Affordable Housing Agency Gets a Makeover
Canada’s federal housing agency is getting a makeover as the Liberal government looks to cement the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. as a vehicle to deliver more affordable housing to millions of Canadians. The federal Liberals have named seven new members to the CMHC board of directors as they look to leave their stamp on the organization that has for decades been largely out of the social housing business. A one-time head of Toronto’s social housing agency will become chairman of the board. Two more appointments come from the world of co-operative financial institutions, and another member is the current chancellor of Simon Fraser University. New chairman Derek Ballantyne said the makeup of the board means that different parts of the housing sector will have a voice in implementing the national housing strategy that has CMHC as a key player. The CMHC was at one time a focus of federal efforts in the social housing sector, but saw its role shift as the federal government scaled back its involvement and funding for affordable units.
Salmon Arm co-op Good Food Box program gets local boost
Volunteers at the Good Food Box program in Salmon Arm, B.C. were able to put the final touches on December’s boxes by depositing gift packages from a local company into each box. Rancho Vignola donated $3,900 of dried fruit and nuts to the Salmon Arm Good Food Box program. Through the Good Food Box co-operative, people can order individual food boxes. They enjoy fresh fruit and veggies for which they pay $12 per box … but they are able to bump this up to a value of $18 to $20, due to buying in bulk. Large orders come from the Family Resource Centre, which has the Healthiest Babies program. Other orders come from the Adams Lake Indian Band and the Little Shuswap Indian Band. Totally volunteer-run, the co-operative orders the fruit and veggies locally then get together the third Thursday of each month to divvy it up among the number of boxes which have been ordered.
Co-op’s extra toys a bonus for Nunavut community
Children in the northern territory of Nunavut got a welcome surprise this Christmas, thanks to a local co-op. The Igloolik Co-op store ordered too many toys … and the co-op donated them to the community. Duane Wilson, a vice president of Arctic Cooperatives Ltd., said a request for a quote on a shipment of toys was misunderstood as an order, and shipped to the remote Northern fly-in community of about 1,600 people. The co-op contacted the local food bank and worked together to get pre-wrapped and pre-labeled toys into the hands of kids in the community. Wilson said he feels good about the honest mistake. It’s a case of making lemonade out of lemons, he said.
Quebec co-op program encourages recycling
A new pilot project in the Montreal borough of Ville-Marie is meant to encourage recycling and help those collecting cans and bottles—and it is borrowing an idea from Vancouver to do that. Small brackets have been installed on trash cans throughout the borough, where people can place containers meant for deposit. La Co-op Les Valoristes, the organization behind the pilot project, says it is meant to help people recycle. It’s also to make things easier on binners, the people who collect containers. The binners won’t have to go down in the garbage to sort the containers, said Isabelle Tremblay, the co-founder of the organization. Binners can sometimes hurt themselves, she said, as there can be broken glass in the garbage. The main point of the program is to sustain and facilitate the work of binners, and give dignity to their work, she explained. Tremblay says they were inspired by other cities like Vancouver, Copenhagen and Cologne.