Community Benefit Agreements, More about

I think these are good especially for our youth who have had a hard 12 years with the lack of education funds by the BC Liberal over the last 12 years, and lack of stable employment, and affordable housing. Youth are really struggling. I feel without the CBAs nobody would invest in our youth especially the Liberals who were still making cuts to education after they lost the election. Click on the links below to learn more.


BC Liberal plan to stop Community Benefit Agreements would hurt local workers and the economy

There has been a huge shortage of trades people since the late 80’s.

“He said the province is facing a severe shortage of skilled labour with more workers leaving than are entering the workforce.

“One of the reasons that we have a shortage, or incompletions in the apprenticeship system, is because apprentices are not given job opportunities,” he said. “This is going to allow for apprentices to be on publicly funded projects. It’s something we’ve been calling for for years.”

Sigurdson said the agreement means the government will, essentially, be the employer.

The Crown agency will work with winning contractors to hire trades and will do the payroll and all the paperwork.

“We do have a number of contractors that do not play in the legitimate economy,” Sigurdson said. “In the construction industry, there are a lot of workers who are in the underground economy and the contractors are very happy to pay them cash. That’s going to end.”

NDP launches new labour agreement for public projects

Community benefits agreements & the proposed BC Infrastructure Benefits Inc.

B.C. Taxpayers Deserve More Than Just The Public Project On The Blueprint


BC’s 21st Century Learning, More about

Here is some information I have found that may interest individuals who haven’t been involved with the school system for awhile. Things have really changed. In my opinion it is headed in the right direction. Click on the links below to learn more.


B.C.’s New Curriculum

Try a Trade 2014 short

Blended Learning Interviews

K-12 Innovation Highlight: Comox Valley

BC’s Education Plan is based on a simple vision: Capable young people thriving in a rapidly changing world.

BCTF  21st Century Learning Initiatives

Psychology Today  The Hidden Agenda Behind 21st Century Learning

Most Likely To Succeed MLTS Learning parks

Navigate (NIDES) ENTER: Art Installations

The problem I have with this is parents have to know where to look and go looking. Districts don’t provide this information to the students or families. I expect the reason for that is because they lose the student funding if they choose an education program in another district.

SD69 Qualicum – Education Programs – Programs of Choice

SD72 Campbell River

Click on the Programs tab on Campbell River SD. Be sure to click around on that link to find the TEENFLIGHT program. If you find that one, you’ll get the idea to keep clicking around. I am finding districts are adding more every year and they don’t list them all on one tab like Parksville … another beef of mine.


Erdkinder – The Montessori Answer To Adolescence

I believe this is where we are headed. My dream is for schools to become the social fabric of our communities and this is the example I use.

You go to the store and buy a brand new pair of jeans. You wear the jeans for awhile and they become ratty tatty. You bring the ratty tatty jeans to the school where students are taught how to repair them. The repaired jeans are then sold through a student-run non profit for a low rate to their peers, and a little higher rate to others on income assistance and a higher rate to the community. Any profits are then reinvested back into the school to form other social programs.

The benefit is students will have an opportunity to learn all kinds of job skills while still at school such as bookkeeping, accounting, marketing, sewing, etc. If they don’t like them, they can change “jobs”.

My other dream is to move NIDES to a location that would make it accessible to all students in the district by public transit and turn Tsolum School into a farm run by a farmer with rotating support from our students with all kinds of life and society benefits.

Students at Sandwick in the Try A Trade Program, not sure if they still do it, were building and selling cement benches to others (school districts?) in Canada. They weren’t making much money off them .. probably due to high shipping costs.

Inquiry Learning

Be sure to click around; I’m not sure they are all on this link.

Powell River Personalized Learning Programs

If you find the Metal Fabrication ACE IT Program you’re doing well. Keep clicking.

Programs & Services on Comox Valley School District

World Class How to Build a 21st-Century School System, 2018

Here is a good report (it’s long) that provides better unbiased information than the Fraser Report on education and compares how we are doing to other countries. Well worth reading for debunking the myths and helps explain why some things are changing.

Iceland Succeeds at Reversing Teenage Substance Abuse The U.S. Should Follow Suit

Fuzzy numbers: How math instruction varies widely for teachers-to-be across Canada

TEDxEastsidePrep – Shawn Cornally – The Future of Education Without Coercion


Medical personnel now required to report blue-green algae illnesses

This is the first time I have heard that health authorities have to report phytoplankton / cyanobacteria illnesses. Since I`ve learned about Rock Snot blooms in oligotrophic rivers on Vancouver Island, I’m not sure reducing phosphorus will be enough. Rock Snot only thrives in oligotrophic rivers with low nutrients including phosphorus. We definitely have our work cut for us if we want to have healthy watersheds. Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.




Low levels of exposure usually aren’t life-threatening for healthy adults. But bacterial algae blooms are considered an emerging health hazard that needs more study.

Mandatory reporting of illnesses will give public health experts a better idea of how many people are being sickened and where the worst problems are, said Jennifer Miller, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health Services.


“Timely recognition and reporting of suspected cases of cyanobacterial poisoning will also enable public health professionals to investigate and intervene at the site of exposure to prevent additional exposures and illnesses,” Miller said.


The new reporting requirement took effect July 1 as part of a state administrative rule that had been in the works for more than a year.

Increasing jellyfish populations: trends in Large Marine Ecosystems

Click here to read the full study or an excerpt below.



Fig. 2

Fig. 2 Map of population trends of native and invasive species of jellyfish by LME. Red increase (high certainty), orange increase (low certainty), green stable/variable, blue decrease, grey no data. Circles represent discrete chronicles with relative sizes reflecting the Confidence Index. Circle locations are approximate, as some were shifted to avoid overlap; the circle for the Antarctic LME summarizes circumpolar observations



Jellyfish populations appear to be increasing in the majority of the world’s coastal ecosystems and seas. While these increases are conspicuous in several locations, even basic knowledge of jellyfish populations in most regions is poor. Many of the observed increases appear linked to human activities, but the mechanisms involved remain poorly understood. Because jellyfish populations can have important impacts on human activities and marine ecosystems, it is of paramount importance that we rapidly increase our understanding of these creatures.









Make it Safe – Canada`s Obligation to End the First Nations Water Crisis

I used to sell drinking water solutions of all sizes to individuals and communities in Canada. I learned that Canadian banks don’t finance First Nations initiatives. I called them all. I finally ended up speaking with a First Nations organization who explained a lot to me and helps finance First Nations infrastructure projects. I was shocked at what I learned. I encountered numerous problems trying to help First Nations with their drinking water. The injustice and difficulty trying to help still overwhelms and shocks me today.

We don’t appreciate our water and we take it for granted. There is a serious lack of drinking water standards across Canada. Each community tests their water for different parameters even within the same health authority. Our governments don’t know how much ground water we have and not everyone has a license to extract it. We have abandoned wells which open the door for them to become contaminated. We’ve got engineers who recommend solutions that are more costly than others. The whole system is dysfunctional and at risk due to climate change. Climate change is going to have a huge impact on our drinking water.

Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.


First Nation and Reserve Governance

Section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, grants the federal government jurisdiction over “Indians and lands reserved for the Indians”—in effect making First Nations persons wards of the state.[13] The Indian Act, first passed in 1876 under the foregoing provision, and subsequent laws codify this jurisdiction, and govern most aspects of life on reserves, including governance.[14] The Indian Act has been a primary instrument of Canada’s policy of colonization, a policy which, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, “suppressed Aboriginal culture and languages, disrupted Aboriginal government, destroyed Aboriginal economies, and confined Aboriginal people to marginal and often unproductive land.”[15] After nearly 150 years, the Indian Act still “renders almost all decisions made by a First Nations government subject to the approval of [INAC].”[16]

According to the Act, a reserve is a tract of land to which the “Crown”—the Canadian government—has legal title. It is set apart for the collective use and benefit of a “band”— a group of “Indians.”[17] Most communities prefer to use the name “First Nation” rather than band. There is no private ownership of land on reserves. Some First Nations have established their own land registry-type systems. Reserves should not be confused with traditional territory, which encompasses a much larger land area that include traditional hunting, fishing, or sacred grounds but are not within a reserve’s borders.

First Nations range in population size. Some are very small, less than a hundred people. Eighty-one First Nation reserves in Ontario have a population of 500 people or less.[18] Several reserves in Ontario have more than 2,000 people.

According to the Indian Act, each band has its own governing band council, usually consisting of one chief councilor (chief) and several councilors. Band members choose the chief and councilors by elections. The Act requires elections to be held every two years.

The Indian Act also regulates the management of “Indian” reserve lands, “Indian” moneys, and other resources—including requiring the Minister of INAC to manage certain moneys belonging to First Nations and to approve or disallow First Nations by-laws. First Nations can determine their own membership, but only receive federal funding for members who are “status Indian.” The Indian Act defines the criteria for “status,” and INAC apportions funding accordingly for “status Indian” members living on reserves. A member can live off reserve and retain voting rights, but the First Nation will not receive funding for that member. Likewise, non-band members can live on a reserve. Non-members do not have voting rights and the First Nation will not receive funding for that resident. In addition, a First Nation is not necessarily coterminous with a reserve. Some First Nations maintain multiple reserves.

In practice, First Nations chiefs and councils are accountable to members on and off reserves, and to non-members on reserves. Their power to govern, however, is significantly limited by the far-reaching role of the federal government under the Indian Act.

Risk Scores Explained

A risk score does not directly equate to drinking water quality. The 2011 independent assessment of water and wastewater systems on First Nations reserves relied on INAC guidelines for assessing risk, which follow a “multi-barrier” approach for water management. Understood as a source-to-tap approach to water management, this approach attempts “to prevent the presence of water-borne contaminants in drinking water by ensuring effective safeguards are in place at each stage of a drinking water system.”[26]

The assessment determined a risk score for each component of a system: source water—10 percent; system design—30 percent; operations—30 percent; records and reporting—10 percent; and operator training and experience—20 percent. An overall system risk is determined by combining these individual risk scores. A high overall risk means that there are “[m]ajor deficiencies in most of the components. Should a problem arise—for example, there is an acute contamination in the source water (a boat accident with leaking gasoline) or a power shortage—the system and management as a whole is unlikely to be able to compensate, thus there is a high probability that any problem could result in unsafe water. Issues should be addressed as soon as possible.”[27]

The assessment report distinguishes between risk score and water quality. Drinking water advisories connote unsafe drinking water, and are likely to occur more frequently or for longer durations in high-risk systems. However, high-risk systems can produce safe water; likewise, low-risk systems can have problems that lead to a drinking water advisory.[28]

Human Rights Watch data analysis demonstrates that systems with drinking water advisories in 2015 had a slightly higher average risk score compared with the systems that did not have advisories (6.8 to 5.8 respectively). Examining a density plot reveals that a greater proportion of the systems that had advisories were identified as very high risk.[29]

First Nations Water and Wastewater Actors and Responsibilities

Three federal departments share responsibilities with First Nations for safe drinking water and sanitation on reserve.

  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) provides capital funding and advice for design and construction of water and sanitation systems. The department funds training for First Nations staff, including water operators, and supports First Nations with 80 percent of operating and maintenance costs. INAC also sets non-binding water and wastewater protocols for reserves, but these are more like guidelines, and are not enforceable.[34]
  • Health Canada ensures monitoring of drinking water on reserves by verifying, reviewing, interpreting, and disseminating the results of tests carried out by a mixture of community and federal authorities, and supports First Nations in identifying water quality problems. The department provides advice on drinking water safety and sewage disposal .[35] Health Canada also funds or delivers community-based health promotion and disease prevention programs; primary, home, and community care services; and programs to control communicable diseases and address environmental health issues.
  • Environment Canada regulates wastewater discharge into federal waters and provides advice on source water protection.[36]
  • All three federal government departments review proposed water and wastewater infrastructure designs for reserves.
  • In most cases, the First Nation owns, operates, and manages its water and wastewater systems, with government involvement. Except in rare cases, all funds for capital costs for systems come from the federal government. First Nations must self-fund 20 percent of operation and maintenance cost. First Nations hire water operators, mostly from their community. Since 2006, First Nations design and construct facilities in accordance with standards established by INAC and incorporated into funding agreements. The First Nation is also responsible for issuing drinking water advisories, either on the recommendation of Health Canada or, in emergency situations, on their own initiative.[37]

Other Examples of Design Failures

Grassy Narrows First Nation’s treatment system, which INAC installed in 1993, also has design problems. According to the water operator, the system “was not designed to have enough contact time [with water disinfectants]. It’s impossible to achieve the necessary contact time.… [T]he water is unsafe as a result of poor design. [Our technical support from the tribal council] recognized that right away.”[147] As soon as Ontario’s stricter regulations came into force after the 2000 Walkerton disaster, the Grassy Narrows system “became immediately non-compliant [with off-reserve provincial regulations] and should have been on a drinking water advisory,” according to the community’s water operator.[148]

The community instituted a boil water advisory only in 2014 after the Council requested Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) initiate monitoring for the community’s drinking water under the province’s Drinking Water Surveillance Program, a post-Walkerton initiative.[149] According to Health Canada, the boil water advisory was put in place due to “recent information brought to [Health Canada] re: major [water treatment plant] deficiencies.”[150] INAC’s 2011 asset assessment noted that the system did not provide proper treatment for surface water.[151] The community issued a state of emergency and “do not consume” advisory on the public system in August 2015, after further testing by the MOECC found high turbidity levels in the water and disinfectant by-products that have been linked to cancer.[152]

Neskantaga First Nation, under a water advisory since 1995, has similar water treatment design failures. According to an advisor to Neskantaga First Nation’s council, “[t]he water was designed to circulate the system, instead there are three dead ends—the chlorination can’t circulate. It was put in in the 1990s, and it was a flawed system from the start.”[153] According to the Neskantaga’s chief and council, the idea for the design came from a senior bureaucrat in INAC who told council leaders at the time, “It worked in my cottage, it should work in your community.”[154] For Neskantaga’s council, this sort of patronizing comment demonstrates the challenge of working with INAC. “This is the systematic attitude that exists within the government,” said Chief Wayne Moonias.[155]

Lack of an appropriate funding mechanism for First Nations—excerpt from 2011 Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons

The federal government uses contribution agreements to fund the delivery of services on First Nations reserves. Through these agreements, First Nations receive a certain level of funding to provide various programs and services in their communities. We see several problems with the use of this funding mechanism for the provision of core government services. One problem is that, while the agreements state the services or actions to be provided, they do not always focus on service standards or results to be achieved.

The timing for provision of funds under contribution agreements is also problematic. Most contribution agreements must be renewed yearly. In previous audits, we found that the funds may not be available until several months into the period to be funded; one reason is that new agreements cannot be finalized until departments have reviewed documentation and confirmed that funds from the previous period were used appropriately. Consequently, First Nations must often reallocate funds from elsewhere to continue meeting community service requirements. […]

The use of contribution agreements between the federal government and First Nations may also inhibit appropriate accountability to First Nations members. It is often unclear who is accountable to First Nations members for achieving improved outcomes or specific levels of services. First Nations often cite a lack of federal funding as the main reason for inadequate services. For its part, INAC maintains that the federal government funds services to First Nations but is not responsible for the delivery or provision of these services.

Contribution agreements involve a significant reporting burden, especially for small First Nations with limited administrative capacity. Communities often have to use scarce administrative resources to respond to numerous reporting requirements stipulated in their agreements. We followed up on INAC’s efforts to reduce the reporting requirements of First Nations and found progress to date to be unsatisfactory even though the Department had taken various actions.

The use of contribution agreements to fund services for First Nations communities has also led to uncertainty about funding levels. Statutory programs such as land claim agreements must be fully funded, but this is not the case for services provided through contribution agreements. Accordingly, it is not certain whether funding levels provided to First Nations in one year will be available the following year. This situation creates a level of uncertainty for First Nations and makes long-term planning difficult. In contrast, legislation may commit the federal government to provide statutory funding to meet defined levels of service. A legislative base including statutory funding could remove the uncertainty that results when funding for services depends on the availability of resources.

How does the cost of drinking water on reserves stack up?

Providing safe drinking water and sanitation can be costly, particularly when factoring in remoteness or small sizes of communities. But the high price tag for water and wastewater on reserves is not inconsistent with what it costs off reserve. For example, Toronto Water distributes clean drinking water to 3.4 million residents and businesses in the city of Toronto and portions of the York region, and provides wastewater services to 2.8 million residents. The 2015 recommended operating budget for Toronto Water was $422.45 million, on top of $782.40 million allocated towards a projected $11.04 billion capital plan budget. An additional $658.2 million was allocated as a capital reserve contribution.[176]

First Line of Defense: Protecting Water Operators on First Nations Reserves

Canada’s investment in water and wastewater on reserves extends to the training and retention of First Nations water technicians and operators. While this report does not constitute an audit of Health Canada and INAC’s efforts regarding water operators, Human Rights Watch did speak with water and wastewater operators on reserves about operation and maintenance, monitoring water quality, training, and certification. The operators also discussed procedures for issuing emergency water advisories. Operators are the first line of defense against water and sanitation disasters. To ensure success in efforts to build capacity of operators, there needs to be more equipment-specific training and greater attention to operator health and safety, including mental health and stress levels.

Operators told Human Rights Watch that they noted improvements in training and certification programs and the technical support received through tribal councils. However, many operators told us that they still lacked training, especially on the specific equipment they used. A highly skilled technician working on a sophisticated reserve system noted that she and her staff never received formal training on a new piece of equipment. “We would get something by trial and error,” she said.[234] This operator, an engineer by training, had education and training to fill in the gaps. But many water operators on reserves have limited formal education and training, and virtually no support. As one operator explained, “[There is] nothing there to tell you how to operate.… My basic job is to get water from the lake to the houses, and that’s it.…I’d like to do something [more], but I can’t.…They don’t teach us how to operate [the systems].”[235] Wilfred S., the water operator in Neskantaga First Nation, told Human Rights Watch that on his first day taking over the system, he was just given the key to the plant. He stood in front of a diagram of the piped system and tried to make sense of it, and studied a handbook on the system. “I learned by myself, by the book,” he said. “I had to follow the book the first time [I started running the system.]”[236] Larry K., Sr., an operator in Grassy Narrows First Nation, had a similar experience. “I was handed over the keys.…The training came a year later.”[237]

Wilfred has been the operator for over nine years, and has now received more training. With that comes knowledge of the limitations of what operators can do without further training. For example, Wilfred knows that cleaning the distribution lines would help some with the water quality issues in Neskantaga First Nation: “I know what has to be done,” he says, but he does not have the training or tools to do it.[238]

This lack of training can be a health and safety concern for operators. In Shoal Lake 40, the former operator explained that he did not know when he started working about the health risks associated with the treatment chemicals. “Now we know how volatile the chemicals are that we use,” he said. “The main thing is chlorine… I should have rubber gloves, a face shield, apron.”[239] He has received more technical support through his tribal council, but even so lacks funding to implement the safety measures. “I bring glasses, no face shield. It’s expensive,” he said.[240]

All of the operators Human Rights Watch spoke to expressed that they felt over-worked and under-supported. Most worked very long hours. Without enough trained back-up technicians in the communities, some were unable to take any days of leave. They expressed frustration at their inability to solve their communities’ water issues, and felt immense pressure to keep the water safe for their families and friends to drink.



Click here or on the pdf file to learn more or read an excerpt below.


8.1 Protection hearings are civil hearings and are often less formal in terms of process and the application of evidentiary rules than other civil hearings (CFCSA, s. 66). In a protection hearing, the court may admit into evidence any hearsay evidence that the court considers reliable (CFCSA, s. 68(2)). Director’s counsel will often file historical Ministry records, hospital records, police records, and other similar records as business records. The standard of proof in CFCSA proceedings is the civil standard of proof on a balance of probabilities (see V. (C.C.) v. British Columbia (CFCS), 2017 BCSC 412).

High Schoolers Bring Their Love of Culinary Arts to Feed Local Homeless

This article made me cry. It has everything – leadership, social support & programs, organization skills, non profit experience, validation for lived experience, and succession planning …. all started by our youth. Our future looks bright if this is what they are doing and learning at schools. Click here or on the pdf file to learn more or read an excerpt below. I’m in awe.




Twice a week, students from Lincoln cook and serve meals to people ages 25 and under who are experiencing homelessness. Since 2016, they’ve served almost 27,000 meals and nearly 100 high school students have volunteered with the program.

CardsCook now has established itself as a nonprofit organization. They’ve expanded to include students at Jesuit and Lake Oswego high schools to serve meals in their local communities, too.

The plan now is to launch what it calls its Homeless Solutions Incubator, which will prototype practical services and resources to reduce homelessness.

“What we’re doing with CardsCook we know is a Band-Aid solution,” Sanders says. “Serving meals is just a Band-Aid, but in order to make an actual impact that resonates with the community, we’re creating a solutions incubator where we are making three to four inexpensive but meaningful solutions.”

CardsCook received a grant from Oregon Food Bank to sit down with the people who attend their weekly food service to talk about their experiences and what they think would be a solution that would improve quality of life.

“They’re the experts on what they need,” says Alex Paskill, a fellow rising senior at Lincoln, CardsCook’s cofounder and vice president. “So, instead of having our politicians and [other] citizens decide everything, it’s cool to bring them in and then bring in what the politicians know and bring in what the citizens know and bringing in what each individual can bring to the table, and combine into this melting pot that can really benefit the community as a whole.”

In addition to making even more meals available, CardsCook plans to increase homeless people’s access to veterinary care for their pets. They’re also working with local newspapers to publish personal stories that homeless people write and for which they’ll be paid, Sanders says.

The local nonprofit Harbor of Hope, which was created to raise funds and create solutions for Portland’s homeless population, is helping to fundCardsCook’s new effort.

“Hank and the other students are great kids. The homeless are going to need people like that to support them,” Homer Williams, Harbor of Hope’s chairman, told the Portland Tribune.

As the CardsCook team looks toward the 2018-2019 school year, when Sanders and Paskill are expected to graduate, they have several goals in mind. They include starting two new chapters at other Portland high schools, raising enough money to fund two years of their solutions, and starting work on their three solutions.

They also want to ensure that CardsCook continues when their time is done at Lincoln. Paskill says it’s important for lower-level students to begin to take ownership of the programs and also make it their own.

“That’s the direction we want to be going to because we’re going to be gone, but if we go and we can say that we served X amount of people and this and that, that’s all great,” he says. “I want to be able to come back to Lincoln four years from now and see that CardsCook is still a thing, that HSI is still a thing, that there’s kids still serving, and having the same amount of pride and values of CardsCook and what we founded.”