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Welcome to SocialCommons.ca

SocialCommons.ca seeks to build engaging conversations and support transformative change. All stories will be framed by our five pillars that provide the foundation for all of our work. Together with our partners, we are committed to creating a future society based on stronger human rights and social protections, revitalized communities, and a more democratic economy. We seek to build an active and engaged civil society, an enlarged social commons with more shared community assets, and systems of production and distribution that ensure a sustainable eco-sphere on which all life depends.

In many ways we are at a crossroads.  The choices we make in the next ten to twenty years will either see us embrace a profoundly different path founded on human needs and ecological sustainability, or continue to founder under the weight of failing global systems based on an endless growth mindset and the ceding of more and more political influence to large multi-national corporations.

Working from within our five pillars, we seek to join with others in mapping out the path forward.  We are all on this journey together.  It involves exposing and recognizing the failures within our current systems that are holding us back. It means articulating needs and expectations, both of ourselves and each other, as we think through what must be protected, what needs to change and what we need to create together.  Finally, it means painting a picture of the future world we wish to inhabit in a way that both reflects the values and aspirations we share, and shows concrete examples of how it is feasible and can be done.  We invite you to join us on the journey.

The Social Commons: Our Five Pillars

The Social Commons: Our Five Pillars

Where We Started From Our journey began with the planning of a fall 2019 symposium exploring the relevance of the...

Inclusive, Equitable Communities: Ensuring Human Rights

As we contend with the ravages of a global pandemic and plan our recovery, Canadians have discovered, as in...

Social Rights and Protections

The foundation laid for social rights and a social contract In the mid-20th century, after fifteen years of the Great...

Sustainable Eco-Systems: Economies Living in Harmony with Nature

How Do We Ensure Sustainable Eco-Systems? Living through the pandemic has exposed how precarious so much of our social and...

Creating a Human Needs Economy

The post-pandemic economy: More of the same? As the disruption of the pandemic nears its end, we begin to imagine...

Deepening Democracy: Strengthening Democracy and Civil Society

What Is Democracy’s Place in the Commons? Living through the pandemic has exposed how precarious so much of our social...

Latest Articles

Missing teeth: Who’s left out of Canada’s dental care plan

Click here to view original web page at spon.ca Canada is expanding public health coverage to dental care—but it’s not universal. Executive summary As part of the...

Ed Broadbent: Why We Must Move Beyond the Welfare State

Click here to view original web page at jacobin.com Ed Broadbent, a lifelong champion of social democratic politics, passed away on ...

Six ways to strengthen the circular economy

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu Mutually-reinforcing measures, plus finance and labour, are needed to bend a linear economy into a circle. The...

International students cap falsely blames them for Canada’s housing and health-care woes

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced a new cap on international students. In 2024, IRCC...

Indigenous women filmmakers form collective, using cameras to fight for rights

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com In 2022, a group of Indigenous women created Rede Katahirine, a network composed of 60...

Articulating a progressive green-growth narrative

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu Many voters regard investment in de-carbonisation and socially and environmentally beneficial outcomes as economically harmful. With voters...

Lessons from Finland’s attempt to transition to a circular economy

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Eight years ago, Finland became the first country to adopt a national circular economy road...

Inside the architecture of beloved children’s books, from ‘Goodnight Moon’ to ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Click here to view original web page at www.fastcompany.com Imagined worlds and whimsical spaces become real at the ...

Why the carbon tax often costs more in Atlantic Canada

Click here to view original web page at policyoptions.irpp.org Ever since the 2015 UN climate conference in Paris, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stuck...

Foundations for degrowth

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org There was an article in Nature from late 2022 on degrowth that got some sudden ...

Stephanie Kelton Thinks the Conventional Wisdom Is Changing

Click here to view original web page at jacobin.com In an interview with Jacobin, economist Stephanie Kelton argues that we're seeing a paradigm shift away...

Hamilton council passes a bylaw to end renovictions, helping to address housing affordability

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com The City of Hamilton took bold action to end renovictions, a practice where tenants are evicted...

Taxing wealth to break billionaire dominance

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu As men in expensive suits discuss running the world at Davos this week, ...

Markets and forests: 7 takeaways from our series on the forest carbon trade

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com This is the wrap-up article for our five-part series on forest carbon credits and the voluntary...

Empowering communities and fossil fuel workers to go green

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com Last summer, Rogan Young Pine travelled through the Northwest Territories installing solar panels on off-grid cabins....

Canadian schools need to address digital sexual violence in their curricula and policies

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Technology-facilitated sexual violence (TFSV) is on the rise among Canadian youth. In an international study that...

How sleepy Quebec City became an economic tiger

Click here to view original web page at policyoptions.irpp.org (Version française disponible ici) Strong social capital and astute local governance have made Quebec City the fastest-growing...

The Quebec Government’s Plan to Kill English Universities

Click here to view original web page at thewalrus.ca McGill University has been an integral part of Montreal’s landscape since its founding in 1821, but...

Community Economies: Reframing Wealth Building

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org “How can we change the system?” There are different ways one can answer this question. One way...

It only took 11 people and 60 days to build this 96 unit Lego-like apartment complex in Florida

Click here to view original web page at www.fastcompany.com With little more than a mallet, a glue gun, and a color-coded instruction manual, a team...

Save precious farmland to grow food

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com When crumbs of soil from prime farmland sift through fingers of my right hand, I conclude...

China’s clever plan to save its dying shopping malls

Click here to view original web page at www.fastcompany.com The U.S. invented shopping malls, but China is writing their next chapter. On a recent research trip...

Creating a welcoming and supportive environment helps immigrants better integrate

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Over the coming few years, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come to Canada...

Welcome to Canada’s New Gilded Age

Click here to view original web page at jacobin.com In Canada’s New Gilded Age, CEOs are enjoying record pay, earning a worker’s average yearly salary...

4 reasons Canada needs part-time work for all

Click here to view original web page at breachmedia.ca Universal part-time work would alleviate gender inequality, give parents ...

A national school food program would do more than feed students

Click here to view original web page at policyoptions.irpp.org Mothers in particular would also benefit. Families would save money. ...

How Canadian courts are taking on climate change

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Courts around the world are increasingly being asked to determine whether governments and Crown corporations are...

Welfare rates now $200/month below the Harris cuts of 1995

Click here to view original web page at spon.ca “If you spend $650 a month on rent and your maximum Ontario Works (OW) allowance ...

A New Year’s Resolution aimed at politicians in the UK: Time to rethink government debt and borrowing rules

Click here to view original web page at neweconomics.org As we enter 2024, we begin the season of setting new rules and resolutions for our...

Ontario has an accessibility crisis. It’s time Queen’s Park acted with urgency

Click here to view original web page at spon.ca A recently released review found that more than three quarters of the province’s 2.9 million people...

Towards Cooperative Commonwealth: Transition in a Perilous Century

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org System Change, not Climate Change, is a common refrain among climate justice activists. It makes sense....

As the world swims in plastic, here’s a place to start: Ban the two most toxic

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Anti-plastic campaigners have achieved limited initial success in passing bans based on the toxic health effects...

Mind The Gap! Sustainable Food Systems Need Inter-generational Cooperation

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org Generations have different perceptions of time. While the elder generation looks back ...

Red alert in Antarctica: the year rapid, dramatic change hit climate scientists like a ‘punch in the guts’

Click here to view original web page at www.theguardian.com Study after study showed the breakdown of climate systems taking place much earlier than foreseen,...

Indigenous-led coalition calls for moratorium on terrestrial carbon trade

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com The Pathways Alliance for Change and Transformation (PACT), a coalition of Indigenous, community and nonprofit organizations,...

Don’t Blame Carbon Pricing for Affordability Challenges

Click here to view original web page at thetyee.ca In fact, Canada’s carbon pricing rebates ease affordability pressures ...

Stories You May Have Missed

Report: Rush for ‘clean energy’ minerals in Africa risks repeating harmful extractivist model

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com The nonprofit Global Witness investigated lithium mining projects in Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and...

2023’s top 10 Indigenous news stories (commentary)

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Indigenous experts from leading Indigenous organizations and the U.N. share their list ...

Shrinking civil space and persistent logging: 2023 in review in Southeast Asia

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Home to the third-largest expanse of tropical rainforest and some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Southeast...

Geothermal is an overlooked climate solution that could be about to take off

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com It's clean, renewable, and right there below our feet, but geothermal energy has largely remained undeveloped...

A decade of stopping deforestation: How the palm oil industry did the seemingly impossible (commentary)

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Wilmar International’s No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation policy, announced ten years ago, marked a significant...

Meat industry’s moment of reckoning

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com COP28, the annual UN summit on climate change, has proven to be a clarifying, historical moment....

Ten top sustainable agriculture stories of 2023

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Agriculture is a core area of Mongabay’s coverage both because the world must find more sustainable...

Canada must expand diplomatic horizon to Global South: Melanie Joly

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said this fall that Canada needs to better reflect the needs...

15 movement victories in 2023 you may not have heard about

Click here to view original web page at breachmedia.ca From divesting from fossil fuels, to repealing the ...

Excessive supermarket profits boost inflation

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com After a year of grappling with soaring food prices, Canadians are probably dreading the big trip...

Marburg Gathering | Building Bridges for Future-Proof Food Systems

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org In early November, the Rural Resilience project was proud to support the European Action-Gathering for Sustainable...

Oral health is health: Better access to dental care may have potential benefits beyond Canadians’ mouths

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Oral diseases, particularly dental decay and periodontal (gum) diseases, are largely preventable, yet are some of...

Critical Thinking: Vital For Creating Sustainable And Democratic Societies

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org Book Update #1 – Critical Thinking Chapter Editor's Note: Author Aaron Karp shares a chapter on critical...

Fundraising in Africa: How Looking Inward Makes the Difference

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net Across Africa, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) bearing different monikers such as community-based organisations (CBOs), civil society organisations...

World Bank Enables Private Capture of Profits, Public Resources

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net The World Bank insists commercial finance is necessary for achieving economic recovery and the Sustainable Development...

From Ontario to Panama, Indigenous communities are rising up to resist Canada’s mining industry

Click here to view original web page at ricochet.media Around the world, Indigenous-led resistance to mining and extraction projects have been intensifying, and it is...

How Big Oil is Taking Us for a Fossil-Fuelized Ride

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org With the World the Hottest in 125,000 Years, We’re Being Gaslighted A recent opinion poll rocked the...

Federal and provincial housing supply efforts shouldn’t jeopardize either affordability or climate resilience

Click here to view original web page at www.pembina.org It’s time for homes and buildings to emit less carbon and ...

Canada’s agricultural policies need to better serve local farmers and communities

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Canada’s current agricultural production model is unsustainable and in desperate need of reform. A range of...

The Right to Repair and Other Forms of Peer Creativity

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org repair cafe Can creativity flourish and remain within the control of commoners? Or will businesses...

The Sustainable Jobs Blueprint positions workers to lead in clean energy economy

Click here to view original web page at www.pembina.org The Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act (Bill C-50) is a critical piece of climate legislation that will...

Climate-friendly food systems start with different values, not technologies

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org Sims Hill Shared Harvest If we want to transform our relationship with food, we need...

How nonprofits owning their own space can help communities in Ontario thrive

Click here to view original web page at theonn.ca Recently, I met up with a friend of mine at her pottery studio. She is an...

Canada’s mRNA contribution helped Big Pharma, but left out global poor

Click here to view original web page at rabble.ca Canadian taxpayers played a key role in funding the technology that made mRNA vaccines possible. Yet...

Vast new Marine Protected Areas are PNG’s first to be co-managed by Indigenous communities

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com On Nov. 12, the government of Papua New Guinea declared two large new marine protected areas...

Time for a job guarantee in Europe?

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu A job guarantee could end long spells of joblessness for millions in the EU ...

Canadian scientists are still being muzzled, and that risks undermining climate policy

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Environmental scientists in Canada continue to be stifled in their ability to conduct and communicate their...

The climate crisis will never be solved until humanity breaks its addiction to economic growth, experts say

Click here to view original web page at ricochet.media But serious discussions regarding ‘degrowth’ were ...

supporting the shift

What’s driving higher living costs? Who loses and benefits from inflation

Click here to view original web page at monitormag.ca Executive summary This report creates a new dataset to better understand what is driving inflation in Canada—workers’...

How We Converted to a Cooperative—and How You Can, Too

Click here to view original web page at www.yesmagazine.org The healthiest and happiest companies in the world are democracies. At Louder Than Ten, the project management...

What Does An Ecological Civilization Look Like?

In this far-reaching and well presented outline, Yes! Magazine gives shape and substance to a groundswell of ideas that could form the foundation of...

Four Views on Basic Income, Job Guarantees, and the Future of Work

This insightful summary includes four short commentaries on basic income, job guarantees, and the future of work by four leading Australian experts. It's a...

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