The Social Economy in the News

June 1 - 5th, 2007

Sex trade workers need safer conditions: report
The most marginalized street prostitutes in Vancouver need places to live and work safely, says a community group calling for a series of changes to clean up the city's sex-trade industry. The Living in Community group has issued a report that makes 27 recommendations to reduce the negative impact of the sex trade industry on workers and neighbourhoods.

May 30th, 31st, 2007

Local student using project to help others
Students at the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program have been producing business plan projects for four years, but 10th-grader Felicia Schmutz is doing something rather unique for her venture. She developed a non-profit business called “Adopt-a-Doll,” where she sells hand-made Guatemalan dolls—complete with an adoption certificate. And the money she raises from selling the two-inch dolls for $2 each will go towards building shelters for residents in Guatemala.

May 29th, 2007

Vancouver's SROs: 'Zero Vacancy'
When poverty experts warn that homeless Canadians will likely outnumber Olympic athletes in Greater Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Games, part of their calculation is based on the swelling number of regional residents living just one fumbled paycheque away from the street. From Bowen Island to Langley, there are an estimated 126,000 such people at risk of homelessness.

May 23 - 28th, 2007

Social housing needs feds, province, city: Dion
All three levels of government must be partners on the issue of social housing, says federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion. Dion said in an interview that while the province has the main responsibility for building and providing social housing, Ottawa “will be there” not just as a provider of transfer payments.

May 19-22nd, 2007

Two Towns, One Choice: How salmon farming resuscitated a coastal nation and why another said no.
[Editor's note: Last week, a committee of the B.C. legislature called on the province to end open net fish farming on B.C.'s coast in the next five years. For the past eight months, Vancouver journalist Helen Polychronakos has been exploring the world of fish farms and B.C.'s aboriginal communities.

May 18th, 2007

Housing co-op eyes five-unit building:
If funding falls into place, Bank Street block would add to city's affordable housing stock
A fledgling rental co-operative is close to a deal that could block a five-unit rental building from being turned into less affordable strata apartments.

May 16th, 2007

Forum focuses on sustainable practices
At least 80 out of 100 pairs of hands shot up when "Climate Walt" Palmer asked the audience at Guelph's Corporate Social Responsibility Forum yesterday if they had seen Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." Perhaps a testament to the fact that climate change awareness is lighting up the business world -- or at least the Canadian industry of cooperatives and credit unions

May 15th, 2007 - News

Beyond Wikipedia: Larry Sanger wants to keep it honest. Get ready for Citizendium.
Larry Sanger doesn't trust the wisdom of the crowd, so he's no big fan of Wikipedia. But he's not like the others who get their kicks pooh-poohing the all-powerful (but flawed) wiki: Sanger had a huge hand in creating it.

May 11th - 14th, 2007 - News

In search of a poverty strategy
Canada needs a game plan to tackle poverty, a Toronto forum heard last night. For too long, Ottawa and Queen's Park have been playing at the edges of poverty, instead of investing in affordable housing, child care and education, said former Ontario premier Bob Rae.

May 10th, 2007 - News

Recycling program will turn fleece jackets into raw fibre
In a first among Canadian retailers, Mountain Equipment Co-op(TM) (MEC) has introduced a garment recycling program for polyester-based clothing into its stores. The program is another step in the outdoor retailer's commitment to sustainability. Under the program, consumers will be able to deposit such things as fleece jackets and pants that contain at least 90 per cent polyester content at one of MEC's eleven stores across Canada.

May 9th, 2007 - News

Clement announces FedNor funding for region
Parry Sound-Muskoka MP and Minister for FedNor Tony Clement ducked out of Ottawa early last week to announce $434,219 in funding in support of 11 local initiatives on Friday. Clement made the announcement at Grace & Speed Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre in Gravenhurst, following a lengthy introduction and bio that Clement himself said should be amended since it was longer than the funding announcement itself.

May 8th, 2007 - News

Business professor finds solutions for the poor: Her own expertise was shaped by life in the Peruvian culture
Ana Maria Peredo saw what others didn't when she spotted indigenous children begging together in a plaza in Peru in January. To her knowing eyes, these youngsters were out of place in the busy tourist centre of Cuzco, near the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu. "They didn't even speak Spanish. They were from the high mountains. They were so scared.

May 7th, 2007 - News

Literacy centre opens
Literacy advocates had a goal of having a literacy centre in the community. The chance to make that a reality came sooner than they expected and the Literacy and Youth Centre run by the Literacy and Youth Initiatives Society of the North Okanagan opened April 30.

March 26th, 2007 - News

Vancouver car co-op could lose out at city hall
A pioneering Vancouver car-sharing co-op is raising concerns about the possibility that a city car-sharing contract may go to an American-based firm. Officials at Vancouver city hall recently put out a call for bids to run a car-sharing service for a fleet of 40 vehicles. So far, two private American companies, ZipCar and Flexcar, have expressed interest.

March 24th, 2007 - News

Beyond profits: They're businesses, not social agencies, but their bottom line is geared to helping the needy
Miodrag Mialevic likes most of what comes with working in a kitchen – the smells, the sounds, the creativity, the chance to taste different foods every day. But there are things he doesn't like, things made all the worse by his clinical depression, such as teasing about his condition or bosses who don't seem to care.

March 21st, 2007 - News

Economist's team finds casual work `toxic' to society and to employees
Part-time, casual and contract employment is "toxic" to workers' health and has broader societal costs we ignore at our peril, says a McMaster University economist who is writing a book on the subject. "These jobs are really about insecurity," said Wayne Lewchuk, who leads a team of researchers examining the impact of insecure employment on health. He's found it's not just immigrants and low-skilled workers who suffer.

March 16th, 2007 - News

City lacks affordable housing, report says
Affordable housing in Toronto is becoming desperately hard to find, two housing groups said yesterday after a statistical report showed the number of rental units in the city and the province has been in decline over the past decade. The report, titled Where's Home?

March 10th, 2007 - News

Contract job workers left without hope
A pizza deliveryman is told he is a "contract driver," not an employee, then his franchise boss assigns him to work 10 hours straight with no overtime pay. A home-care worker, on 24-hour shifts looking after a man with Alzheimer's disease, signs a contract with a temp agency saying she is "self-employed" and therefore not entitled to the minimum wage. And then there's Boen Hauw Tjoa.

March 1st, 2007 - News

Northern Ontario native receives business award
Darcy Kejick, a member of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, has received an award for his recent business plan.

February 28th, 2007 - News

New youth program could be a good fit for schools, groups
After being at Muskoka Futures for three and a half months I still get the question from my friends “So what is it that you do?” I think about it for a second then rhyme off a huge list of different things we do at Muskoka Futures, leaving them more confused than ever. So for you, the reading public, I want to clear up the confusion and give you a good snapshot of what we do at Muskoka Futures. In short, we do a lot.