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At the grand opening of the Kaien/Kxeen Urban Farm, Eric, a local resident, came by to harvest wheatgrass

The impacts and stories we’re celebrating in 2021

At the grand opening of the Kaien/Kxeen Urban Farm, Eric, a local resident, came by to harvest wheatgrass

This year, we worked with our community partners to stand up for what we value — healthy homes, healthy communities, and a healthy environment — and with support from many of you, we demonstrated on the ground, and at sea, how it’s possible to create an economy that puts social and environmental well-being at the centre of our lives. Below we highlight some of our key impacts in 2021 — those that illustrate how it’s possible to build an economy that provides for life with rural, remote, and Indigenous communities in Canada.

January

  • What is the future of BC commercial salmon fishing? We took part in a two-day conference that tried to answer that question. Commercial salmon harvesters offered insight into the challenges they face and offered recommendations on improving salmon runs, and other issues critical to the effective and sustainable management of the fishery. In June, the report The Future of BC Commercial Salmon Fishing was released with recommendations by active fish harvesters.

February

  • A new report from Indigenous Home-Lands, The Yuneŝit’in Housing Ecosystem Overview and Strategy Development was released in support of the Yuneŝit’in First Nation’s efforts to understand, articulate, and implement a comprehensive and holistic approach to housing. The housing ecosystem strategy requires a profound respect for culture with a focus on new and evolving needs in the present and for generations yet to come.

March

  • The first halibut landing for the Nuu-chah-nulth rights based Five Nations Fishery in Tofino had our team equipped and ready on the docks. Fisheries Deployment Coordinator, Gwendolyn Bennett, captures the moment in her blog and video.
  • This month, we welcomed Celine Trojand to the team as our new Chief Impact Officer. Her new role is to drive greater collective impact across our programs.

April

  • A new report from the Community Energy team described how better policies for home energy retrofits can benefit both social and environmental well-being. Transforming Income-Qualified Home Energy Retrofit Programs in BC  is a major research report looking at the critical factors driving the affordability of residential utility bills.
  • The real and immediate threat of climate change led the Supreme Court of Canada to rule that the federal government’s carbon price is constitutional. The ruling upholds a pathway to drive investment into Natural Climate Solutions, which have immense potential to accelerate climate action while benefiting community partners. Read what we had to say about it.

May

  • We had three graduate students join our Northwest Food Systems Initiative in Prince Rupert, where they took Project Coordinator roles with community organizations and businesses. Together, they also worked toward the growth of an urban farm project in downtown Prince Rupert. Read the blogs on their projects.
  • The Community Energy team worked with the Heiltsuk Nation to install another 77 heat pumps in community homes, bringing the total to 154 homes that have now replaced fossil fuel heating systems in Bella Bella. Watch the video.

June

  • We visited our partners in Yuneŝit’in First Nation, where the Forest to Frame supply chain is coming to life. Yuneŝit’in is demonstrating how a small-scale forestry program can meet the housing needs of a remote Indigenous community. Read the blog.
  • The Community Energy team joined six other organizations to advocate for the government to consider the critical role that the B.C. Utilities Commission can play in accelerating the energy transition, and energy justice, we need to protect the public interest of British Columbians’. Read the release.

July

August

  • The Wahkohtowin Innovation Centre opened its doors to communities in the Northeast Superior Region of Ontario. Ecotrust Canada received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to help its partner, Wahkohtowin Development, renovate a three-story building in the town of Chapleau to house a new gathering place where communities can work on economic development and cultural revitalization initiatives.
  • The Community Energy team traveled to Prince Rupert to present to city council, where they gained the support of the City to launch a financing feasibility study. The plan includes training local energy advisors to assist homeowners in taking advantage of a federal reimbursement program of up to $5,000 per household for clean home energy upgrades.

September

  • We hosted the grand opening of the urban farm in Prince Rupert, on Coast Ts’mysen Territory. Gilwilgyoots Hereditary Chief, Nistoix (Clarence Nelson), kicked off the event by officially welcoming the community to the Sndoyntga Lax Kx’een ada Maxłaxaała. The meaning of the urban farm’s name translates to “the community garden of Lax Kx’een and Maxłaxaała” in Sm’algyax. The farm became a focus of local interest (and even some amazement) as we proved that it is possible to grow diverse and abundant foods in the region. The total output of the farm in its first year was approximately 130kg of produce, the majority of which was donated or preserved for future use.

October

  • Ecotrust Canada was listed as a top 100 charity by Charity Intelligence for the second year in a row, recognizing our commitment to impact, transparency, and accountability in carrying out our mission.
  • Supporting at-sea observing of fisheries is an important part of our work toward enabling sustainable and equitable fisheries on the coast of BC. Check out this new video we took that gives you some idea of what it’s like to observe on a crab boat in October!

November

  • Our Climate Innovation team sent a delegate to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland to launch the BITMO Platform with our partner, Blockchain for Climate Foundation. In support of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, the BITMO Platform will provide the accounting and exchange infrastructure necessary to connect demand for emissions reductions with the best climate action opportunities around the world.
  • Building on the strategy developed earlier in the year with Yuneŝit’in First Nation, the Indigenous Home-Lands Initiative developed a Monitoring and Evaluation Tool to support project design, monitoring, and evaluation for community housing needs. This tool will give decision makers in Yuneŝit’in, and other communities across Tŝilhqot’in National Government territory, clarity to plan, chart, and track progress of potential projects, with metrics that are meaningful to the community.
  • The Province of BC launched a new incentive program for low- and moderate-income households that makes it easier for them to do home retrofits. This outcome was partly the result of our Community Energy team’s successful engagement and advocacy with the government.

December

  • We released a new video sharing the work that took place between Fall 2020 and Summer 2021, with Ecotrust Canada’s Indigenous Home-Lands and Huu-ay-aht First Nations to hold three Indigenous Housing Solutions Labs with citizens and staff. The Solutions Labs are a structured, community-driven approach to identify challenges, test ideas, and share possibilities for community governance innovation that enable the building of culturally appropriate housing and local economies.
  • We learned the results from the Area A Crab Ghost Gear Retrieval Project in the Hecate Strait. The effort recovered 251 stray traps this year, and returned an estimated $113,525 in equipment to hardworking harvesters. The gear recovery also removed 15,221 metres of vertical line from the Hecate Strait and McIntyre Bay, and a total estimate of 10,436 kilos of crab gear. Some of the unclaimed, partially damaged traps were delivered to the urban farm, Sndoyntga Lax Kx’een ada Maxłaxaała, where they will be turned into garden beds in 2022.