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Home Policy Articles: Cities & Communities

In order for individuals and families to prosper, it is important that the community in which they live can meet all of their physical, cultural, social, and economic needs. To that end, cities and communities across Canada must be equipped with, among other things, a diversity of cultural and social resources, adequate infrastructure, provisions for emergency situations, and sustainable economic development plans. Much of the debate surrounding cities and communities policy centres on whom exactly is responsible for providing and maintaining these services. gives you a window into current cities and communities policy debates in Canada.



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A Law Against Poverty: Québec’s New Approach to Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion popular

This article by Alain Noël examines Québec’s new Anti-Poverty Law (bill 112), which he considers moves Québec’s “social policy agenda farther from that of its neighbours and closer to the preoccupations of European countries.” He demonstrates that it is a law “drafted from below”, in that the basic framework it proposes originated not from government offices but from community groups and social actors. Noël then frames the poverty question into statistical terms, arguing that Statistics Canada’s poverty rates, which traditionally showed Québec to be the most poverty-plagued province in Canada, are misleading; by taking into account cost of living indicators, he shows, Québec and Ontario’s poverty rates are found to be more or less equal. Québec’s situation is thus comparable to that of the rest of Canada.

Will We Rise to the Challenge? Eight Mega Issues Facing Canada popular

This briefing tracks eight key trends that are having a major impact on Canada’s business and public policy environment. Charles Barrett and Anne Golden point to the global economy and the consequences of competition from developing countries. They examine Canada’s relationship with the United States and the competing priorities of defence and trade. They also look at the need for investment in human capital and innovation for Canada to compete on the global stage, as well as the importance of addressing climate change and environmental issues.

2002 Comparison of Effective Residential Property Tax Levels in Major Canadian Cities

In this Frontier Centre paper Peter Holle and Daniel Klymchuk compare property tax levels in major Canadian cities, using the data to evaluate the relative residential tax burden in Winnipeg. Any comparison of taxation levels between jurisdictions is troublesome, the authors note, because differing economic conditions may distort the effects of taxation. To overcome this problem Holle and Klymchuk use effective property tax rates (rates relative to market value) and absolute tax burdens (utility charges, taxes relative to income and taxation per square foot) to make their comparisons.

3000 Acres of Phony Demand: Consideration on Waverly West

Kate Sjoberg writes this brief paper in response to the approval, by the City of Winnipeg, of the Waverly West suburb development. Sjoberg is concerned the expensive building project is fiscally irresponsible and developmentally detrimental to Winnipeg, and Manitoba.

A Capital Question: Infrastructure in Western Canada's Big Six

In this report, Casey Vander Ploeg examines the infrastructure deficit in Western Canada’s six big cities: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. Vander Ploeg examines the size of each city’s deficit, and then goes on to explore accumulated infrastructure debt.

A Globalist Strategy for Calgary

Patrick Smith and Kennedy Stewart distinguish between “globalized” and “globalist” cities. Globalized cities respond to the forces of globalization and are shaped by external interests, while globalist cities are proactive, increasing their presence in the world and improving their economy.

A Jew defends the cross

Dennis Prager, a Los Angeles-based radio host, raised the issue on his radio program at the time of the vote regarding whether or not the cross should be removed. He argued that it should not because the county was founded by Catholics.

A Profile of Rural Nova Scotia

This study provides information on rural Nova Scotia. Jean Lambert looks at seven factors to profile rural Nova Scotia: demographics, employment and income, housing, education, and health status, natural resouces and crime. Each of these factors are exmined in depth with the use of statistical data.

A Return to ANC in Spryfield: Fresh Ideas Spring into Action

Like other communities in the Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) project, residents of Spryfield are cognizant of the high level of poverty, large proportion of lone-parent families, and rising school dropout rates in their community.

A Toolbox for Improving Health in Cities: A Discussion Paper

This discussion paper considers the theory of complex adaptive systems vis-à-vis health in a community setting.

Action for Neighbourhood Change Begins

In this brief article Anne Makhoul describes Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC), a 14-month “strategic research and learning project that will assess how locally-driven revitalization strategies can help citizens build strong, sustainable neighbourhoods.”

Action for Neighbourhood Change in Thunder Bay

Makhoul outlines the community’s demographics, income levels and assets in terms of community support organizations and facilities. She also describes efforts already undertaken in the community, and the attitude of residents about ANC and its potential capacity to envision and coordinate real change in the community.

Agricultural Land Trusts: Preserving Small Town Heritage

In this report Blair Hamilton examines whether or not an agricultural land trust is suitable for the Rural Municipality of Franklin, Manitoba.

ANC Begins in Scarborough Village

Scarborough Village was selected for Action for Neighbourhood (ANC), a pan-Canadian project based in five cities. ANC’s objective: to help community residents work together to improve their neighbourhoods.

ANC in BC Selects Bridgeview

The federal government identified the community of Surrey (British Columbia) to participate in Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC), a pan-Canadian project based in five cities. ANC’s mandate is to help community members help each other to make their neighbourhoods better places to live. It also helps government partners learn more about supporting neighbourhood renewal.

ANC in Toronto: Scarborough Village Grows in a Positive Direction

In her article Anne Makhoul characterizes Scarborough Village as an area of high-rise apartment buildings, large roadways, few amenities, and a community inhabited by a culturally diverse, multilingual population.

Another Fine Balance: Managing Diversity in Canadian Cities

Katherine Graham and Susan Phillips analyze how Canadian urban governments are responding to both the changing patterns and the evolving understandings of diversity.

Asset-based, Resident-led Neighbourhood Development

Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) is a federally funded initiative that began in February 2005. ANC explores resident-led approaches to neighbourhood renewal that will successfully enable individuals and families to build sustainable, healthy communities.

“Separation and Cooperation: Perspectives from USA and Europe”

Allan Carlson begins his paper by stating there are widespread fears that the current US Administration under George W. Bush brings religion and politics alarmingly close together.

Bamfield, BC: Wonderful Things Can Happen at the End of the Road

Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) created the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) in 1996 to encourage innovative, technology-based learning.

Being Realistic about Urban Growth

In this paper Christopher Leo and Katie Anderson compare and contrast policy requirements in urban centres with differing urban growth rates. Leo and Anderson specifically examine Vancouver and Winnipeg.

Big City Revenue Sources: A Canada-U.S. Comparison of Municipal Tax Tools and Revenue Levers

Big City Revenue Sources: A Canada-U.S. Comparison of Municipal Tax Tools and Revenue Levers, by Casey Vander Ploeg of the Canada West Foundation, contributes to the debate over the fiscal squeeze facing Canadian cities by exploring the tax tools and revenue levers available to Canadian cities and comparing these to tools and levers available to American cities.

Big Spenders? An Expenditure Profile of Western Canada's Big Six

In this study, Casey Vander Ploeg explores where and how much Western Canada’s big cities spend. Vander Ploeg’s analysis focuses on the “big six” in western Canada: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. She assesses the expenditure side of each city’s budgets to determine spending on specific services, as well as what portion of fiscal resources cater to funding those services.

Bread and Circuses: The Local Benefits of Sports and Cultural Businesses

John P. Palmer argues the economic benefits of sports or cultural businesses are not significant enough to justify government funding. Indeed, using the multiplier effect (also known as the “simple Keynesian multiplier”) that is often used to support investments in sports and cultural businesses, the author finds the effect to be either small, or in some cases, negative. The author also contends that sport and/or cultural businesses contribute little in the way of job creation.

Breaking New Ground: Urban Residential Development and the Environment

Karen Wilkie and Robert Roach begin by pointing out the strong demand for residential development in and around large urban centers in Western Canada. Two forms of development are taking place: suburban development at the edge of cities and country residential development in rural municipalities around the periphery of cities. Wilkie and Roach argue that residential development provides many benefits, including jobs, increased housing available to residents, and a broader tax base.

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