Re-Defining Public Services in British Columbia:  Challenges to Economic Security & Alternative Possibilities

Principal Investigators:

Marjorie Griffin Cohen (Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and Political Science, SFU);
Seth Klein (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - BC Office)

Academic Co-investigators:

Paul Bowles (Economics, UNBC); Daniel Cohn (Political Science, SFU); David Green (Economics, UBC); Fiona MacPhail (Economics, UNBC); Stephen McBride (Political Science, SFU); Arlene McLaren (Sociology, SFU); Jane Pulkingham (Sociology, SFU); Marge Reitsma-Street (Human and Social Development, UVIC); Margot Young (Law, UBC); Habiba Zaman (Women's Studies, SFU).

Academic Collaborators:

Shauna Butterwick (Education, UBC); Olena Hankivsky (Women's Studies, SFU); Michael Hayes (Geography, SFU); Clyde Hertzman (Health Care and Epidemiology, UBC); Kim McGrail (Health Services and Policy Research, UBC); Margaret McGregor (Medicine, UBC and Mid Main Health Clinic); Marina Morrow (Women's Studies, UBC); Aleck Ostry (Health Care and Epidemiology, UBC); Graham Riches (Social Work, UBC).

Community Partners:

Aboriginal Women's Action Network (Fay Blaney); BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (Tom McGregor, Glen Sanford); BC Coalition of Women's Centres (Dodie Goldney); BC Cooperative Association (John Restakis); BC Federation of Labour (Glen McInnis); BC Government and Service Employees' Union (Anne Marie Delorey, Mike Eso, Jeff Fox, Mary Rowles); BC Health Coalition (Terrie Hendrickson); BC Nurses' Union (Patricia Wejr); BC Seniors' Network (Joyce Jones); Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-BC (Sylvia Fuller, Marc Lee, John Irwin); Canadian Union of Public Employees (Mike Dumler); Coalition of Childcare Advocates of BC (Sharon Gregson, Susan Harney); End Legislated Poverty (Lesley Moore); First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition (Steve Kerstetter); Hospital Employees' Union (Marcy Cohen); Philippine Women's Centre of BC (Cecilia Diocson); Poverty and Human Rights Project (Gwen Brodsky); Prince George Community Planning Council & UNBC (Alex Michalos); REACH Health Clinic (Colleen Fuller); Social Planning and Research Council of BC (Michael Goldberg); Tenants Rights Action Coalition (Tom Durning); Trade Union Research Bureau (David Fairey); VanCity Savings Credit Union (Elisabeth Geller, Sidney Sawyer); Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (Bruce Wallace); Working Group on Poverty & MOSAIC (Annie McKitrick, Eyob Naizghi).

Project Manager:

Thi Vu (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives -  BC Office)

ESP Community Partner Organizations:

  • Aboriginal Women’s Action Network: AWAN strives to respond to issues that impact Aboriginal women including:  poverty, housing, FAS, discrimination, homophobia, cuts to social programs, racism, criminal justice, employment practices, leadership, globalization.


  • BC Coalition of People with Disabilities: a provincial, cross-disability advocacy organization whose mandate is to raise public and political awareness of disability issues, facilitate the full participation of peoples with disabilities in all aspects of society, and to promote their independence.


  • BC Coalition of Women’s Centres: The mission is to seek an end to the violence, poverty and other human rights abuses experienced by women in BC, by supporting and promoting both independent and coordinated social change action among women's centres and other equity-seeking organizations.


  • BC Cooperative Association: The BCCA is one of six autonomous regions affiliated with the national association. Its mandate focuses on government/public policy issues, promotion of co-operative enterprise and the provision of support services to its members and the broader co-op sector in BC.


  • BC Federation of Labour: The BC Federation of Labour represents 470,000 members of affiliated unions in more than 1,100 locals, working in every aspect of the BC economy.


  • BC Government and Services Employees’ Union: The BCGEU is one of the most diverse unions in BC representing approximately 60,000 men and women in more than 550 bargaining units (in both direct government service and outside the government in community social services).


  • BC Health Coalition: A coalition of over 25 organizations (e.g. Vancouver Native Health Society, Seniors Network of BC, Vancouver Women’s Health Collective, YouthCo AIDS Society) committed to the public health care system, the Canada Health Act and in opposition to user fees, privatization, corporatization, and other barriers to equal access to health care


  • BC Nurses’ Union: The BCNU represents 23,000 members under a number of collective agreements. Its mission is to promote and protect the socioeconomic well-being of its members and their communities.



  • Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC: The Coalition works to promote and support quality community-based child care services that benefit children, families and the public and in the best interests of society


  • Community Planning Council of Prince George: The Council works with individuals and organizations who are striving to build a dynamic community. It responds to issues relating to quality of life through facilitation, referral, education, research and advocacy


  • End Legislated Poverty: A registered non-profit society, ELP is a coalition of 36 organizations in BC-including anti-poverty groups, welfare advocates, unions, women's groups and churches - working together to ensure that governments reduce and end poverty.


  • First Call: BC Child & Youth Advocacy Coalition: an independent and non-partisan coalition of more than 60 provincial and regional organizations in BC, more than two dozen mobilizing communities, and hundreds of individuals who believe children and youth should have "first call" on the public resources. It promotes: a commitment to early childhood development, support in transitions from childhood to youth and adulthood, increased economic equality, and safe and caring communities.


  • Hospital Employees’ Union: With more than 46,000 members in over 400 health care facilities and agencies, the Hospital Employees' Union is the oldest and largest union in health care in BC.


  • Philippine Women Centre: PWC aims to empower Filipino women to understand the roots of their challenges as migrants, immigrants, women of colour and low-income earners, and to collectively assert their struggle for their rights and welfare.


  • Reach Community Health Centre: Reach is a publicly funded non-profit community health center that provides multidisciplinary primary health and dental care to approximately 15,000 people in East Vancouver


  • Seniors Network BC: The mission of the Network is to provide a central advocacy body through which seniors' groups in BC, and people advocating for seniors, can discuss their concerns, take action when necessary and present their common views to various levels of government.


  • Social Planning and Research Council of BC: SPARC’s objectives areto work with communities to increase the collective capacity to build a just and healthy society, and to achieve a just and healthy and in and movement in the government in the government and I have a society with focusing on promoting income security, community capacity building and accessibility


  • Tenants Rights Action Coalition: The Coalition (TRAC) is a community-based coalition of groups and individuals working on behalf of B.C.'s one million tenants. It works to improve legal protection for tenants, and to promote community action for the purpose of protecting and increasing the supply of affordable rental housing in B.C.


  • The Poverty and Human Rights Project: A research organization that undertakes research, writing, and education on poverty as a human rights issue. The discussion, analysis, research and information generated by the Project is intended to contribute to efforts in legal fora to promote interpretations of the Charter and other human rights instruments that will give life to rights to social and economic security


  • Trade Union Research Bureau: Established in the late 1930s, Trade Union Research Bureau is a labour relations and social movement research, information, consulting, advocacy and administrative services bureau based in Vancouver


  • Vancouver City Savings Credit Union: VanCity is a democratic, ethical and innovative provider of financial services to its members. Through strong financial performance, they serve as a catalyst for the self-reliance and economic well-being of their membership and community.


  • Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group: The Group is a non-profit organization dedicated to research, education, advocacy, and action in the public interest. Located in the Student Union Building of the University of Victoria, VIPIRG is the ideal place for students and volunteers who wish to work on social justice or environmental issues on campus, or at the community level.


  • Working Group on Poverty: Provides education about the issue of poverty amongst immigrants and refugees in BC. Also lobbies for the elimination of poverty.