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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

The Global Laws That Help Corporations Block Climate Action

Click here to view original web page at jacobin.com However much the British government plays fast and loose with our future by treating climate change...

Canada deporting highest level of migrants in a decade, despite promises to let more stay

Click here to view original web page at breachmedia.ca Despite pledging a pathway to status for more migrants, Canada spent ...

Global Governance: Time for Reform

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net At last the UN Security Council has passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in...

Is starving Ontario’s hospitals and schools really something to brag about?

Click here to view original web page at spon.ca The root cause of Ontario’s low spending on public services is our strong aversion to raising...

How to start a community land trust

Click here to view original web page at www.shareable.net The land trust movement in the United States has gained notoriety over the past 30 years...

Is CSIS embroiling Canadian universities in US Cold War with China?

Click here to view original web page at rabble.ca Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) efforts with the “principals of the largest Canadian research universities,”...

Canada has a cost of living crisis — but there are solutions

Click here to view original web page at www.thestar.com In just three years rent and groceries are up nearly 40 per cent. ...

Universal basic services: the road to a just transition

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu Meeting social needs within planetary boundaries is the alternative to ...

A dementia-friendly plan in Toronto could lead the way for Canada

Click here to view original web page at policyoptions.irpp.org We are running out of time. Toronto needs a dementia-friendly action plan to provide concrete support...

AI’s excessive water consumption threatens to drown out its environmental contributions

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Water is needed for development, production and consumption, yet we are overusing ...

The world pretends the pandemic is over because of who it affects

Click here to view original web page at www.redpepper.org.uk The rolling back of COVID-19 safety measures is leaving many marginalized people behind, writes Beauty Dhlamini Nothing...

New legislation could accelerate the development of Worker Cooperatives across the US

Click here to view original web page at www.shareable.net From small towns to large cities throughout the country, a significant shift towards workplace democracy and...

Beyond just transition—ecology at work

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu The economic transformation required by ecological crises implies ...

The Online Harms Act doesn’t go far enough to protect democracy in Canada

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com The Liberal government’s recent proposal for regulating social media platforms, the Online Harms Act (Bill C-63),...

The European Central Bank and inflation: Like a general fighting the last war

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu Europe needs massive investment, Peter Bofinger writes. Yet the ECB’s restrictive monetary stance means...

‘Gig’ workers in Europe: the new platform of rights

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu A presumption of employment and rights on algorithmic management are at the heart of the revived...

The Case for Taxing BC’s Giant Land Value Gains

Click here to view original web page at thetyee.ca This year’s B.C. property assessments for the City of Vancouver continued a long trend. In ‘This Is...

We Need a Plan for the Transition to Renewable Energy

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.or Radical societal transformation is inevitable; a plan could make a difference between catastrophe and progress. Introduction The transition...

Housing policies need to fully consider market dynamics to move beyond ‘tall and sprawl’ cities

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com The federal Task Force for Housing and Climate recently released its final recommendations for solving Canada’s...

Does TikTok pose a security threat to Canadians?

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Concerns about the threats TikTok poses to privacy and liberty were raised again, as a bill...

E-Sak Ka Ou Declaration underscores Indigenous rights as a conservation solution (commentary)

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com The E-Sak Ka Ou Declaration calls attention to the key role of Indigenous peoples to (as...

With 2024 federal budget looming, majority of Canadians want Big Oil slapped with a windfall profits tax

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com A majority of Canadians want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to ...

Buying back better

Click here to view original web page at neweconomics.org How social housing acquisitions in London can tackle homelessness ...

Tech Titans Are the Robber Barons of Our Gilded Age

Click here to view original web page at jacobin.com The tech bros are fighting again. Last week, Apple blocked Epic Games from accessing ...

You Don’t Have to Move into a Nursing Home. NORCs are a Better Way

Click here to view original web page at thewalrus.ca Like many Canadians who watched news footage of nursing homes during the COVID-19 lockdown—the blurred faces...

International Women’s Day, 2024 Why Legal Equality Is Key to Women’s Economic Rights and Well-Being

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net The following opinion piece is part of series ...

A socio-ecological contract for a Europe in transition

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu The decarbonisation of Europe must be accelerated—which requires a new European social model. Last month, the European...

Brian Mulroney Shaped a Canada of False Hopes and Eroded Possibilities

Click here to view original web page at jacobin.com Canada’s former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney reshaped ...

How nature-based knowledge can restore local ecosystems and improve community well-being

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Organizations in the food and agriculture sector have been looking to nature for inspiration to improve...

Canada is falling behind other countries in meeting the needs of former youth in care

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Can we do better in Canada to meet the needs of former youth in care? Young adults...

Taxing the super-rich: a tool to close the gender gap

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu If gender equality is to be more than an International Women’s Day gesture, revenue must be...

Microscopic plastics could raise risk of stroke and heart attack, study says

Click here to view original web page at www.theguardian.com Scientists link tiny particles in blood vessels with                         substantially higher risk of death Doctors have warned of...

Time to put the capita back in GDP per capita

The wonky metric is key to your quality of life, Armine Yalnizyan writes. Click here to view original web page at www.thestar.com You may think that...

Canada should support G20 plan to tax billionaires

Click here to view original web page at www.thestar.com By co-operating, the world’s leading economies could curb the ability of ...

Will Ruddick on “Commitment Pooling” to Build Economic Commons

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org Sixteen years ago, when he moved to Kenya, development economist Will Ruddick realized that many poorer...

Stories You May Have Missed

It’s time we include cities and regions as equal partners in global climate negotiations

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Last year’s UN climate conference (COP28) made history in Dubai by introducing — for the very...

Scientists and doctors raise global alarm over hormone-disrupting chemicals

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which harm the human body’s regulation of hormones, have become ubiquitous in consumer products,...

MAID and mental health: Does ending the suffering of mental illness mean supporting death or supporting better lives?

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Recent headlines have highlighted debates among federal parties over the proposal to extend Medical Assistance in...

The Problem With Finance Is the Problem of Post-Industrial Capitalism

Click here to view original web page at jacobin.com It is today all but taken for granted by political figures from Hillary Clinton to Bernie...

Insecure Europe—the need for a job guarantee

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu A job guarantee would not only eliminate long-term unemployment ...

What Mulroney got wrong on free trade with the U.S.

Click here to view original web page at www.thestar.com The “free market” has failed us time and again. Canada’s founding narrative was...

UN Environmental Assembly Call for Action to Address Planetary Triple Threat: Climate, Nature Loss, Pollution

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net The Sixth United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-6) ended with delegates calling for firm actions to address...

Hydro Power’s Conundrum: Rising Demand in a Drier Climate

Click here to view original web page at thetyee.ca Central to low-carbon economic plans is an electricity source threatened by drought. As the climate crisis increases...

Reflections from the Financing Resilient Infrastructure Project

Click here to view original web page at icleicanada.org A new approach is needed to finance resilience at the local level: Building the infrastructure we...

Envisioning a Steady-State Comprehensive Plan

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org ”Economic growth” is commonplace in the daily news. We assume it’s a good thing, that ...

Beyond the cafeteria: The economic case for investing in school meals

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com The return on investing in universal school meals is clear. According to our new report, universal...

Health care needs to extend to undocumented migrants

Click here to view original web page at policyoptions.irpp.org Canada is undergoing its human-rights review at the United Nations, a standard peer evaluation all 193...

Why the Nature Restoration Law is not just about the environment

Click here to view original web page at www.euractiv.com Lately, Europe’s political agenda has been dominated by new deals for industry and competitiveness, where acting...

Building the democratic local economy

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org The magazine Stir to Action, and the project that sits behind it, has been one of...

The promise of Bras d’Or

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com Bras d’Or Lake in central Cape Breton isn’t, in fact, a lake, it’s an estuary —...

The Inspiring Movement to Build for Climate Resiliency

Click here to view original web page at www.resilience.org The way we build our structures and organize our cities can have a significant impact ...

The importance of critical minerals should not condone their extraction at all costs

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com Global warming is real and climate change is worsening day-by-day with raging forest fires, unseasonably warm...

Renewable energy innovation isn’t just good for the climate — it’s also good for the economy

Click here to view original web page at theconversation.com As the climate crisis escalates, there are urgent and difficult choices that need to be ...

The pathway to doubling public transit use by 2035

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com Taking the bus in Halifax for Douglas Wetmore often means long wait times, crowded routes and...

Why Do I Constantly Have to Prove My Disability?

Click here to view original web page at thewalrus.ca On a warm evening last June, I unintentionally became a caricature that I typically mock: a...

It’s Time to Dismantle the US Sanctions-Industrial Complex

Click here to view original web page at jacobin.com The US has built up an elaborate machinery for waging economic warfare on its rivals ...

The World Social Forum: The Counterweight to the World Economic Forum

Click here to view original web page at www.ipsnews.net This week the 2024 annual meeting of the World Social Forum (WSF) was held in Nepal....

UN kudos for Canadian project to climate-proof coastal estuaries

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com A West Coast conservation group is getting global kudos for its work protecting the ...

To reverse deforestation and protect biodiversity, build a bioeconomy in the Amazon (commentary)

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Slowing and reversing deforestation and land degradation in the Amazon requires not only conservation efforts but...

The Internet Archive Provides a Model of Free Access to Knowledge for All

Click here to view original web page at jacobin.com What is the future of the library in times of digital reading? The Internet Archive, a...

In Canada, a wealth tax could raise $400 billion over the next ten years

Click here to view original web page at www.nationalobserver.com After the City of Edmonton and its taxpayers gave him hundreds of millions of dollars to...

What principles should define natural climate solutions? A new study has some answers

Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com Click here to view original web page at news.mongabay.com The increased popularity of natural climate solutions (NCS),...

What works for the left? Liberal socialism

Click here to view original web page at www.socialeurope.eu As the European Parliament elections loom, with the populists rising, progressives need a liberal-left narrative. Socialist and...

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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