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.


  • 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

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.

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 of co-hosting the annual Walk of Nations and generating opportunities for cross cultural bridge building, between First Nations and non First Nations community members. ​Cultural Connections has forming its own Indigenous run organization and will be transitioning away from SPC by 2022. 

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 2021

Meet The Team

Meet The Team

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Michelle Staples

Executive Director
​Michelle's part time position  is primarily focussed on Administrative and Cultural Connections Activities

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Rosalie Sawrie

Project Director & Facilitator

(Currently on leave)
Rosalie's part-time position is focussed on the Management of our Poverty Projects, and supporting the role of ED. 

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Sandra Thomson

Cultural Connections Director 
Sandra's position is focussed on Poverty Research and Cultural Connections Development 



Ryan   Watson

Administrative Support
Ryan's role at SPC is all things online, research and administrative support

Summer Students


Cara Falcone

Community Research Coordinator

Cara is a sociology student working with the Summer Youth Team on our community snapshot project. She also helps with outreach and all things social media.

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Community Research Coordinator

Jemma is finishing her undergraduate degree in International Development studies and is excited to be back at SPC assisting in community snapshot research.



Community Research Coordinator

I am a third year student at the University of Victoria. I am double majoring in Political Science and Philosophy. I am originally from Colombia and have always had a passion in serving my community, especially in the area of social justice. I hope to continue working in areas that seek to improve and better the lives of all within the community.

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Michael Lait,
Board Chair 

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Brooke Ballantyne,

Vice Chair

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Jane Worton, 


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Sierra Harvey, Director

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David Reay,


Nora Arajs,


Lynn Weaver, 

Board Liaisons 

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Cindy Lise

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

Cindy Lise

May Modeste

Board Liaisons 

Cindy Lise

Maiya Modeste

​Quw'utsun Cultural Connections Society

Our Cowichan Health


Christopher Justice

Aaron Stone

Municipality of North


Cowichan Valley Regional


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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  • Union of BC Municipalities

  • Province of British Columbia Gaming

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