Cities Connect - October 2013

Submitted by Donna Jean Fors... on October 31, 2013 - 11:09am
A weekly roundup of news and ideas about Poverty Reduction in Canada

It's halloween and there are lots of tricks and treats available in today's updates - it's mostly treats so read on! 

Cities Reducing Poverty Member News

The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board signed a declaration this week to signal their intention to be a living wage employer.  This makes them the largest publicly elected body in Ontario to adopt a living wage policy.  

The Prosperity Roundtable of Chatham-Kent launched their very first newsletter this week.  Find it here.

Community Update of the Week

Next week is living wage week in the UK.  Here in Canada there is growing momentum for living wage right across the country, so that sparked a desire to launch Living Wage week in Canada!  During the week living wage communities will be sharing press releases and raising the profile of living wage in their communities.  There will also be a tele-learning with two living wage employers (Catherine Ludgate from Vancity Credit Union and Alex Johnstone from the Hamilton Wenworth District School Board).  Register here to participate!

Watch this space next week for more details including the launch of a new website! 

Tool of the Week

Canada Without Poverty is launching an online course about using a human rights approach to end pvoerty in Canada.  Canada has international obligations regarding the human right to food, adequate housing and an adequate standard of living.  This course will walk you through the meaning of economic and social rights in Canada; where they have been applied, what has been successful, and why it is important to recognize  human rights are at the root of addressing social challenges. Leading human rights experts will help you walk through the materials and discussions.

Here are some further details of the course:

  • The course is four weeks in length and will run from Monday, November 11 until Sunday, December 8
  • Modules will be launched weekly. Themes include:  Introduction to Economic and Social (ES) Rights, Poverty, Housing and ES Rights, the Right to Food, and Women and ES Rights
  • ES Rights experts will join discussions each week and help facilitate conversations
  • An online platform is used that allows for various discussions and that will hold the online resource library

Register here.


Other News, Resources and Events

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities launches a campaign to address the federal housing crunch - find all the details here and join the rising tide of support!

Free Webinar: Pulic Policy Implementation and its Implications. For more information or to register contact Rural Development Institute at: / 204-571-8550 / 204-571-8515

Innoweave is hosting a series of webinars on scaling impact, developmental evaluation and cloud computing in November and December.  Find out more here.

Lori Kleinsmith blogged this week about a new resource developed in the Niagara Region called teh Road to Empowerment.  This is a self-advocacy course specifically targeting people in poverty and empowering them them take charge of their own health outcomes.  Find the report on the first year successes and a short blog about the work here.

Liz spent some time last weekend with the Anglican Diocese and it brought to mind the importance of engaging the faith communities in the work of poverty reduction.  It is their faith that drives their committment to social justice. Find her blog here.


Lots of updates for today on poverty reduction work in Canada - keep reading for updates from previous weeks! 

Cities Reducing Poverty Member News

Communities First: Impacts of Community Engagement - the research project several communities are involved in that is looking at campus-community partnerships produces a weekly newsletter that has lots of good ideas and resources in it.  If you would like to subscribe and get a copy you are very welcome to:  Subscribe here!

Poverty Free Thunder Bay presented the Thunder Bay Poverty Reduction Strategy to the City Council this week to much positive review.  You can find the strategy and more about the response from council here. The Strategy is focused on four pillars as priorities for effort: housing; income and community economic development; infrastructure; inclusion and engagement. Under these pillars, there are 23 commitments, or recommendations, with specific actions to further each one. We are thrilled to see what the next steps will be in reducing poverty in Thunder Bay! 

In other good news, the Grey-Bruce, ON Poverty Task Force has calculated a living wage for their communities and presented a submission to the Ontario Poverty reduction Strategy that focuses on rural issues facing their region. 

The Women`s Network of PEI has been actively engaging their community to understand poverty and prepare a report that is receiving great attention across the island.  Paths to Prosperity: A Community Response to Poverty is available for download! It is a great community focused report - thanks for sharing it!

The Halton Poverty Roundtable is hosting a community business breakfast on October 30th at 7am.  They will be having Mark Chamberlain and Hugh Segal speaking about poverty and how the business community needs to be a big part of the solution! Click here for more info or to register.

Community Update of the Week

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition has just finished a week of poverty and homelessness action.  They held several events and awareness raising including the Chew On This campaign mentioned in last weeks edition.  They have also been active in understanding the landlord and rental environment with some innovative research and engagement efforts.  Find out more here.

Tool of the Week

Amy shared a great video about the importance of building better brains from the Alberta Family wellness initiative - it is a must see!  Find it here:

Other News, Resources and Events

We offer our congratulations to the Canadian Index of Well-Being on their international award for their work with the City of Guelph: The Community Indicators Consortium (CIC)   Impact award celebrates projects from around the world that demonstrate the power of indicators to drive positive community change.  Find out more about their community well-being survey tool as something useful for your community. 

Until next week!


On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty I bring you the latest edition of Cities Connect!  There is such momentum for poverty reduction - the time is now to make a change.  If we don't collectively act now to reduce and eliminate poverty we could get to a point where the world cannot act to solve such a huge crisis.  

Cities Reducing Poverty Member News

Everyone is busy this week with poverty awareness campaigns since both the world food day and the international day for the eradication of poverty have landed in this week - find more updates below.

In the UK, November 3 to 9 is Living Wage week.  As there is growing national momentum for living wage across Canada we are planning to have a few living wage events in Canada that week!  We are encouraging communities with living wage campaigns to send media releases during that week.  We will also be holding a tele-learning on November 7th at noon (ET) with representatives from several living living wage employers about the power of being a living wage employer. 

Community Update of the Week

There is so much happening across the country today to raise awareness of poverty and shift attitudes towards people living in poverty. 

Canada Without Poverty is leading the charge with their Chew on This campaign to raise awareness of food security issues.  There are at least 12 communities participating in this campaign.  Check out #chewonthis on twitter.  Find out which cities are involved here.  It's time to think beyond food banks!

Members of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition wrote a great opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun about the difference provincial and territorial poverty reduction plans make.  They paint a powerful case for the BC government to implement a poverty reduction strategy.  We completely agree!

The Edmonton Poverty Elimination Committee has launched a new website to showcase their work towards a city without poverty.  Find it here!

It's Poverty Awareness Week in the Chatham-Kent region of Ontario with the Prosperity Roundtable involved in several events.

In Saskatoon, the saskatoon anti-poverty coalition is hosting a hands across the bridge event with people forming a long chain in solidarity against poverty and inequality.

Poverty Free Ontario shares a policy agenda for ending poverty in Ontario.

Also the CBC shares 10 things you might not know about poverty in Canada - a useful article to raise awareness! 

Tool of the Week

Liz Weaver blogged about the 5 things you should consider when building a common agenda in your community.  Find the blog here!

Other News, Resources and Events

Jay Connor blogged about a no blame, no shame approach to creating community change - it's a powerful read!  Find it here.

November 22nd is national housing day with Michael Shapcott, one of Canada's leading community based housing and homelessness authorities and to hear local success stories from Halton Multicultural Council and Habitat for Humanity. You may register online:

Those are some highlights for today!  Until next week I leave you with the following quote from Deidre Pike in Hamilton, ON - "If middle class doesn't support increasing minimum wage their kids will be living in the basement 4ever"



The Thanksgiving weekend is upon us!  We have a lot to be thankful for in Canada and in our everyday lives - seeing the positive assets all around us is a useful frame of mind when involved in the social change work.  This update will be brief - it is the week of Communities Collaborating Institute 2013: Accelerating Impact after all.

For lots of great resources, workshop materials, and blogs about the Communities Collaborating Institute - check out and the hashtag #tamarackcci on twitter. 

This week Vibrant Communities has been in Yellowknife sharing with the No Place for Poverty group there.  They are setting action priorities for the Northwest Territories new poverty reduction strategy.  There is a lot of ethusiasm for this work and great support from the territorial government as well as the municipal governments.  They have established 5 pillars to support the poverty reduction efforts - sustainable communities, housing, children and families, healthy living, integrated contiuum of services.  They are looking at setting indicators to measure the change.  VC brought examples of policy changes that are moving the needle on poverty as well as great example of provincial and territorial poverty reduction strategies indicators. We wait with anticipation to hear of the final action plan this winter. 

In other good news this week, the London Child and Youth Network is the latest group to endorse the Cities Reducing Poverty Charter!  Thanks for your effort to get this signed!  If you've not signed on you can find the charter here.

Also in other interesting news, Elgin County in Ontario is moving forward with calculating their living wage amount and in the Northwest Territories they are thinking about advancing a living wage for all communities.  We wish each of these communities best as they move a living wage forward as a signifcant policy change that will have lasting impact on people living in poverty. 

In New Brunswick, the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation has been on the road!  They have been travelling the province engaging residents in the process of renewing the province's poverty reduction strategy.  Scott MacAfee has written a blog this week about it - take a read as they are asking some very interesting questions! 

Liz Weaver has also written a blog this week about the common agenda element of collective impact initiatives.  It is a critical piece of community change efforts.  Take a read! 

Amy Zoethout is now fully engaged as the Community Animator for this website and the learning community of Vibrant Communities Canada - Cities Reducing Poverty.  She has been busy this week adding lots of new publications to the library - check this out for the latest!  You will be hearing and seeing more of Amy on this site and in our communities of practice and tele-learnings.  We are thrilled to have her on board! 

Until next week!  Have a happy thanksgiving weekend.  Much thanks to each of you for reading this blog and for your work in reducing poverty in your community.


It is hard to believe October is already upon us!  It's a busy week in the land of Vibrant Communities so this will be a brief update

Cities Reducing Poverty Members Updates

There is growing momentum again - we are delighted that partners in the Leeds and Grenville area of Ontario are pulling partners together to form a poverty reduction roundtable.  They engaged hundreds of residents in conversation to understand the issues in their communities and every time poverty rose to the top.  Congratulations on taking these next steps.  The United Way of Leeds and Grenville is taking the lead in this work. 

Jay Connor has written another great blog about being a community innovator - provocative as always!

Niagara Poverty Reduction Network has created a series of newpaper articles about poverty to engage their community in the issue - this week they create the link between poverty and health.  Find it here:

Community Update of the Week

The Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination launched a living wage campaign at an event on October 1, 2013 at Innovation Guelph. Based on local data, the living wage for Guelph & Wellington is $15.95 per hour. Find the full report here.

Trish Hennessy, Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario office and keynote speaker at the event noted that living wage in Guelph and Wellington is part of a province-wide conversation. "Today, Guelph-Wellington joins a growing movement here in Ontario that's calculating what it takes to make a living wage in their community," said Hennessy. "They're not just cranking out a number. They're sparking a conversation about what it takes for low-wage workers to get by in this province. In a world of precarious work, that's an important conversation to spark.

Tool of the Week

Ontario launched a Social Enterprise Strategy last week - it is a handy frame for those who have social enterprise included in their work.  You can find it here.

Other Great News and Resources

Asset Building Learning Exchange (ABLE) on November 5 & 6 in Calgary.  ABLE 2013 will provide financial literacy and asset-building learning opportunities for frontline practitioners, policy makers, and researchers. Click here to find out more about ABLE.

The Provincial/Territorial and Federal Policy Monitors are out for the month of September -these are such handy tools.  Also this week a group of volunteers from the Cities Reducing Poverty network connected together with Caledon and Vibrant Communities to take the initial steps in creating a Municipal Policy monitor - watch for the first edtion next week!