By insisting that human rights are inalienable and universal, we affirm the minimum standard of dignity for people in Canada.
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Vibrant Communities

Hi there,

By insisting that human rights are inalienable and universal, we affirm the minimum standard of dignity for people in Canada. And it is not only government, but also business, civil society and individuals that share in the responsibility for promoting and protecting human rights — which we believe creates a strong basis for durable solutions to poverty. - Elizabeth McIsaac, Re-framing poverty as a matter of rights

In this month's issue of Cities Connect we have compiled information, tools and resources to stir your thinking about linking your poverty reduction work to a rights-based approach that recognizes a guaranteed, minimum standard of dignity for all. The rights-based approach encompasses freedoms from poverty and hunger and the right to basic needs like shelter, self-determination and participation. In the spirit of inclusion and rights, we are including a story that lays down the fundamentals for adopting a human rights approach to poverty reduction, a resource for hiring 'experts by experience' to advise on policy making and implementation, and an invitation to join us for a special webinar on leading a rights-based poverty reduction campaign. 

Next month's issue of Cities Connect will focus on financial empowerment for poverty reduction. If you have any stories, news, or resources you would like to contribute, please contact


The Vibrant Communities Canada Team

Featured Stories

Nothing About Us Without Us

Nothing about us without us is the concept that those of us who are affected by a policy, or policy change, should be able to fully participate and directly inform that policy before it is accepted. In the context of poverty reduction, this means that people who have experienced living in poverty should be invited and enabled to fully participate in discussions about policies and programs that directly affect them. In 2009, through a Federal Public Service pilot project in Belgium, experts by experience were hired in ten public service offices to find new ways to reduce the divide between Belgium's very poorest citizens and the rest of society.

Learn more about the outcomes of the pilot project and why experts in experience should be at the heart of your poverty reduction initiative. 


Reframing Poverty as a Matter of Rights

From the Philanthropist: Elizabeth McIsaac, President of Maytree, provides an overview of the strategies and policies for rights-based poverty reduction in Canada, beginning with the need for common language and goals. Referring to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights endorsed by Canada in 1976, McIsaac identifies challenges, complexities, and the obligation to implement the Covenant at all levels of government. In particular, she notes, individuals cannot currently claim their rights through the courts in Canada.

Read the rest of Elizabeth's foundational article on the rights-based approach to poverty reduction.


Aha's from Liz Weaver and Paul Born's Webinar on the Art of Disruption, by Sienna Taylor

To create real change, both in our individual lives and within our communities we need to connect. We need real-life, meaningful face-to-face interaction, and we need to completely disrupt the ways that we have existed and worked within the realm of community change thus far and do something different. This is the art of disruption.

Read more about forming connections to gain real traction in our community change efforts.


The Evaluation Station

This month, Alison Homer, our Manager of Learning, Evaluation and Policy, offers her top three resources for integrating a human rights approach into your evaluation strategy. Use these resources to explore how to promote service user participation, access tools and case studies about human rights-related interventions, and integrate learning into our evidence-based culture.


News, Resources, and Tools

All About Strategies: The Rights-Based Approach

Framing Poverty Reduction & Related Issues Within a Human Rights Context

Resources: Guides and Publications for Your Practical Application

Get to Know Vibrant Communities - Cities Reducing Poverty Members

Income Security Initiatives

New Programs, Practices, and Policies 

Get Involved

A Tamarack Institute Feature Webinar

Advocating for Poverty Reduction the “Rights” Way:  Lessons from Canada Without Poverty and Together Against Poverty in Society

Wednesday, August 31 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm EDT

Join Michele Biss from Canada Without Poverty (CWP); Stephen Portman from Together Against Poverty in Society (TAPS); and DJ Larkin from Pivot Legal Society to talk about the emerging rights-based approach to poverty reduction and gain insights about how to develop and lead a rights-based campaign. Our presenters will share experiences from their work from Chew On This and Super InTent City.

Register Now!


Featured Community of Practice (CoP)

Living Wage Leaders

Monday, September 26 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm EDT

Living Wage Week 2016 is fast approaching, and to get ready we will be discussing preparations with living wage campaigners from across Canada. Join the call to share your ideas and increase our collective impact for the main event happening October 31st - November 6th!

RSVP for September 26th and join the Living Wage CoP email list.


Featured Face-to-Face Learning Event

Community Change Institute

Toronto, Ontario | September 26-30, 2016

Do you want to learn the latest thinking around large-scale collaboration? Are you longing for some serious thinking time with others who care about community change? Would a week of inspiration lift your spirit and build your courage to think big? Are you longing to meet innovators who care about many of the same things you do? Join over 250 change-makers from around the world at Tamarack’s signature five-day event for a truly transformational experience.

Also, don't miss out on big discounts! Cities Reducing Poverty Summit alumi and Cities Reducing Poverty (CRP) roundtable members receive 2-for-1 seats. Full CRP roundtable members can also split the remaining cost by using their coaching credits (up to $1,000). 

Register Now!


Optimize Your Impact

Join the 50+ cities, towns, regions, provinces and territories that are already members of Vibrant Communities - Cities Reducing Poverty, a learning community and movement aimed at reducing poverty for 1 million Canadians through aligned poverty reduction strategies at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Benefits of membership include access to poverty indicator data, professional and peer coaching, free seats to the annual Cities Reducing Poverty face to face gathering, online seminars and practice calls, access to fundraising and evaluation support, and full access to the online learning community at

Download our brochure and connect with Kirsti Battista, Manager of Cities at or 647 213 6757.

Share this issue with your network:
The Vibrant Communities Newsletter is brought to you by:
Tamarack Institute
University of Waterloo, Kindred Credit Union, Centre for Peace Advancement, Conrad Grebel University College  
Waterloo, ON
N2L 3G6, Canada
Tel: 519-885-5155 
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