nights where they offer free space and materials for the public to come together over art.  The audience of ‘investors’ also heard pitches about launching a Zero Waste Club, starting community dialog events centered around the ‘Talking Chairs’, and harm reduction for nightlife and music festival communities

At the second Vancouver SOUP, held on November 19th, 55 people donated $550 and voted The Binners’ Project the winner.  The Binners’ Project creates jobs for people collecting redeemable containers and reduces waste being sent to landfills.  At the event, Director Anna Godefroy explained that the money will go toward a new initiative called the Binners’ Box - where a dedicated box will be set up in laneways of buildings and housing complexes, allowing residents or businesses to place recyclable products with a deposit in the Binner Box, for a local binner to pick up.  Keep an eye out for the testing phase of this project in the Downtown East Side soon!

Vancouver SOUP is a crowdfunding event, where the ‘crowd’ is the audience who contribute at the door.  Vancouver SOUP is different from online crowdfunding is that it is in person.  Kerries says, “We envision Vancouver as a friendly city where people feel connected to their neighbours. We see a community where people support each other in finding solutions and neighbours help each other and participate in projects that better their community.  Vancouver SOUP is a place where Vancouverites can come together and leave feeling more connected to their community and perhaps they even leave with new friends.” 

Vancouver SOUP is currently held in the Downtown East Side at Groundswell Café as a ‘city-wide SOUP’.  The organizers see the SOUP appeal growing and aim to draw projects and ‘investors’ from all over the city as a larger crowd will raise more money for the winning project.  At the same time, they recognize that each neighbourhood has its own character, and they are open to helping other neighbourhoods setup their own SOUP events.

Kerries says, “Each Vancouver SOUP event is a little different, mostly because the people pitching their ideas aiming to win the crowd’s money are different.  There are new ideas to make our fine city a better place each at each event.”

Thank you Vancouver, for showing us SOUP love!

For more information, to get involved or to host a Vancouver SOUP event contact:

Kerrie O'Donnell, Project Director, Vancouver SOUP

 

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