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CCEC Member, Discovery Organics is organizing a panel discussion about Farm Working conditions on Friday, June 5th at 6pm downtown Vancouver.  In our backyard, the Fraser Valley, there are many migrant farm workers that are mistreated.  Learn more!

RSVP: jsage@discoveryorganics.ca 

More than half of the produce you buy in the supermarket comes from California or Mexico.  

“Arrests as Mexico farming wage strike turns violent” Aljazeera – May 12th                                                            

… “Farmworkers in Baja California protest low pay, poor conditions”

… “Many laborers stayed away from the fields Tuesday and hundreds spilled onto the highway, where they barricaded the road and burned tires.”LA Times – March 18th                      

…”Labour exploitation, slave-like conditions found on farms supplying biggest supermarkets” – ABC News Australia – May 7th

AND CLOSER TO HOME…

Locally, agriculture is one of the most dangerous jobs for the 10,000 immigrant and migrant workers in our horticultural industry. This workforce, is one of the lowest paid, least protected, and most vulnerable occupational categories in the province. 

To what extent can we claim our food system to be sustainable?  What needs to be implemented to reach social sustainability in our food system, both locally and globally?

For more, watch Product of Mexico – Behind the Scenes video

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:

David Fairey has an MA in Labour Economics from the University of British Columbia. He has been a Labour Research Economist and Labour Relations Consultant in BC for over 30 years, and Director of the Trade Union Research Bureau since 1989. David is now the director of Labour Consulting Services and is also a CCPA–BC research associate.

Colette Cosner is the executive director of the Domestic Fair Trade Association—a coalition of stakeholders throughout the US and Canadian food and farming systems dedicated to health, justice, and sustainability. Originally from the east coast, Colette moved to Seattle in 2009 to work for YES! Magazine. Since then she has served as the Regional Organizer of Witness for Peace Northwest, the Communications Association for Cultivate Impact, and a board member for the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. She is the co-author of “Farmers at the Table: Connecting Food and Trade Justice.”

Gerardo Otero is professor of Sociology and Latin American Studies at Simon Fraser University. He is the author or editor of four books and dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters. His new edited book is Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and the Biotechnology Revolution in Latin America, published in 2008 by The University of Texas Press.

Fr. Patrick Murphy is the director of Casa del Migrante, a house of hospitality in Tijuana where migrants receive room and board as well as medical assistance and orientation regarding migrant issues. Fr. Pat has been a member of the Missionaries of St. Charles – The Scalabrians since his first profession. During the course of his seminary formation, Fr. Patrick had the opportunity to live both in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Mark Thompson is a professor of Social Sciences at the Sauder School of Business at UBC. He teaches Industrial Relations in the Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Division. His research interests involve but are not limited to the impact of NAFTA labour accords and the management of industrial relations. He has published numerous scholarly articles, book chapters and papers on industrial relations, collective bargaining and occupational health and safety.

Please RSVP to Julie Sage, Discovery Organics Fairtrade Certification and Marketing Director: jsage@discoveryorganics.ca   



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The National Energy Board (NEB) review of the Kinder Morgan pipeline project is not an open, fair and unbiased assessment serving the best interests of the public, in the opinion of Robyn Allan.  "The game is rigged," she writes.  Consequently, Ms. Allan (an independent economist and former ICBC CEO) has chosen to withdraw from the NEB review process; her letter outlines her concerns and provides good supporting evidence: The NEB has adopted an exceptionally narrow scope, and has deemed substantial public concerns as "inadmissible". The NEB has adopted practices that subvert procedural fairness and principles of natural justice.  And, the NEB is biased in favour of the proponent, and the interests of the resource industry, and does not serve the greater public interest.   

Ms. Allan's analysis and questions, as an intervenor, have been excellent and on point for more than a year.  Her efforts to scrutinize the project proposal have to be commended.  She has no stake in the project and has represented a broad public interest in her views.  Her decision to withdraw as an intervenor, along with the withdrawal of Marc Eliesen last month, is another sorry comment on the lack of integrity of this regulatory review. 

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Non-profits incorporated under the BC Society Act need to be aware of the recent changes to that piece of legislation.  The New Society Act: What you need to know is a workshop offered by Non Profit Charities Legal Outreach; scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, 2015 from 9:15 AM to 12:30 PM (PDT).

To register click here

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The Board at CCEC  Credit Union supports the $10 a Day Child Care Plan  proposed by the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC.

We share the belief that all young children should have the right to participate in quality early care and learning programs that meet their needs.  With this plan, child care would cost families $10 a day for full-time enrollment & there would be a sliding scale based on income and terms of enrollment..  

If you are a BC parent in the labour force and have a young child — chances are it’s been hard for you to find affordable, quality child care. And, if you have found a child care arrangement that works for you — chances are you feel ‘lucky’ even though you are all too aware of the high cost of care.

It’s important to remember that most BC families with young children are also experiencing a child care crisis. It's most likely not surprising to you that:
Canada ranks last among developed countries in supporting quality early care and learning programs?
BC has licensed child care spaces for only about 20 per cent of children.
Fees are high because — unlike libraries, parks and schools that receive public funds to cover some operating costs — child care is primarily a user fee service.
Even high fees paid by parents aren’t enough to pay early childhood educators a living wage

BC has a child care crisis that isn't improving. Check their website to learn more.  

  

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What if sharing isn’t always caring? Problematizing the sharing economy

 In February, CCEC was honoured to have Hilary Henegar of Modo Car Co-op give the opening address to the Member’s Forum after our Annual General Meeting. Hilary inspired us with a whimsical tale of building a garden bed using the power of the sharing economy. Muscles were flexed, free wood was hauled, friendships were made, beers were drunk, and ultimately, plants were grown.

 It was beautiful. And that’s the point of the sharing economy: people-to-people connection circumvents commercial places of exchange. “Getting things done” becomes cheaper, more accessible, and more human.

 But does the “sharing economy” actually redistribute resources, or merely circulate them within the middle and upper classes? Last month, Ross Gentleman directed us to a blog post examining how we might ensure distributive justice in the sharing economy. Participating in the sharing economy is circumscribed in many ways: it may require having pre-existing social networks of people who have access to space, tools, time and know-how. It may require having “stuff” of your own to share. It probably requires access to the internet, since many sharing platforms (think Craigslist or Shareable) are online.

 In an age when Vancouver’s mayoral candidates promise things like city-wide wifi, this may not seem like a problem.

 But it can be, according to Roundtable participant Richard Marquez, a Chicano hailing from San Francisco’s Mission District and working as residential co-ordinator with Vancouver’s Lookout Emergency Aid Society. “In the Downtown  Eastside,” he explained, “it’s a digital divide here, it’s actually digital darkness for most of the people in our buildings –  few residents have laptops or can afford private access to the internet.” Herb Varley, a DTES resident, grassroots organizer, and longtime peer/advocate for Indigenous youth, also pointed out that many people in the DTES lack access to cell phones or any phone where they can make more than a two-minute phone call. If that makes government bureaucracy nearly impossible to navigate, it certainly shuts those people out of online sharing networks.

 If CCEC’s mandate is to be a leader in “economic change,” how can we help bridge that digital divide in Canada’s most stratified city? Many roundtable participants imagined CCEC harnessing the passion and skills of our membership and channeling them toward those who are disadvantaged. We heard about possible volunteer programs around financial literacy, ID card access, consumer counselling, and indebtedness.

 Emma Sutherland, director of Red Fox Healthy Living Society, put it this way: “People are asked to give their money all the time, but what people want to do often is to see that they’re making a real difference, and have that relationship. I know for a lot of our youth, if they meet somebody from CCEC, especially if they’re introduced by someone from Red Fox, they’re going to feel comfortable. Because people here [at CCEC] get class, race, poverty; they understand it.”

Would you participate in a financial literacy initiative at CCEC? Let us know! This option will be explored over the coming months, as CCEC’s Board of Directors drafts a new strategic plan.

 Nat Marshik is a writer, sauerkraut maker, and visual artist currently working for CCEC as a community engagement organizer. You can also find Nat’s blogs all in one place here

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