OUR Policies


Please also have a look at O.U.R. Information Handbook & Visitor’s Guide


Visitor policy

This policy comes in the context of the recognition that O.U.R. Ecovillage is engaged in nothing less than culture shift on a personal and global level. This often means we are also engage in the development of new conceptual frameworks to discuss some of our policies and agreements.

Stimulating this learning is a core element of O.U.R. mission. The conversations arising out of these policies can be as important as the policies themselves.

Intention of this Visitor Policy

  • To support the culture of co-creation at O.U.R. and beyond.
  • Support the upkeep and stewardship of all common spaces, infrastructure and amenities of our community (used by everyone).

People may host family, close friends or intimate partners coming specifically to visit the resident and who wouldn’t come otherwise in their personal living space, or camping, for
the following lengths of time before they may be required to complete a Resident Agreement
and Role Agreement.

Long-term Residents (living onsite for longer than 3 months):

  • up to 7 consecutive days.
  • maximum of 10 days/month
  • on condition that the visitors’ presence is supportive of O.U.R. vision and their own

Interns (in programs of 4 -12 weeks):

  • up to 3 consecutive days
  • maximum of 6 days/month
  • on condition that the visitors presence is supportive of O.U.R. vision, their own wellbeing and the interns’ ability to participate in the program.

If the visitor is family, close friends or intimate partners coming specifically to visit the
resident and who wouldn’t come otherwise, they will pay the family/long-term resident rate
(adults $10/night, kids 7-12 $5/night). All other visitors will cover their costs at the general
rate. This does not include food.

Each resident has 1 free night per month to use as they wish for visitors. These cannot be
banked or traded.

The person being visited is responsible to ensure:

  • the visitor signs a waiver when arriving on site.
  • the visitor behaves in an appropriate manner while at O.U.R. Ecovillage. This includes
    ensuring that children are supervised at all times, giving feedback to friends if required
  • all fees are paid promptly
  • any damage to property of any individual or organization at O.U.R. Ecovillage is ultimately the responsibility of the person being visited.
  • the visitor is educated about and invited to participate in O.U.R. Ecovillage culture and
    activities. This includes introducing them to the Handbook referenced above, inviting them to Council (if appropriate) and helping them adapt to village life at O.U.R.

Refund / Cancellation Policy

Accommodations, Courses, Events and all other Services

  • For cancellations with more than 30 days notice, guest will be fully refunded.
  • For cancellations with more than 21 days notice, guest will be 50% refunded.
  • For cancellations with less than 21 days notice, guest will be charged full amount.

House Rules

  1. As we are on an alternative wastewater treatment system for OUR septic and reuse as much of our water as possible. PLEASE NOTE: you must use biodegradable soaps and shampoos. These are available for purchase during your stay if you do not bring your own organic/biodegradable toiletries.
  2. There is a strict no-drugs policy on site. PLEASE NOTE: use of any non-pharmaceutical drugs is grounds for immediate dismissal.
  3. Alcohol consumption must be respectful and not in the Healing Sanctuary, but fine at most other times in most ‘common spaces’ in moderation.
  4. Our office is open from 10AM to 4PM. Check-in is available after that time by phone/text.
  5. In respect for our residents and neighbours, quiet hours are between 10pm and 8am.
  6. As this is a working farm, it is imperative that ALL gates be SHUT behind you, and latches double-checked.
  7. Smoking is permitted only in designated areas.
  8. Please remember that we are an educational facility and often have students staying on site in our dorm space. Acting with respect to this eliminates any potential issues!
  9. We love animals, but unfortunately can not accommodate your canine friends.

Drug, Alcohol & Tobacco Policy

O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE is a high visibility demonstration space; we also support folks to be fully present to themselves and to all other relationships. We therefore do not allow non-pharmacutical drugs or their use on O.U.R. Property and their use can be grounds for immediate dismissal.

Tobacco use is allowed in designated areas, which will be shown to you during a tour of the property. If you are unsure, please ask.

Alcohol use is permitted on site only after work hours. It is not permitted during working hours and can be grounds for dismissal.

Community hours contribution

O.U.R. Community Hours contribution is intended to resonate with the practice of karma yoga, which translates as “union through action”. As part of a permaculture demonstration site, the translation of “karma” fits perfectly: both “action and the effects of that action”..!

The Community Contribution is our playground for practicing and creating a culture of service in line with O.U.R. vision of sustainable global well-being. It is an opportunity to build shared vision and to practice living and working together.

We recognize that this can be a challenge. We encourage each other to open communication as an important part of all our learning. If you start to feel like this is an imposition, or that it is only another 10hrs on your workweek, speak to a Hearthkeeper or the Human Relationships (HR) team lead (Patrick).

How many hours does it take?
We have found that at least 10hrs per person per week beyond the formal workweek is required to create O.U.R. Ecovillage.

Intention of the Community Contribution
• Get stuff done! (To support the quality of life we all benefit from here.)
• Support a democratic and fair culture of participation for all, including children.
• To create an opportunity to bring people into the dynamics of team and community work and the how of making it work.
• To practice and demonstrate how we work through conflict and live with diversity.
• Recognize and learn from our own and others’ work styles.
• Support connection outside the roles associated with jobs.
• Understand and support the culture of hospitality at O.U.R. Ecovillage. No single person is the face of O.U.R. – we can all offer relationship.

Definition – Community Contribution:
1. Directly supports the well being of the whole community.
2. Happens outside work hours
3. Is a suggested average of 10 hrs/week.
4. Supports inter-connection between roles, teams and individuals.

Who does 10hrs Community Contribution?
1. Residents
2. Paid Continuing Interns
3. Resident Volunteers

Who does not do the Community contribution.
1. People paying for curriculum (interns, course participants, workshops).
2. Non-resident Staff.
3. Children under the age of 18 are encouraged to participate but not required to participate in this agreement.

What activities are eligible for Community Contribution? (Requires agreement and coordination with the team lead of the area affected.)
1. Supporting other teams – requires agreement and coordination with the team lead. (garden, farm, office, site, events, hospitality, infrastructure).
2. Projects/proposals that have been approved by the Programming Team.
3. Preparing proposals that serve the community.
4. Representing O.U.R. at planned off-site community events.
5. Supporting on site events – (parking, set-up, tours, clean-up, programming, teaching, kitchen support, hospitality services, etc).
6. Driving for site and event needs (gas money by prior arrangement).
What is not eligible for Community Contribution?
1. Care schedule
2. Care for personal space (not including improvements to infrastructure – check with infrastructure team lead)
3. Personal care (showering, massage, medical, etc)
4. Council and most training programs.
5. Childcare

As part of the role of this community in researching and developing broader frameworks for a sustainable society, we are tracking every hour of contribution that supports the creation of O.U.R. Ecovillage. While also needed for real cost budgeting of projects for funders, and supporting our research partners to document and explain the shift from a purely financial to a full-spectrum definition of value, it supports us individually to choose how we define value in our lives.

This requires data, which is why we track our volunteer hours on our timesheets in the parallel column to the paid hrs.
What happens if I don’t do Community Hours?
Do you feel you are adequately supporting this community? Do you feel the people around you are pulling their weight? Not doing the Community Contribution puts O.U.R. sustainability at risk.

If there is a sense in the community that someone is benefitting in an unbalanced way from other’s contribution, or willfully “consuming” the community resources without regard for our role as stewards of this land and community, it will be treated as any other challenge – see the Resolving Challenges Policy.

The success of this “policy” rests on each of us holding ourselves and each other accountable for our impact. You are invited to engage in the communication and deeper relationship that this will require.

HR Policy – Time off and Statutory Holidays

a. Generally: employees – we don’t observe Stat holidays on site, exceptions depends on who funds the position.
b. Staff, skill-traders and volunteers – schedules are negotiated in advance. No catch-up and banking time unless agreed before.
c. Days off for family – negotiate with team. No time off with pay.

Privacy Policy

Statement and Purpose
O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE (O.U.R. Community Association and O.U.R. Ecovillage Cooperative) respects and upholds an individual’s right to privacy and the protection of his or her personal information. O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE is committed to ensuring compliance with applicable federal and provincial privacy legislation.

O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE is accountable for personal information supplied by organizational supporters and obtained, through lawful prospecting measures, for the purpose of providing information and recruiting additional supporters.

Purposes of Collection, Use, and Disclosure
O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE collects and uses personal information about existing and prospective organizational or campaign supporters, including its staff and associates; Board and sub-committee members; students: interns: participants; donors; volunteers; and e-list subscribers. Personal information is collected for the following purposes:

  1. Administration, management, and reporting of business and activities related to O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE
  2. Dissemination of information and coordination of events pertaining to O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE
  3. Coordination, administration, and management of matters related to O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE volunteers
  4. Administration and management of matters related to O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE donations
  5. Recruitment of additional O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE supporters, including participants, donors; volunteers; and e-list subscribers.

Staff and Associates’ Privacy Policy
O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE staff and associates are requested to provide some personal information, including names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, social insurance numbers, and verification of eligibility for employment in Canada. Any O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE staff or associates exposed to personal information concerning organizational supporters abide by strict confidentiality guidelines outlined in the O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE Confidentiality Agreement.

Board and Sub-committee Privacy Policy
O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE Board and sub-committee members are requested to provide some personal information, including names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, positions or titles, representing organizations (if any), and issues of interest or concern. Board and sub-committee members consent to receive O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE-specific and related information and communications.

Supporter and Participant Privacy Policy
O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE supporters are requested to provide some personal information, including names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, positions or titles, representing organizations (if any), and issues of interest or concern.

Donor Privacy Policy
When organizational supporters provide cash or in-kind donations to O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE, personal information is collected, including names of the individual or group, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, the date the donation was received, and details related to the type of gift received. Since O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE is not a registered charity, the organization cannot issue charitable tax receipts directly to donors, but can do so through one of our fiscal sponsors. Organizational donors consent to receive O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE-specific and related information and communications, electronically or by mail, unless otherwise indicated; all direct mail solicitations provide donors with the option to discontinue future mailings and to protect their contact information from being exchanged with other groups.

Volunteer Privacy Policy
When organizational supporters offer volunteer support to O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE, a broad range of personal information is collected, including names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and information pertaining to skills, abilities, interests, and professional and voluntary experience for the purposes of volunteer placement.

E-list Subscriber Privacy Policy
When organizational supporters subscribe to the O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE e-list, personal information is collected, including names, representing organizations (if any), email addresses, and issues of interest or concern. O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE may also request and collect other information, such as mailing addresses and telephone numbers, to communicate O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE business non-electronically. E-list subscribers consent to receive O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE-specific and related information and communications. All email communications to subscribers include an option to unsubscribe from the O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE e-list.

Prospective Supporter Privacy Policy
The O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE uses lawful prospecting measures to broadcast its mission, objectives, and news, as well as to recruit additional organizational supporters. Email distribution lists for prospecting purposes may be generated from public online directories/guides, internet research, and telephone inquiries. All O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE communications to prospects, both print and electronic, include options for prospects to unsubscribe from our contact database.

Consent for Collection, Use, and Disclosure
O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE usually seeks consent when collecting, using, or disclosing personal information. Since personal information is used to communicate O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE business, consent for the collection, use, and disclosure of information is assumed amongst organizational supporters. O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE may also communicate related issues of interest. Individuals or groups may withdraw consent for collection, use, and disclosure of personal information at any time, subject to contractual or legal restrictions and reasonable notice.

Limits of Collection of Personal Information
O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE collects personal information only for the purposes identified in this policy. O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE uses only lawful methods to collect information and does not collect information indiscriminately.

Limits of Use, Disclosure, and Retention of Personal Information O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE does not use or disclose personal information for any purpose other than those for which it was collected, except with consent or as required by law.

O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE does not sell, trade, or rent information to third parties without securing consent from individuals concerned. If personal information is disclosed to third parties once consent is obtained, the O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE will ensure that appropriate security undertakings, such as confidentiality clauses in contractual agreements, are employed to protect the transfer and use of information.

Personal information is retained only as long as the information is needed, or as required by law.

Accuracy of Personal Information
O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE attempts to ensure that personal information in its possession is accurate, current, and complete for the purposes for which it was collected. Occasionally, the organization relies on volunteer support to confirm or correct information; in such cases, appropriate security undertakings such as Confidentiality Agreements are employed to protect the use of information by O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE volunteers.

Safeguards for Personal Information
The O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE is committed to the safekeeping of personal information to protect it against loss, theft, unauthorized access, use, duplication, modification, or disclosure. O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE uses a variety of physical, administrative, and electronic security measures to protect its personal information.

Access to Personal Information
Organizations, groups, and individuals associated with the O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE have the right to access their personal information. O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE’s Privacy Officer will assist with all requests for information. In certain exceptional situations, O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE may not be able to provide access to certain personal information. If access cannot be granted, O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE will provide a written explanation of the reasons behind the request refusal.

Questions or Concerns Regarding O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE’s Privacy Compliance
Questions or concerns regarding O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE’s compliance with this policy can be directed to the Office Manager

Visitor Guidelines

Guidelines For Visitors At O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE

    • Please do not bring any pets onsite.
    • Staff person responsible: see office to confirm who is on duty that day. Please let the staff know one week in advance and they will advise the cooks if meals are needed.
    • During summer programs, visiting family and friends are always welcome as long as it does not impact on maximum numbers already onsite, the cooks, or the work projects. Students are responsible to put information on the visitor board, introduce his/her guest at the community circle, provide guests with a tour of the ECOVILLAGE and show them O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE procedures for chores, dishwashing, the community process, etc. If they would like a comprehensive tour let us know and the office folks will organize a time/date.
    • Work site visitors checking out education programs through ‘TOPIA: The Sustainable Learning Community Institute’ may be welcomed to participate in the onsite work if it is feasible for the team. Until folks have a necessary level of training they will need to work with others on the site and often will participate in less specialized tasks. The teachers/facilitators/participants need to be informed ahead of time so that they can decide how to use the energy, the numbers of people, as well as have time to nominate a project leader to oversee the volunteers and do quality control. ‘Skillbuilder’ participants (see ‘Programs/Events’ page for more info on these programs) must supervise their own friends and/or family members if they are helping on site. A staff person will clear volunteers with the designated site leader before giving them the go ahead. The site leader, and any other needs of the week, will be determined at the first Community Meeting of the week.
    • Skillbuilder classes are primarily for apprentices and participants enrolled in focused educational programs…if someone is wishing to attend a topic class please make this request to the Program Coordinator for the School (check with the office who this is).
    • Community Meetings are a daily way for visitors to introduce themselves and become part of the overall group process and understanding of O.U.R. Community. We ask that recognition is given to the work and challenges which have already been experienced within the summer, and that participation in the community meeting is supportive of the folks who live/work onsite on an ongoing basis.
    • Generally O.U.R. Council Meetings (also known as The Heart Circle) are open to folks only if they are planning to be here a minimum of one month. If other facilitators/guests/teachers wish to participate, please contact a regular council member in advance of the meeting.
    • Children are a welcome part of O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE. We ask that the parent/guardian take full responsibility and supervision for their kids while on site. The building sites, woodworking shop, and gardens are potentially dangerous areas and children must have adult supervision at all times in these areas.
    • Waiver: All residents and visitors must sign a waiver when arriving and before working anywhere onsite. If you are completing volunteer, staff, or resident agreement, the waiver is included on those forms.

Food Manifesto

O.U.R. Vision is to joyfully share food as medicine for O.U.R.selves, O.U.R. land and for O.U.R. broader worlds socioeconomic, ecological and political systems. O.U.R. core approach works toward collaborative respect with all of O.U.R. living companions: animals, plants, micro-organisms and of course humans.

      • We try to keep O.U.R. food affordable, accessible and healthy. O.U.R. ideal is to eat organic and GMO-free. O.U.R. ability to do this is limited by the cost.
      • We strive towards eating a nourishing diet of natural, whole foods, prepared for maximal enjoyment and appropriate nutrition, inspired by traditional cooking wisdom. We aim to use carefully prepared whole grains over refined carbohydrates, and include unrefined fats and wholesome sweeteners in moderation.
      • We work to grow O.U.R. own organic foods in line with traditional and contemporary wisdom, towards regeneration of the land and wholesome nourishment of O.U.R.selves as Eaters.
      • We do O.U.R. best to support small-scale, local and organic food systems when we are unable to provide for O.U.R. needs on this land.
      • We trust mixed farming (which includes raising plants and animals for food) to be a sound way of keeping O.U.R. land and O.U.R.selves both productive and vital, and continue to deepen O.U.R. skills and understanding of how to best do this.
      • We honour the role that plant-based eating plays within the multi-faceted spectrum of personal and planetary healing. We prepare and offer primarily plant-based food options to our guests. In line with O.U.R. guiding vision, we also give thanks for some compassionately-raised animal foods in O.U.R. meals.
      • We value collective eating as a community building practice, an antidote to many of O.U.R. world’s ills.
      • We respect each Eater’s choice in selecting what is appropriate for her-/himself from amidst O.U.R. food offerings.
      • While we aim to accommodate O.U.R. guests’ needs, we are not yet able to cater to complex individual food requirements nor severe allergies. However, O.U.R. guests may store small quantities of food to meet their specific needs. Vegan and Raw Food Eaters, while respected and warmly welcomed, may not always be satisfied with O.U.R. food offerings. Please let us know in advance about your needs and preferences so that we might consider them.
      • Together, we are still learning how to do all of these things. We welcome constructive feedback, and
        appreciate your respect for O.U.R. ongoing process.
      • In line with the practice of holistic medicine, we welcome the experiences of personal and collective discomfort (often known as a ‘healing response’) that accompany the shifts away from unwholesome food relationships.
      • We are all Eaters, We are all Eaten. May we all be well.

Waiver & Release of Liability

For insurance purposes, everyone who comes on sight must sign a waiver. Please download, print, sign and mail (or scan and email) the form to OUR Ecovillage when you register.

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Land acknowledgment

OUR ECOVILLAGE is situated on unceded Indigenous lands. The Coast Salish Peoples are the guardians of these lands and waters where we live, work, pray, and play. Quw’utsun (Cowichan) is a historical place of gathering and Na’tsa’ maht Shqwaluwun/”one-heart one-mind” for many Indigenous peoples.

OUR ECOVILLAGE is committed to regenerate land and all ecosystems while acknowledging and respecting Indigenous knowledge that ensures thriving for all beings; we call this Permaculture.

OUR ECOVILLAGE is dedicated to continuously educating ourselves and our communities about the history and peoples of OUR bio-region, to assist in decolonization and re-villaging as a path towards peacemaking, from local to global.