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"Pandemic Pals," Caremongers, and Good Ol' Friendliness are practical ways more neighbours are now helping neighbours. COVID-19 has led to many random acts of kindness. These are uncertain times and we are being urged to reduce our social interactions to “flatten the curve”.   We have implemented "social distancing" guidelines and a voluntary  "shelter in place".

Many CCEC member groups and businesses have been impacted as they have closed their galleries and restaurants, or postponed festivals and events. Local businesses are struggling as they operate on tight margins. Restaurants that offer take-out are open and may not be accepting cash -  only debit and credit cards. With K-12 classes suspended indefinitely, school meal programs are being reviewed to ensure kids in need don’t suffer.  

We have neighbours who are struggling financially, who live month to month on a fixed income, and cannot afford to stock their pantry.  Let’s knock on their door (respecting social distancing) or phone them and ask how you can help.  

We all know examples of how our  community is reaching out and making connections to help those who are feeling even more isolated and lonely. It is inspiring to learn that some stores are dedicating times each day day for seniors or those who need assistance or consideration; accepting donations to distribute to those in need in their area;  starting initiatives like Breaking Bread that lets you know how you can support your local, independent restaurants.

It's heartening to see so many more people and groups become ignited about neighbourly mutual aid!


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Effective immediately and until further notice, our branch opening hours are: 

  • Tuesday to Friday from 12pm-5:15pm
  • Closed Saturdays

Our staff will also be more available by phone from 9:30am-5pm Tuesday to Friday at 604.254.4100. 

During this time, we are asking our members to not visit the branch unless necessary.  Please consider using ATMs, telephone and online banking.

We are taking proactive measures to serve our members safely and responsibly.  Your health and safety and that of our staff members remain our top priority during this uncertain time. 

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As your local credit union, we work to keep you and our community safe during this COVID-19 situation. As a community, regardless of COVID-19 and the uncertainty it presents for all of us, we should always be helping those who are more vulnerable to ensure their safety and well-being. 

 

In the midst of the COVID-19 situation, it is important that we provide as much information about the precautionary steps we are taking to mitigate risk to you and to our community.

 

It is helpful to organize ourselves to protect the vulnerable in our community. This could be elderly people in our neighbourhood, for example, or perhaps a whole family with infected kids, where everyone needs to stay in the house for 2 weeks or until testing negative. Get involved in your local Block Watch and community associations to learn more. 

 

At the branch, we are: 

  • Disinfecting and cleaning surfaces in contact by our members by wearing gloves 

  • Having hand sanitizers on the counter for your use

  • Encouraging our members to use ATM and online banking and not to visit the branch during this time unless necessary. If you cannot visit the branch, please call us and we can advise you how to proceed with safety and security for your banking needs. 

 

As a community, we encourage you to: 

  • Reach out to your neighbours who are more isolated and lonely to offer to do their shopping

  • Use grocery store delivery services or use a Community Supported Agriculture program that also supports our local food sources

  • Donate to the Food Bank and local Food Security projects

 

As a precaution, you may wish to have in your pantry non-perishable items like rice, pasta,  beans and vegetables including kale, miners’ lettuce and your favourites from the freezer.

 

In the midst of the COVID-19 situation, it is important that we provide as much information about the precautionary steps we are taking to mitigate risk to our community.  Learn more at the Vancouver Coastal Health website, avoid unnecessary travel and use common sense.  

 

Call us for more information and share your thoughts. 


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March is Fraud Prevention Month: Recognize, Report and Reject. 

Scammers can target any Canadian or Canadian business. Here are some tips and tricks to protect yourself or your business from scams and fraud. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it is.  For more information and helpful tips visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud page.  

Read the helpful tips for Individuals:

Read the helpful tips for businesses:

 
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There are 19 proposed actions in the City’s five-year Climate Emergency Action Plan.  In 2019 Council declared a Climate Emergency and have now rolled out their proposed targets and actions for dealing with the emergency.  They ask for your feedback by completing their online survey,  attending a dialogue or hosting a dialogue.   The City has created a Dialogue kit that you can download that has instructions, tips, and discussion prompts. The categories they are exploring with Actions are “How We Move” and “How We Build/Renovate”.  The deadline is April 22 to gather your input for the plan that will go to Council in October 2020. 


Another climate change dialogue project is Cool 'Hood Champs: A workshop to teach local climate action.  Hosted by the CALP (Collaborative for Advanced  Landscape Planning), the workshop provides hands-on training for community members interested in bringing positive climate action to their neighbourhoods. There are three workshop dates to choose from. 


The Neighbourhood Small Grant program is accepting applications for small projects (up to $500) that help connect and engage us with our neighbours.  Applying for their Greenest City Grant to host a neighbourhood conversation on climate action using the materials from the City or at the Cool ‘Hood Champs would be a good idea. 


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We lend to your neighbours and local businesses.  We have always invested in the regenerative and circular economy.  We don’t need to change our course of investment or divest from ‘fossil fuel’.  We stand by what we believe in that works for you and our community. 

We are proud of the impact we have in our  community and in the lives of our members. Our solidarity with our brotherhood and our hereditary chiefs continues. We will not waver. 

“Thank you for having ethics and representing the community (us members) so well.  A great moment to ask folks to divest from unethical banks to move to us.”  CCEC Member

Our number one priority is to serve - and provide a model for services to - those facing systemic barriers to financial services, to credit, and to economic opportunity. Too many are turned away by conventional banks and are exploited by cheque-cashing hucksters and others.  We want to work with our members and member groups to develop services that meet those needs at fair cost. 

Refer friends, family and neighbours to join CCEC. Stand by us.  Call us today. 


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Camp registration is Open!  A CCEC tradition is to see the “Camp YES Thermometer” go up in the branch. The “Thermometer” tracks the funds donated by our member-owners to pay the camp registration fee for our youth. Each year, through the generosity of our members, we have sent up to 10 youth to the YES Camp and a few to the Reunion. 

Meet CCEC Members, Helen Spaxman and her teen, Claire. Claire has been to camp and to the Reunion. Helen’s family started donating to the Camp YES Fund for many years even before having kids. She says they donated because they hoped that their children and the youth of our community would be able to go to this camp.

Claire Says, “Thank You” 

“At the YES Camp, we do “reflections” at the end of the day, where we reflect on how our day went and then answer questions, which are sometimes light and funny, but sometimes very personal and heavy. 

When I truly opened up in reflections, I benefited by getting things out of my head that I wouldn’t normally talk about with people at home. Before camp, I felt like I couldn’t talk to my friends about certain things, maybe I didn’t want to burden my friends with my thoughts. I was also afraid it’d start rumours and more people would know about it than I originally intended. 

I have learned that YES Camp is a safe space, I can talk about anything there and get so much support from the staff and my fellow campers. Funnily enough, many of these “fellow campers” have become very close friends. Now that I’ve been to camp a few times, I’m not just a good communicator and listener at the camp, but I’m also applying these skills to my friend group at home. 

Since I’ve started opening up to friends at school, I’ve noticed so many more people sharing things with me that they never thought they’d share. My friends now feel the same comfort in talking about their feelings that I used to only feel at camp and they’re not afraid to ask me for help when they need it. I’m so so grateful to have been able to  attend YES summer camps and fall camp reunions. I’ve grown so much as a person and as a friend and I’m so ready to grow even more. Honestly, without the YES Camp, some of my closest friendships wouldn’t even exist.”

“Camp YES is a Game Changer!” says Helen Spaxman

For more information, visit the Camp YES website. To make a donation to our Camp YES Fund, call us or visit the branch. Youth interested in being sponsored to attend Camp are asked to complete an application form that will be available on our website.
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THE PEOPLE'S PROM is a fundraiser for creative resistance and direct action. It's a radical, community-oriented, annual event in East Vancouver held Feb. 14th.  It is a queer, cross-dressing, big dress wearing prom you never had in high-school.

The Prom Committee is a volunteer-run group of seven individuals who organize the People’s Prom and oversee the People’s Trust Fund. Since 2001, they have raised funds and provided micro-grants of $200 - $5,000 to grassroots organizations for initiatives that may have difficulty securing funding from other sources. Several grants are given out annually.  Check back for their funding application.  

Over the years the fund has given micro-grants to Indigenous groups, women’s centres, anti-poverty and homeless activists, environmental and anti-pipeline initiatives, political arts festivals, and transit education. In the last 20 years, they have given out an estimated $80,000 in micro-grants.  There are CCEC Member associations including No One is  Illegal who have received funds from the People's Prom. 

Congratulations! 

A big shout out to the other nominees this year:  Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks, Alliance Against Displacement and Mountain Protectors. 

The award is in recognition of an individual who contributed lots of time and effort to the early years of CCEC and who had a strong interest in community development.   Hence the award goes to member groups that are active in social justice and co-operative development activity. The award is comprised of three elements; recognition from our community, our commitment to promote the project further through CCEC, and a financial contribution from the Roger Inman Trust to support the project.

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Businesses that manufacture, import and sell products need to be responsible for the waste they generate. They need to be accountable for their products beyond selling them and change their manufacturing process “to design out waste and keep products and materials in use”.  Businesses need to use less plastic and stop producing single-use items. This shift in responsibility and accountability from consumer to business also entails recognizing the Circular Economy. 


Currently, Coca-Cola is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste. In 2019, it was found to be the most polluting brand in a global audit of plastic waste by the charity Break Free from Plastic. Nestlé is third in the list of top plastic polluters globally as 98% of their products are sold in single-use packaging. There are hundreds of multinational brands contributing to plastic pollution across the globe.


Did you know that seventy-nine percent of the world’s plastic is not recycled?  Our consumption of packaging and single-use items has a real impact on climate change: just under 30 percent of our greenhouse gases come from the way we make, consume, and dispose of stuff.  We know that compostables don’t outshine plastics when it comes to environmental benefits, and biodegradable packaging is even worse. We are overwhelmed with the quantity of  waste we cannot process. Our single-use culture needs to change and the solution is not in recycling. 


We need a solution that will have a positive impact on the environment and mitigate climate change.  Tell Us Yours! One strategy is a program called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). EPR’s push the manufacturers and retailers to contribute to the cost of collecting and reusing their products.  Businesses can introduce take-back programs or arrange waste collection and drop-off points, so the products can be re-purposed and re-introduced for another manufacturing process.


Adopting the Circular Economy model, we can design stuff better to last longer; food chains and toy makers can make better quality goods; producers can use fewer raw materials; waste can be made a resource; excess can be discouraged in schools and homes; we can shop hyper-locally and at secondhand shops, where, in an ecologically literate world, should be seen as pioneers of a new kind of socially aware consumerism.  


Vancouver has a plastic ban bylaw and a single-use-item reduction strategy as action to support their Zero-Waste 2040 Goal.  Over the next year we will see changes in the food industry as we ban styrofoam, plastic straws and plastic shopping bags. These are great steps and we need to do more. 


Let’s work towards a circular economic model and invest and shop locally, avoid buying products from the plastic polluters and advocate for increased manufacturer responsibility to avoid waste.

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Another report card, another stagnant rate. One in five children still lives in poverty in BC, as reported in  First Call’s 2019 Child Poverty Report Card.  However, despite BC seeing 18 years in a row with higher than national average child poverty rates, there has been progress and advocates insist there are solutions.


First Call’s 23rd Annual Child Poverty Report Card was released on January 14, 2020.  They report that the overall poverty rate across Canada is shrinking and credit the federal Canada Child Benefit (launched in July 2016); and the increase in household incomes for families receiving welfare and disability payments.  It is anticipated that further poverty reductions will be achieved when BC’s new Child Opportunity Benefit comes into effect this fall. 


There have been successes, however, First Call also says that “For the first time since 2009, we see an increase in lone-parent families to make up over half of BC’s poor children”. In addition, the data shows that nearly half (44.9%) of the kids living in poverty identify as recent immigrant children, one-third (30.9%) as Indigenous children living outside of First Nations communities and one-quarter (23%) as racialized (2016 census). 


There is more work to be done. Next month, the BC Budget will be released. What would the poverty reduction advocates like to see supported by the government?  The list includes increasing the number of $10-a-day child care centres, offering No-Fee Childcare spaces for those families earning $45k or less, increasing income supports and providing affordable housing, targeting efforts to help those who have a higher risk of living in poverty, increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, raising income and disability assistance rates in line with actual living expenses (up to 75 per cent of the Market Basket Measure) and indexing them to inflation. The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition also says that the province’s poverty reduction strategy must adopt a gender-based lens to analyze how men, women, and non-binary people experience poverty differently.  


BC now has a poverty reduction strategy called, TogetherBC. We’ve seen positive impacts from the strategies that have been implemented so far.  And, yes, we can improve. If we want to live in an equitable and just society, we need to find solutions to address the systemic barriers facing those living in poverty. 


For more information:


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