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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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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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The YES Camp created the Care Package Podcasts to provide care, support, and humour to youth around BC in response to the crisis of COVID-19.

Our CCEC members have supported our youth to attend the YES camp for many years. At this time, the YES is uncertain if they can hold the camps, so they’ve pivoted their focus to doing what it can for struggling youth.

The podcast – appropriately titled Care Package – aims to engage youth who are experiencing an unprecedented amount of uncertainty and anxiety in a time of already huge change in their lives.

The Podcasts go out every week, usually Wednesdays. You can get notifications from your podcast apps if you subscribe, or you can subscribe to The YES mailing list on the website to get an email notification and their blog. They also post on Instagram and Facebook for each new post. Amongst the segments – interviews with staff members, call-ins from campers, and “poopses and oopses” – a time for embarrassing stories.

For Canada’s young people, the last month has brought about more change and uncertainty in their lives than possibly ever before. Kids Help Phone has recorded a 350% increase in youth seeking help over text since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – leading to Kids Help Phone asking for more volunteers to meet the demand.

The YES and our team are concerned about what’s going on for teenagers out there right now – so we wanted to do something that would provide some care and connection out to all those teens who might just be at home with their family, or they might be in a vulnerable situation.” – Chelsea Lake, Director of the YES

At CCEC, we are accepting sponsorship applications for youth who want to attend camp. Camp registrations are open and payment is on hold until they can confirm the camps can safely run. Email Joanne if you have youth wanting to attend the camp. If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund, please email or phone the branch. 


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Camp registration is Open!  A CCEC tradition is to see the “Camp YES Thermometer” go up in the branch. The “Thermometer” tracks the funds donated by our member-owners to pay the camp registration fee for our youth. Each year, through the generosity of our members, we have sent up to 10 youth to the YES Camp and a few to the Reunion. 

Meet CCEC Members, Helen Spaxman and her teen, Claire. Claire has been to camp and to the Reunion. Helen’s family started donating to the Camp YES Fund for many years even before having kids. She says they donated because they hoped that their children and the youth of our community would be able to go to this camp.

Claire Says, “Thank You” 

“At the YES Camp, we do “reflections” at the end of the day, where we reflect on how our day went and then answer questions, which are sometimes light and funny, but sometimes very personal and heavy. 

When I truly opened up in reflections, I benefited by getting things out of my head that I wouldn’t normally talk about with people at home. Before camp, I felt like I couldn’t talk to my friends about certain things, maybe I didn’t want to burden my friends with my thoughts. I was also afraid it’d start rumours and more people would know about it than I originally intended. 

I have learned that YES Camp is a safe space, I can talk about anything there and get so much support from the staff and my fellow campers. Funnily enough, many of these “fellow campers” have become very close friends. Now that I’ve been to camp a few times, I’m not just a good communicator and listener at the camp, but I’m also applying these skills to my friend group at home. 

Since I’ve started opening up to friends at school, I’ve noticed so many more people sharing things with me that they never thought they’d share. My friends now feel the same comfort in talking about their feelings that I used to only feel at camp and they’re not afraid to ask me for help when they need it. I’m so so grateful to have been able to  attend YES summer camps and fall camp reunions. I’ve grown so much as a person and as a friend and I’m so ready to grow even more. Honestly, without the YES Camp, some of my closest friendships wouldn’t even exist.”

“Camp YES is a Game Changer!” says Helen Spaxman

For more information, visit the Camp YES website. To make a donation to our Camp YES Fund, call us or visit the branch. Youth interested in being sponsored to attend Camp are asked to complete an application form that will be available on our website.
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October 21, 2019 is Election Day in Canada. On that day, eligible voters exercise their right to vote for one of the candidates in their riding to represent them in the federal House of Commons.

First Call, the child and youth advocate organization created a toolkit to support individuals and community groups in their advocacy for legislation, policy and practice that benefit children and youth and their families.

Click here to see the kit online and to download. 

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Congratulations to First Call, the BCFed, WestCoast LEAF, the Employment Standards Coalition, and many more for your continued and tenacious advocacy on employment standards. 

On April 29th, 2019 BC’s Minister of Labour introduced Bill 8 in the legislature that will amend the Employment Standards Act to provide better protections for children and adolescents who are working.

This Bill modernizes BC’s employment laws and brings us into compliance with international standards, specifically the International Labour Organization’s Convention 138 on the minimum age of employment – an agreement the Government of Canada ratified in 2016.

 Once enacted, Bill 8 will:

  •  raise the age for formal employment, (this is the age that does not require government oversight), from 12 to 16;
  •  prohibit hazardous work for those under 16;
  • compel government to develop a list of acceptable tasks and conditions (e.g. hours of employment, time of day) for the employment of children aged 14 and 15; 
  •  allow the Director of the Employment Standards Branch to consider applications for permits to hire those under the age of 14; 
  •  compel government to define “hazardous industries and work” prohibitions and regulations for 16 to 18 year olds.

 While these legislative changes set a direction that will greatly improve protections for working children and adolescents, the Ministry must now engage with British Columbians (including youth with recent employment experience), as well as review workplace injury data to determine what jobs, tasks and hours are appropriate.

The BCFed says, the Employment Standards Act will also now provide a more just level of protection for BC workers, including scrapping the self-help kit and extending wage recovery times.  And WestCoast LEAF highlights that the government has introduced leave time for domestic violence but it must be paid to ensure those in need can access it.

While First Call welcome changes that prioritize the health and safety of BC’s children and youth, they say that the Ministry must now engage with British Columbians (including youth with recent employment experience), as well as review workplace injury data to determine what jobs, tasks and hours are appropriate.

First Call has been calling for change for over 15 years! For years, WorkSafeBC data has shown that too many children – 12 to 14-yr-olds are getting injured working in construction, manufacturing, trade and service jobs.

CCEC has signed on as an official supporter of First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition.  

Click here to learn more about the campaigns of First Call and how you can get involved.

 

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July 7:  Raising funds to pay for garden supplies and programs.  Join up at Britannia School Garden with  community members who care about school gardening, socialize, have fun, and support a great cause. An in-the-garden event featuring a gourmet dinner, live music, silent auction, homemade pies, and games and activities for all ages.
Tickets: $30 adults, $15 youth, children under 6 are free. Tickets at Britannia Info Centre.

"The Britannia School Garden is one of Grandview Woodland Food Connection (GWFC)'s  main programs, acknowledging that healthy food choice should start at a young age.   We work with approximately 100 students, connecting them to the food they eat, learning and growing.  For most students, planting seeds, caring for the garden, then harvesting and eating veggies that they grew is an empowering experience."  CCEC member Ian Marcuse,  GWFC Coordinator (a Neighbourhood Food Network member) which support food access for Grandview Woodland and nearby residents who are struggling financially. 

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The loose, no rules, improv, learn by ear band…a sister project of the Carnival Band.
Free for kids from the neighbourhood.

The value of music education has eroded so dramatically that most schools are cutting music from their curriculum.  Even the after school music programs are considered too structured.   Enter The Greenhorn Community Music Project, started by Brenda Koch, a Carnival Band member and elementary school teacher.  She laughs when asked why she started the project saying, “Not everyone fits into the wild, crazy, eclectic, energetic vibe of the Carnival Band who have over 400 songs in their repertoire and always mix up the 10 songs they will play at a show.”  Armed with a ‘Dr. Suess style logo designed by local artist, Jeremy Glen, the Greenhorn Community Music Project thinks big and wants to see 100 kids in their workshops learning and growing through music. 

How can you help?

  • Donate instruments, music stands
  • Spread the word!  Like us and Share on Facebook 
  • Come to their first performance  Dec 21st 6pm with the Carnival Band at Granville Island Winter Solstice
  • Join the fun, contribute your musical talents and expertise.
  • Donate funds to support them and keep them going in year 2. Send a cheque payable to Transforming Education to 2511 Ave, Vancouver, BC  V5M 1H1

The Greenhorn project provides kids of all ages with musical leadership, mentorship and instruments to play.  There is someone at each workshop (aka practice) who will take the time to help newcomers understand and learn.  Also the workshops are from 3:30-5pm on Mondays so youngsters can participate.  Just like the Carnival Band, the Greenhorn aims to teach people to learn by ear like a professional musician, pay attention to what others are doing and to learn to improvise.  When you think about it, these are all life-time skills that help to build confidence and self-esteem – and fit in with the Carnival Band style if they want to join them.

It has taken five years to see the project launch with their first workshop in September, 2015.  Through word of mouth, 21 people showed up; and at one workshop, they had 8 newcomers.  One person heard of them through Facebook and all kids are from the Grandview Woodland area.  The kids range in age from 4 to over 60.  They have a roster of 25 or so people and average 12-15 at each workshop. 

They have funds to support the project for the school year till June, 2016.  They are proud to be the recipient of the East Feast 2015 award, funds from CLICK (contributing to lives of inner city kids), the Vancouver Foundation who provided a $10,000 feasibility grant and a private donor.  Most of the funds support the professional fees for Tim Sars, Musical Director.  They have two interns, Charlotte (16 years old) and Marlo (17 years old) who started with the Carnival Band when they were pre-teens.  They both provide mentorship; Marlo works on marketing, outreach, and fundraising; while Charlotte provides admin support and was responsible for initiating their partnership with the Transforming Education Society, which allows them to issue tax receipts.  It is with this partnership and Instruments of Change they broaden their connections with the community and build their network.

The Greenhorn Community Music Program making a difference in our community.  Support their project. 

 

 

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CCEC Credit Union members are proud to sponsor ten youth participants at YES Camp this summer. Each year at CCEC Credit Union, the YES Camp thermometer goes up in the branch and our members contribute to the fund to pay up to 100% of the registration fee for our youth to attend YES Camp. Campers tell us this one week co-operative leadership camp is a transformative experience for youth and parents. Our youth members apply for scholarships and the winners names are drawn randomly.

YES Camp, previously called Camp Rainbow has evolved and changed with the times over the past 30 years.  Our local teens who would not be able to attend camp without financial assistance, gather with youths from across BC and participate in fun interactive skills training such as self-awareness, co-operation, communication, global awareness, environmental sustainability and leadership. 

Camp participants write thank you letters with comments including, “The sense of community and safety is overwhelming.  I’m returning home with improved communication and conflict resolution skills and faith in myself.  I learned that I am not alone.”

CCEC members donate to the fund for various reasons and one mother who donates each year says she gives because she wants her daughter to have the opportunity to go to camp when she is old enough.  There is often a friendly rivalry among some businesses and the ‘claim to be the first member to donate.  Donations are accepted year-round with the campaign kick-off in May and continuing to mid-June. 

CCEC Credit Union is a single branch credit union on Commercial Drive.  It was founded by Vancouver’s self-help community including co-ops and not-for-profit groups, to meet their financial needs.   Our goal is Economic Democracy.

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For more information contact:
Joanne MacKinnon
604-254-4100  
jmackinnon@ccec.bc.ca

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