Offered by credit union partner Concentra Financial, CCEC Credit Union supported Groundswell Grassroots Economic Alternatives in obtaining one of eighteen nationally-offered ‘emPOWERING Your Communities grants.  The grants are presented by Concentra to be delivered through credit unions to support co-operative and socially responsible ventures.

Matt Hern, Groundswell Founder stated, “The grant will be used to further Groundswell  work to confront the isolation, precarity and social disconnect that so many young people encounter today.”   Groundswell is a training network of young people starting alternatives-to-business together, and recreating the economy in the process.  The school is based in Vancouver, BC, and connected to global efforts to build a more democratic economy. 

The alternative-to-business-as-usual school sees 25 people under 35 years old spend eight months learning how to build cooperatives, collectives, non-profits, social businesses and a different way of doing business.   Matt says he was inspired by the good, smart young people in his neighbourhood that want to make an impact on the world with their projects, but are not sure of the route to take or have yet to see their projects come to full fruition.   After completing the 8 month Groundswell program, he sees the graduates emerging with a project that has been well researched and validated, a business plan and the personal confidence carry it through.  Applications are now being accepted for the program starting in September.  Visit for more information.

"Groundswell is very grateful for the support from Concentra.  We are honoured to be among the many great winners past and present of Concentra funding who are working to strengthen the co-operative and credit union movement in Canada," said Hern.

Ross Gentleman, CEO and General Manager of CCEC Credit Union noted, “CCEC is collaborating with Groundswell on this project providing loans to the students for their tuition.  Supporting Groundswell in their emPOWERING Your Communities  Grant submission is another example of our partnership.”

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.



Concentra Financial Presents $10,000 cheque to Groundswell Grassroots Economic Alternatives

From left to right:  Irina Molhohovsky (community volunteer – Groundswell); Diane McLean, AVP (Concentra); Jim Barker, Co-Founder (Groundswell); Ross Gentleman, CEO and General Manager (CCEC) and Andrea Fiscal, Community Outreach Coordinator with Obi (Groundswell)

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Parliament passed legislation last week to enact a new "Intergovernmental Agreement" (IGA) with the USA that will have financial institutions collecting and submitting even more information to tax authorities in Canada and the USA.  At the same time, legal challenges are being mounted in both countries based on constitutional rights and protections. Indeed, the IGA is offensive, in so far as much more personal financial information must now be 'filed' and may lead to many US citizens, former US citizens and business people being unfairly harassed by the IRS.  

One Charter Challenge is being lead by the Alliance for the Defense of Canadian Sovereignty, and support is being solicited.  The project is being championed by many dual citizens who feel truly betrayed by the Canadian Government.  The Isaac Brock Society also provides background information. 

Under the IGA, Canadian banks and other intermediaries will be collecting information for the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). This is information was not previously provided to CRA or the IRS.  Databases will be built to allegedly catch 'tax evaders', but that repository will include exceptional amounts of information on all identified "US persons". Effective July 1st information is to be collected, exemptions are made for registered savings plans and 'local banks'.  For more information an overview is published by the CBA.  

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CCEC hosted a community 'inquiry' into the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion (Edmonton to Burnaby), June 14th 10am-1pm at the Croatian Cultural Centre.  Several members and others came out to learn and debate the merits of the project.

CCEC has been granted 'intervenor' status in the National Energy Board review process, and is the only financial institution to do so.  CCEC is concerned that the NEB process is not open, accessible and objective.  CCEC is making an effort to make the debate more public and complete.

At this workshop presentations were welcomed from Kennedy Stewart, MP Burnaby Douglas, Sven Biggs, representing Forest Ethics, and Liz McDowell from Conversations for Responsible Economic Development.   

Others attending made calls for citizen action; the Dogwood Initiative is a voter based province-wide campaign.  'BROKE' is a Burnaby residents' project. 

The Kinder Morgan proposal to move diluted bitumen was criticized on many fronts; environmental, First Nations, democratic process, public policy efficacy, business case, and risk distribution.  

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The US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is being implemented in Canada under an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between Canada and the US.  The particulars are in the Budget Implementation Act currently being debated in Parliament. The upshot is that Canadian financial institutions will be obligated to send personal information to the Canadian Revenue Agency that will be shared with the IRS in the USA. The government has released some basic information here

There are substantive arguments that the IGA violates Canadian constitutional and privacy laws, and American law. However, the US has been insistent in negotiations and the Canadian government has acquiesced.   

Those with American citizenship or residency may have their banking information relayed to the IRS.  Canadian Banks, with some exceptions, will begin collecting and reporting information as of July 1, 2014.  "US persons" affected should be assessing their positions. There is the prospect that US tax collectors will be harassing many people in Canada who have US links or citizenship.  Call if you would like more information. 

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