May 7th, 2007 - News

Literacy centre opens
Literacy advocates had a goal of having a literacy centre in the community. The chance to make that a reality came sooner than they expected and the Literacy and Youth Centre run by the Literacy and Youth Initiatives Society of the North Okanagan opened April 30. The society brings together Literacy Now, which had 2010 Legacy funding but no offices, and the Greater Vernon Teen Initiative Society (Teen Junction) which had a building but had lost core funding in federal government cutbacks.

E-Spirit ready to take flight
Every year the BDC’s E-Spirit brings the entrepreneurial spirit to Aboriginal youth in Canada and the results are considerable. This year's competition will bring more than 200 Aboriginal high school students from across the country to Halifax where the students will present their business plans from May14-16. The students, from grade 10-12 come from as far as Port Alberni, B.C. in the West; Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut in the North and Eskasoni, Nova Scotia in the East.

Principal named Ontario's best business teacher
The principal at Northern Secondary School has been named the top business teacher in Ontario. But Lucio Pavone is already looking ahead to his next lesson plan in May to teach students in grades 11 and 12 in the district about the importance of financial planning. And he'll do that by taking a backseat to comedian James Cunningham who has been bringing his Funny Money lecture to schools across North America. In the long term, Pavone said he wants to keep raising the profile of business education throughout the district.

A hot new banking trend: Sharia-compliant finance
It's an unlikely image: staffers at the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions - surely one of Ottawa's driest regimes - are busy brushing up on the fine points of sharia law these days to cope with the anticipated expansion of Islamic financial services in Canada. "Lately we have had more expressions of interest," said Normand Bergevin, managing director at OSFI's approvals and precedents division.

Co-operators Group Ltd. has gotten the ball rolling. Canada's third-largest home insurer has developed a form of insurance - called takaful - which it will begin offering in a Muslim housing co-operative by this summer. Pervez Nasim, chairman of the Islamic Co-operative Housing Corporation Ltd., says he's seen demand for sharia-compliant mortgages "surge" in the last three years. Credit unions, such as the McMaster Savings and Credit Union in Hamilton, are starting to offer sharia-compliant mortgages, which tend to be structured like a rent-to-own system to avoid interest.

see also: Muslim law dictates new investment practices

Fair Trade Café recognized for creating a truly unique niche in marketplace
Truro’s Fair Trade Community Café has received the Food and Beverage of the Year Award. The Central Nova Tourist Association recently recognized the cafe for its revolutionary niche for customers by offering nutritious food, a pleasant place to drink fresh roasted fair trade coffee, supporting local farmers whenever possible, catering to diverse organizations and supporting singers and songwriters by providing a venue where they can showcase their musical talent.

Teacher to set sail on global fair-trade voyage
Vessel will call on ports around the world
EDMONTON - Chris Kozak grew up in Mill Woods, far from any ocean. Now, he's part of a Tokyo-based group that wants to sail around the world in a boat powered by sails and solar panels. The Greenheart Project, as the adventure is named, would travel to developing countries to pick up fair trade goods, then deliver them to more affluent ports.

Fair trade in Ottawa celebrates 10 years
But can you live on fair trade alone? Julie Beun-Chown looks at how to shop ethically in Ottawa

'What would you like for dinner?" It doesn't seem like a loaded question, but then, you don't know my friend, Riane. In Ottawa for her annual pilgrimage home from her hippy haven on Denman Island, B.C., draped in sundry recycled garments and smelling vaguely of essence of oregano oil, my old friend was apt to be following any number of food regimens. I thought I was prepared. I'd bought organic fruit and vegetables, spouted bread and healthy cookies that a builder friend of mine laughingly refers to as "flax-atives." Then, she hit me with it: "I'm really careful about the flesh I eat," she said. "I only eat meat I've met."

Fair, organic & delicious: At Ottawa's La Siembra, it's about more than selling virtuous chocolate. It's about a way of life
It's meeting time at the La Siembra Co-operative on Florence Street, and the discussion is not about chocolate, the co-op's main business. It's about bicycle racks. During the past year, the staff has doubled in size -- to 20 from 10 -- and with the arrival of spring there's no longer room for all the workers' bikes. Some are taking up space in the tiny ground-floor lobby. Others are leaning against walls in the lunch room, which also doubles as the yoga room, foosball room, ping-pong room and general relaxation space.

Producing Bio Diesel As a Community Venture
It's a new idea that can be used to offset rising fuel costs to farmers, maximize the value of their canola and increase economic growth. Now there is a training course available that can help producers and entrepreneurs interested in pursuing the idea. “Biodiesel is an interesting opportunity, because, unlike other ventures, it is possible for communities to produce it themselves,” said Dr. Rex Newkirk, the Director of Feed at the Canadian International Grains Institute (CIGI). “Building a one- or two- or five-million-litre-per-year plant is a starting place for a continuous flow system. For around $1 million, a community can build a plant and get into the industry. It presents some opportunity for rural Saskatchewan that potentially doesn’t exist elsewhere.”

Forty-four youngsters taking part in the Carrefour Jeunesse-Emploi program
A group of 44 potential business gurus aged 14 to 16 will take part in a camp for young entrepreneurs in August. The program is part of an initiative by the Carrefour Jeunesse-Emploi of Montreal to promote entrepreneurial skills amongst youth in the city and encourage kids to form a creative attitude towards work. The Entrepreneurship Camp for Young Montrealers will kick off its second year at Camp Beauvallon in the Eastern Townships. For three days the camp combines educational activities such as debates and project creation with the standard camper's fare of sporting events, board games and campfires.

B.C. credit unions earned $260 million last year
B.C.'s 50 credit unions posted pre-tax earnings of $260 million last year - the system's second-best annual performance in history, Credit Union Central of B.C. reported Monday. Profits were just slightly below the record $265 million set in 2005. Total assets at B.C. credit unions rose eight per cent to $38.9 billion, including $22.7 billion in residential mortgages. The value of small business loans grew by nearly 22 per cent to $8.1 billion.