Nominations for Social Justice Fund awards

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The following organizations are the Social Justice Fund Nominees to be voted on at CUPE4163  SAGM October 31, 2014.   As there were no Social Justice Fund nominations at the AGM, there are two SJFs to be disbursed at the SAGM.  The nominator or previously determined designate must be present at the SAGM in order for the nominee to qualify for the vote.  


My proposal for a charity is RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values & Environmental Needs).

RAVEN is a non-profit charitable organization that provides financial resources to assist Aboriginal Nations within Canada in lawfully forcing industrial development to be reconciled with their traditional ways of life, and in a manner that addresses global warming or other ecological sustainability challenges. RAVEN’s vision is a country that embraces the caretaker values of First Nations and their equitable access to the justice system within a thriving natural habitat.


Ryan’s Well Foundation

 I would like to nominate the Ryan’s Well Foundation for the Social Justice Fund contribution.

 This organization was started by a 7-year-old boy after he learned in his grade one class that people were dying due to lack of clean water. The organization is committed to delivering access to safe water and sanitation as an essential way to improve the lives of people in the developing world.

Ryan’s Well has helped build over 878 water projects and 1120 latrines bringing safe water and improved sanitation to over 823,238 people.

 I am nominating this organization for two reasons:

1) Clean water is the key to development. Without it, children get sick and cannot attend school to get the education necessary to improve their lives, adults get sick and cannot work, and medical services in developing countries are unncessarily burdened treating those sick and dying of preventable diseases caused by drinking dirty water.

2) My ESL students have chosen to support this organization for our charity project this session. I always tell them that doing good things encourages others to do good things. Let’s show them that their efforts will be supported by CUPE 4163’s commitment to helping those less fortunate in our global community.


The Redfish School of Change

 The Redfish School of Change is a non-profit program designed to train and inspire new leaders in movements for social justice, labour rights and environmental sustainability. Every spring the program works with 15 aspiring activist leaders from across the country and takes them through an intense six week experience to build skills and analysis. Each student enters the program with a proposed Community Action Project that is developed in concert with mentors from across the province. At the conclusion of the program students leave with both a well developed plan for their community action project and a network of advisors and connections that help make it a reality. Past projects have included food security initiatives, community mapping projects and youth empowerment programs for girls in East Vancouver.

The uniqueness of the Redfish program is also its biggest challenge. Redfish uses an immersion style expedition based program to create transformative learning experiences for its students. Each year students travel through a different bio-region (Fraser Valley, Kootenay Mountains, Salish Sea…) and meet with community leaders and first nations elders along the way. In exploring the human and natural of one region from a social justice perspective students develop a stronger sense of the politics of social change. While this expedition based model has been shown over and over again to have powerful and inspiring results it is logistically demanding. Redfish struggles each year to fundraise enough money to provide this amazing experience and a donation from CUPE 4163 would be an enormous asset for the program.


Canadian    Centre    for    Policy    Alternatives    

 Since 2012,    the    Canadian    federal    government    has    undertaken    a    project    to    audit    a    number    of  Canadian charities1.    While    the    Canada    Revenue    Agency    (CRA)    was    initially    granted    $8    million    to    investigate    charities    suspected    of    exceeding    the    allowed    budget    of    10%    of    their    annual    income    to    be    spent    on    political    activities,    that    funding    has    recently    been    expanded    to    $13.4 million    over    5    years    (2012-­‐2017);    this    expansion  of  funding    also    included    new    reporting    requirements    for    charities2.      Research   undertaken    by  Royal  Roads  graduate    student    Gareth    Kirkby    has    shown    a    widespread    ‘advocacy    chill’    as    a    result    of    the    audits    that    have    already  taken   place,  whereby   the   government is    ‘muffling’    and/or    silencing    charities’    abilities    to  contribute    to  public    conversation    because    of    these    audits;    and    further,    his  research    (and    that    of    others3)    showed  that    there    was    a  singling    out  of   charities    in   four   particular    sectors:    environmental,    development/human    rights,    and    charities    receiving    donations    from    labour    unions4.    A    number    of    organizations    have    commented    on    the    selective    nature    of    the    audits,    and    questioned    the    impartiality    of    the    CRA5.    What has become clear is that the government is attempting to silence its critics: the audits are frequently expensive, time- consuming, and draining for charities’ (often small) staff. I think that now would be a wonderful time to choose a charity to send a bit of financial support and a letter of support and encouragement to. 

Charities frequently rely on the support of individuals and research grants for funding. I think that the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), whose audit started almost exactly a year ago (Oct. 2013) due to concerns that it was exhibiting biased and one-sided education materials on its website6,would be a great recipient for the Social Justice Fund this year. It is very much part of a healthy democracy to be able to criticise currents of ideas and political ideologies while being non-partisan. Among the work the CCPA is best known for, is their annual Alternative Budget7, and they have recently launched a new campaign to highlight the growing income gap among Canadians (Growing Gap8).They also regularly undertake wide-ranging progressive work, including on such topics as the minimum wage, racism in Canada, the economics of climate change, and gender differences/discrimination in the workplace. Recently, their BC branch has released a package of educational materials for high schools looking to educate their students on climate change and social justice9—some of the most important issues that we will need to address in the coming years. So while their audit continues, I think it would be a very encouraging and heart-warming gesture to show them our continued support, and to say that we stand with them and a thriving public conversation that is central to a healthy democracy. In September I undertook a small bottle-drive fundraiser for another charity (CoDevelopment Canada) that was hit with an audit that has not yet been resolved, and they expressed immense gratitude at receiving the small funds I was able to raise, and the letter of support and encouragement.  











Together Against Poverty Society Employment Standards Legal Advocacy Project

TAPS Employment Standards Legal Advocacy Project provides free face-to-face advocacy representation services for non-unionised employees. TAPS Advocates are available to assist employees in resolving disputes with their employers that are captured under the BC Employment Standards Act. 

Some of the areas where we provide assistance to workers: overtime pay, termination pay or notice of termination, minimum wage, employee or sub-contractor, vacation pay, unlawful deductions, stat pay, split shifts, unsafe work, uniform charges.