About

Jack of all trades, master of some

I moved to Vancouver in 1998 to pursue a career in the performing arts and somehow ended up a recovering politician turned municipal bureaucrat and college instructor. I’m a Planner in Social Policy at the City of Vancouver and my work focuses on community economic development and poverty reduction through a social determinants of health approach. In short, I find ways to work with communities and industry partners to improve economic and social sustainability in Vancouver. I do this mostly through policy and program development that strategically aligns the City’s resources and leverages the work of non-profits, advocates and activists, social enterprise an other community actors who are finding socially innovative ways to create meaningful opportunities for work and other forms of purposeful activity. Purposeful activity can include such things as volunteering, entrepreneurship, peer supported work, self expression etc. These things have been shown by leading research at the University of British Columbia to improve health outcomes, particularly in low-income communities facing mental health and addiction challenges. A lot of my work over the past decade has focused on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. You can see my LinkedIn Profile for more info if interested.

City of Vancouver Work

Led the creation the first Community Benefits Agreement policy of any major city in Canada, adopted by Council in October of 2018

Led the writing of the City of Vancouver’s Submission to Employment and Social Development Canada on the creation of a national poverty reduction strategy in 2017

Downtown Eastside Community Economic Development Strategy, adopted by Council in 2016

City Liaison to 312 Main Centre for Social and Economic Innovation

Advisory Board Member to the Community Impact Real Estate Society

CityStudio mentor and Semester in Dialogue guest presenter 2016-2019

Academic Work

Langara College

Member of the Faculty of Geography and Geology

Instructor: Regional Geography of Canada

Simon Fraser University

Past Director, Community Economic Development Program

Instructor: Economics of Wellbeing

Instructor: DTES Social Enterprise Walking Tour

Education

Master of Urban Studies, Simon Fraser University, 2018

Certificate for Community Economic Development Professionals, SFU 2014

Bachelor of Arts, Human Geography (With Distinction) SFU, 2012

Faculty of Environment Certificate in Urban Studies, 2012

Associate of Arts Degree, Geography, Langara College, 2009

Published Works

Density and diversity: Considering the impacts of mixed-use development on the retail culture of Vancouver’s Main Street (2017) Graduate Thesis, Simon Fraser University

Equitable sustainability planning within the post-industrial urban development model, Regan W., and Hall, Peter. V., in Global Planning Innovations for Urban Sustainability, Darchen and Searle Eds. (2018) Routledge

V6A: A history of community economic development innovation in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (In development)

For my published work in media (opinion pieces, op-ed) on energy policy, Canadian Politics, economic development and other topics visit here.

Green Party of Canada

I ran in the 2015 Canadian Federal Election as the Green Party Candidate for the riding of Vancouver East and continue to serve as the party’s Federal Council Representative for British Columbia and as its Shadow Cabinet Critic for Urban Affairs and Housing.

Recent policy work I’ve helped directly advance

G18-P017 Evidence-Based Housing Policy Via Open Data (Lead Submitter)
Proposal

The GPC supports evidence-based housing policy, using open data to empower those concerned with housing and homelessness to create responses rooted in empirical evidence. The Government of Canada should collect, share, and analyze data examining the complex trends and pressures in housing markets, including beneficial foreign ownership, with other policymakers, researchers and the public.

Objective

Speculative flows of global capital are recognized as a factor in the decoupling of housing prices from wages in many Canadian communities. In the interest of evidence-based policy making, the Government of Canada should collect, share, and analyze data examining the complex trends and pressures in Canadian housing markets.

Benefit

Using its resources to gather, analyze and openly share housing data with other policymakers, researchers and the Canadian public, the Government of Canada can empower those concerned with housing and homelessness to create responses rooted in empirical evidence. This also invites better coordination and collaboration between all levels of government.

G18-P012 Investment in Co-op Housing (Supporting submitter)
Proposal

The GPC supports active investment in cooperative housing with local investment decisions made by credit unions or other financial institutions, underwritten by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Objective

To support the construction of a broad range of cooperative housing initiatives, increase the supply of affordable housing, and encourage the growth of cooperative financial institutions by strengthening their role in the housing industry. By keeping the CMHC in the role of underwriter, decision making is decentralized and the barriers to affordable, quality housing are lowered.

Benefit

Co-op housing couples more efficient land use with healthier communities. It reduces emphasis on housing as a financial instrument while valuing its importance as a social good. It supports the growth of locally run, cooperative financial institutions which reinvest profits into their communities.

Lead Submitter, Michael Springate, Vancouver East EDA

Recent events that I have served as Master of Ceremonies or a panelist or moderator at:

Local Government Management Association Yearly Conference, June 2019, Community Benefits Agreements: A Platform for Industry, Community and Government Collaboration

Tamarack Institute, Cities Reducing Poverty Western Canada Conference, September 2018 (Master of Ceremonies and panelist)

Hopeful Economics Leadership and Innovation Summit, April 2017 (Master of Ceremonies)

Community Futures Sunshine Coast LEAP Program Barnraiser, Gibson’s Public Market, October 2017

Other stuff I do, seeing as you’ve made it all the way down the page this far…

Music

I’ve recorded on several albums and have toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Japan as a professional musician. In 2017-2018 I wrote and recorded my first full album with Jason Corbett (ACTORS) of Jacknife Sound. Recent albums recorded with Jay include Art D’Ecco “Trespassers”, ACTORS “It Will Come To You”, MesaLun “Feel Nothing” among other great acts from Vancouver and out of town who come here to work with him. It is due out March of 2019. It can be described as shimmery alt-country with nostalgic hints of late 80s and 1990s influences like the Smiths, Depeche Mode, U2, Neil Young, Chris Isaak, Built To Spill, Pavement, and Modest Mouse.

Sometimes my worlds of music and politics collide as this video attests!

Freemasonry

I’m a Past Master of Mount Hermon Lodge No. 7 and of University Lodge No. 91 in Vancouver and Past Senior Warden of the Vancouver Lodge of Education and Research

I’ve served in various Grand Lodge capacities including:

Grand Junior Deacon (2013-2014)

District Deputy Grand Master, District 13 (2018-2019)

Several different Grand Lodge Committees including Lodge Strategic Planning Initiative and Mentorship

I became a Freemason because I identify with the values of universal tolerance, morality, charity and Brotherly Love (Fraternalism) that are foundational to it and because I have a deep appreciation for ritual, ceremony, tradition and the arcane.

I remain a Freemason because of the incredible people I’ve met through it and the enduring friendships that have formed.

Archery

It’s when you shoot at stuff with a bow and arrow…