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About Us

Social Planning Cowichan (SPC) is a registered charitable society founded in May 2004. Its goal is to provide leadership that brings the community together to create a sustainable quality of life for everyone in the Cowichan Region. 

​Social Planning Cowichan was established by a lengthy community process and was handed the reins through a community forum process to carry out the recommendations developed through the Visions 2020 community forums to address social planning concerns in the Cowichan Region.
​SPC is guided by a volunteer Board of Directors with a dedicated staff of community development professionals who work to engage the expertise that exists within the Cowichan Region. We provide the region with expert facilitators, researchers and community leaders who come together to collaborate and take action to meet the needs in our community.
SPC identifies community priorities for action, based on research and community consultation through community dialogues, and community based research projects.  One of our ongoing roles in the community is to provide a series of Snapshots (formerly Status of the Community Reports) that track the health and well-being of our community and measure social foundations of health including; economy, employment, education, health services, culture, youth, transportation, community involvement, food security, housing, climate change and environment. 
SPC is an affiliate of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC) and Community Based Research Canada. 
We value the people and organizations who are deeply rooted and connected to their communities and believe in building capacity in the places we bring our work. 

Mission Statement: 
Social Planning Cowichan researches, forms partnerships, creates strategies and informs the Cowichan 
public about social planning issues.

In 2008, Social Planning Cowichan was gifted the work of Cultural Connections as a legacy from the 2008 North American Indigenous Games. This included the continuation and development of workshops, events, forums, projects and other goals as identified by the Elder-led council. Cultural Connections has formed its own Indigenous-led organization, Quw'utsun' Cultural Connections Society (QCCS), which is currently supported as a program of SPC as it forms and is established. 

  • To conduct research about the social health of the Cowichan Region

  • To educate and inform the Cowichan Region community about social planning issues

  • To facilitate partnerships and community consensus on issues and action plans

  • To recommend action plans and short and long term strategies to improve the quality of life in the Cowichan Region

  • To support the establishment of the Quw'utsun' Cultural Connections Society

Public Benefit:
Social Planning Cowichan fills a unique role in the Cowichan community, facilitating relationships and providing research that is outside of the mandate of other organizations. SPC’s research is used broadly by other organizations to demonstrate community need for services. In addition, Social Planning Cowichan pulls the community together to action plan and improve the social determinants of health for the community.

Social Planning Cowichan uses the values outlined in the Earth Charter as a framework. Broadly speaking these are:

  • Respect and care for the community of life

  • Ecological integrity

  • Social and economic justice

  • Democracy, nonviolence and peace​

Social Planning Cowichan - Annual Report 2022

Our Mission

Meet The Team

Michelle Staples

Meet The Team

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Michelle Staples

Executive Director

​Michelle's part time position is primarily focused on Administrative and Cultural Connections Activities

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Rosalie Sawrie

Project Director & Facilitator

Rosalie's position is focused on the Management of Poverty Projects, and supporting the role of ED. 

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Sandra Thomson

Cultural Connections Director 

Sandra's position is focused on Poverty Research and Cultural Connections Development. 


Ryan   Watson

Project Support

Ryan's role at SPC is all things online, research, project and administrative support.



Cultural Researcher

Mariah's role as Cultural Researcher with SPC has allowed her to make highly impactful contributions to Thu-it, and the Cultural Connections program.


Michael Lait,
Board Chair 


Nora Arajs,

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Jane Worton, 
Secretary / Treasurer

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Sierra Harvey, Director


David Reay,


Lynn Weaver, 

Board Liaisons 

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Cindy Lise

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Cindy Lise

May Modeste

Board Liaisons 

Cindy Lise

Maiya Modeste

​Quw'utsun Cultural Connections Society

Our Cowichan Health


Mike Calijouw

Municipality of North Cowichan

Aaron Stone

Marsh Stevens

Town of Ladysmith


Cowichan Valley Regional District

Board ​Liaisons are non-voting, their role is to know what SPC is working on and provide updates at their respective tables. They are not able to vote and have no influence over the operations or policies of SPC. 

Thank you to our funders:

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"Enjoy the journey and try to get better every day. And don't lose the passion and the love for what you do."
-Nadia Comăneci

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