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Did you know that:

·         In BC, 50% of all seniors live on an income of less than $26,000/year?

·         The 2018 Homeless Count found that 23% were over the age of 55?

·         It is estimated that by 2038, about one in four people living in B.C. will be a senior?

Seniors face many issues and challenges that include social isolation, loneliness and poverty.  The Seniors 411 Society offers programs that reduce social isolation, increase social inclusion, and are a critical component of any anti-poverty strategy.  The Society’s submission on a Poverty Reduction Strategy for Seniors (Feb. 2018) states that the BC plan must address both increasing income and helping reduce or manage costs.  They also provided recommendations in seven areas that include housing, transportation, food insecurity and community based programs.  BC is still the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction plan.

In the 411 Seniors Centre Society submission, they emphasize the importance of community and social connections for seniors.  Seniors have told staff at the Society that they feel a loss of community if they move to a different and unfamiliar neighbourhood.  However, aging in place and finding quality, affordable rental homes in Vancouver, is a challenge for seniors on low and fixed incomes.  The new 411 Seniors Centre (anticipate ground breaking in Spring 2019) is a step to providing more seniors social housing.  It will have approximately 50 units of social housing, a multi-purpose centre and be located close to other amenities and services they need.

Leslie Remund, Executive Director for the 411 Seniors Centre Society, says, “We are a peer led membership organization that aims to cushion the impact of poverty by providing information, referral and advocacy services, a drop in for socialization & connection& daily activities that promote aging with pride and curiosity.”   The Centre strives to enhance the quality of life of seniors by adding a collective voice on seniors’ issues such as affordable housing, income, and health services.   Join us!”

Find out more about the 411 Seniors Centre Society.  Support their capital campaign for their new building.

(This year, CCEC was pleased to support a fundraiser for the 411 Seniors Centre Society.)

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Interest rates in Canada are climbing so if you’re on the verge of going into debt over holiday spending this year, you might want to reconsider.

To get through the holiday season with as little financial pain as possible, here a few tips to keep from overspending (which can be hard!):

Make a budget: Figure out how much you can afford to spend over the season and then work from there. For example, if you can afford $200, then make a list of what you think you need to buy and work backwards. And don’t be afraid to cut – whether it’s trimming the decorations, making your own cookies, or opting for a thoughtful card instead of a gift for someone.

Do go out with your list: Shopping centres and malls are packed at this time of year and it’s easy to get distracted and over spend. The best way to avoid this is to have a clear list of who you need to shop for and what you plan to buy for them.

Use cash: Paying for everything with cash or using your Interac Debit card makes it much easier to track your spending. Carrying a few bills along with you can ensure you stick to the essentials and avoid impulse purchases.

Have honest conversations: Avoid awkward moments by setting a price limit ahead of time for gifts among friends and family. This way no one is caught off guard by pricey or less fancy gifts. You might also find that you’d prefer to skip the gift giving altogether and opt for a night out or another kind of treat you can share.

Try a Secret Santa with your family: This is a fun way to set gift giving limits among family. Give everyone a budget of no more than $30 and one person to buy for. That way everyone gets a gift and no one has to break the bank.

We wish all our members the best for the holiday season. 

(reprinted from the cutrust newsletter)

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Big Oil

The government is once again throwing good money after bad in Alberta - https://globalnews.ca/news/4773317/alberta-oil-boost-federal-bailouts/

The above article chronicles a long and checkered history of government money flowing into private business with minimal checks and balances.

Yes, there are jobs at stake. Yes, there are livelihoods on the line. But giving money to special interests and expecting us to all be better off is naive. And deciding those in the oil industry are more deserving of support is preferential. The government is not elected to play favourites.

Especially when these types of stimuli have proven unreliable, and sometimes even counterproductive. Then again, it does a lot to illustrate the fact the government's favourites are big business.

Bombardier has benefited handsomely from bailouts while laying off employees and giving their Executive Management millions in bonuses. What is the price tag for all this loose money? Your guess is as good as mine: https://globalnews.ca/news/2624709/how-much-money-does-bombardier-owe-canadians-its-a-secret/

That is not okay. As the market has shown serious signs of sputtering in 2018, it is time to put focused pressure on real solutions that benefit those most in need - not those most in power.

It's time to spend on actual change.

- Denis Flinn
CCEC operates on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people - Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh

 Photo Courtesy of Bryant Arnold

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Image result for yellow vestsSeveral stories in the news feature angry gripes and protests.  Too often the superficial issues get the attention - a carbon tax, a luxury home tax or a pipeline.  Councillor Christine Boyle is represented in a recent piece properly identifying 'inequality', growing inequality, as the key issue.  She is right.

The BC government taxes are an attempt to re-balance taxation, but those who have homes valued in excess of $3M cry out that they are 'victims'. Entitlements, such as those we have given to homeowners and which benefit those at the upper end very handsomely, will not be given up easily.  We need to shine a light on these entrenched economic advantages if we are serious about egalitarianism,  

Many in the 'yellow vest' protests in Paris express their discontentment as added tax burdens are placed on ordinary people.  This is the core sentiment communicated by individuals on the street.  The street, in this case the Champs Élysées, is a venue for conspicuous consumption for the very wealthy, who are obviously distressed, not that the rabble are rising, but that their limo's may need to go elsewhere.  

And then we have the climate conference in Poland, where again rich nations delay action.  A sense of entitlement reigns. The recent IPCC report raised alarm, saying that warming is advancing faster than foreseen.  The BC government issued a new Climate Change Plan, but just as with the Canadian government initiatives to date, the actions are to little and even contradictory.  Vested interests, moneyed interests, such as the oil and gas industry, are not only 'entitled' but well integrated into the political apparatus that we have created. 

The discontentment that is growing may have dramatic implications.  Many, such as Chris Hedges, champion local community organizations as the key counter force to large scale capitalist machinations. 

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