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Music Schools BC

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The official blog of the British Columbia Association of Community Music Schools

Sunday, November 27, 2011

B.C. finance committee not recommending increased arts funding

For the first time since 2007, the B.C. government’s standing committee on finance has not recommended an increase in arts funding.

Arts and culture receive just one short line in the committee’s report, released earlier this week: “Recognize the economic benefits of a vibrant arts and culture sector.”

Last year, for the second year in a row, the committee had called on the province to return arts funding to 2008/09 levels. It also recommended that eligibility criteria for community gaming grants be revisited, and that the government reinstate gaming grants for three years to provide stability.

In 2007, the committee called on the government to consider a boost to the B.C. Arts Council and support the province’s artists and cultural organizations, “such that B.C.’s total arts funding from all government sources is not less than third highest amongst the Canadian provinces.” The following year, it recommended increasing the council budget to $32 million.

Amir Ali Alibhai, executive director of the Alliance for Arts and Culture, noted that the committee’s recommendations haven’t held much sway in the past with regards to arts funding. “In the past, they always have [recommended increased arts funding] and it’s never seemed to make a difference,” he said.

Spencer Chandra Herbert, the NDP’s arts critic, said he was dismayed by the committee’s report. “It doesn’t send me a good message in terms of the Liberals’ support for the arts,” he told the Straight. “It also shows me that they don’t understand the economic benefits of investing in the arts, despite their words here. Action has to follow words.”
Chandra Herbert also noted that, for the first time, the bipartisan committee did not work on a consensus, but instead the Liberals released the report with asterisks highlighting what the party deemed the most pressing recommendations. The recommendations regarding the arts was not one of them.

“We had to vote against the finance committee report, which the first time we’ve done that in quite a few years, because the Liberals decided they would do whatever they wanted anyway without coming to some sort of consensus,” he said

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Non-profits worried new law will hurt smaller agencies

Canada’s non-profit sector is grappling with the implications of a new federal law that gives members the equivalent of shareholder rights – creating avenues for more accountability and engagement but also concern over legal expenses and unintended consequences.
As the Conservative government examines new ways of funding charities and non-profits, the sector is looking to comply with a major legislative change approved in 2009 called the Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act that recently came into force on Oct. 17.
Though the bill – described by the government as a long-needed replacement for the 1917 Canada Corporations Act that governed non-profits – passed through Parliament with little controversy, some are warning in could have a major impact and risks forcing the dissolution of many small non-profits.
The law requires all federally registered non-profits to file new governing bylaws and other legal documents to Industry Canada by Oct. 17, 2014. It also gives members of non-profits new rights that are akin to the rights of shareholders of private corporations, including the ability to force motions for a vote, demand certain documents or trigger legal proceedings.
Stephen Hazell, the former executive director of the Sierra Club environmental group who now provides legal advice to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), sees potential for abuse.
He notes that small non-profits would be vulnerable to surprise takeovers. For instance, opponents of an environmental group could join the organization and have the executive director fired or force legal proceedings that the NGO can’t afford.
“The number of members of any not-for-profit that actually show up at an annual general meeting is typically pretty small; 10, 20, 40, 50 people at the most,” he said. “So it would be very easy to stack that meeting with other folks who’ve also paid their 20 bucks.”
Given that about 54 per cent of Canada’s 161,000 non-profit and voluntary organizations have no paid staff and rely entirely on volunteers, there is concern that many smaller non-profits won’t have the time or money to comply by the deadline.
Mr. Hazell warns that thousands of non-profits risk being dissolved for missing the 2014 deadline, but an Industry Canada spokesman noted the law provides default bylaws for those that do not file new reports. “The new act enhances and protects member rights which will facilitate accountability of the corporation and its directors to its members,” Michel Cimpaye said in an e-mail.
Marcel Lauzière, president and CEO of Imagine Canada, the national umbrella organization for non-profits and charities, said more needs to be done to inform groups of the “relatively onerous” legal requirements. As for new member rights, he indicated the key is to be aware and adapt to the new powers of members.
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Top Tech Tools for Learning

 From the Center for Learning and Performance Technologies, an ongoing survey among educators to identify the top tech tools used by educators.

Top 15 so far

1 - Twitter - microsharing tool  
2 - YouTube - video-sharing tool 
3  - Google Docs – collaboration suite 
4-  Skype - instant messaging/VoIP tool
5 - WordPress - blogging tool
6 - Prezi - presentation software
7 - Moodle - course management system
8-  Dropbox - file synching software
9 - Slideshare - presentation sharing site   
10  - diigo - social annotation tool  
11 - Wikipedia - collaborative encyclopaedia  
12 - (Edu)Glogster - interactive poster tool
13 - Facebook - social network  77.5 votes  
14 - Blogger - blogging tool  73.5 votes  
15 - Google Search - search engine

read the article here