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Vibrant Communities

In this issue of Cities Connect, you will find several recommendations from Vibrant Communities Canada (VCC) and the VCC-CRP network, as we all work towards creating a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy. You will also find several new guides for authentic engagement of community groups and experts of experience, tools for developing a collective impact strategy, an upcoming webinar on social procurement, and more!

We are always looking for new contributors. If you would like to share a story, article, resource or news item for our next newsletter, please contact


The Vibrant Communities Canada Team

What to Expect from this Issue:

Bright Thinking from the Vibrant Communities Canada Network

Creating a Framework for a Poverty-Free Canada: A Game-Changing Idea


Aligning Governments: 12 Things That Must Happen in a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy



A poverty reduction ‘Game Changer’ is a priority area or strategy that not only aims to deliver on its own specific goals or outcomes, but also elicits an array of other significant, positive outcomes that cascade both within and outside of its area of emphasis, and consequently, profoundly impacts the course, character, or extent of poverty experienced by people, both individually and collectively.

For example, addressing the need for safe and affordable housing would have positive influences on socialization, community participation, stabilization of health problems, job hunting, and access to support services.

Discover 8 Poverty Reduction Game-Changers and read VCC's submission to inform a national poverty reduction strategy


The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is recommending 12 changes that are essential to a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy in their new publication, Ending Poverty Starts Locally. These recommendations focus on affordable housing as the foundation of strong communities and key to poverty reduction. The roadmap includes: 

  1. Strengthening Intergovernmental Dialogue
  2. Systematically Incorporating a Gender Lens
  3. Prioritizing Social and Affordable Housing Repair and Construction
  4. Distinctly Support Newcomers' Housing Needs
  5. Expanding and Renewing the Homelessness Partnering Strategy
See all 12 recommendations put forward by local governments  

Meaningfully Engaging Context Experts


A Guide to Developing Collective Impact Strategies

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Tokenistic community engagement is often an unfortunate outcome of community engagement that’s been mandated. Many sectors require community engagement to be a part of every development process. It’s mandated for positive reasons – the understanding that community input is essential when the end result will directly impact the community – but the execution is what can often be problematic. In this paper, Lisa Attygale focuses on how we can engage context experts authentically in our community engagement efforts, by providing several stories showcasing meaningful engagement of context experts, and a distillation of lessons from these stories to keep in mind as you design your future engagement initiatives.

Learn about meaningful engagement

Find lessons, recommendations, and practical tools in these 3 new guides from the CRP network:


Collective Impact is a long-term, multi-sectoral effort to bring about significant change in a community. Whether driven by the community’s need to solve a problem, fix a crisis, or create a vision of a better future, there comes a time to develop strategy. The five conditions of Collective Impact are as follows:

  • Common Agenda
  • Shared Measurement System
  • Mutually Aligned Activities
  • Continuous Communication
  • Backbone Organization
At some point, formulating strategies to achieve the common agenda and the shared measurements identified becomes a key activity. Strategy development is what this article is about. You will find tools and approaches designed to help with the development of your Collective Impact strategies, which will serve as a guide for you and your colleagues, and stir your thinking. This guide looks at Collective Impact strategy work flow, criteria, and the development process.

Developing Collective Impact Strategies

Never Miss a Session: Explore the Vibrant Communities Webinar Archives

Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 10.51.18 AM.pngThis library hosts a variety of thought-provoking presentations from 2014 to now. You will find resources on poverty reduction game-changers, techniques for community engagement, basic income pilots, an introduction to financial empowerment, neighbourhood-based strategies that reduce poverty, tips for grant writing, innovative rural approaches to poverty reduction, and much more! Even better, if there is a particular topic your colleagues are interested in, these video presentations are open-source and 100% shareable with your team or network.

Find topics most pertinent to your work

The Evaluation Station

How do we measure poverty?

Measuring poverty helps us to tackle it. It helps us understand trends and causes, and develop informed responses. Good measurement also allows us to monitor how effective those responses are, and how poverty is changing.

With the Federal Government leading the development of a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy and looking at how we improve upon our current measurement, Maytree has put together a backgrounder on current measures of poverty. This paper explores the strengths and weaknesses of LIM, LICO, and the MBM, and offers alternatives and recommendations for improving the current system. 

Download: How do we measure poverty? prepared by Hannah Aldridge


Get Involved

A Vibrant Communities Featured Webinar

Cities Building Social Value: Social Procurement Strategies and Community Benefit Agreements in Halton and Peel Regions

Thursday, July 27 | 12:00 - 12:00 pm EDT

Positive social value initiatives, including social procurement strategies and Community Benefit Agreements, hold the promise of building more wealth within our communities. They have the ability to engage business, government, and community sectors in different ways, to work together towards reducing poverty and building more inclusive economies.
Poverty reduction members from Halton, Peel and Toronto, Ontario will join us to talk about their experiences with initiatives that are increasing social value in their communities, and look at some of the most frequently asked questions, on assessing community benefit opportunities, identifying and engaging the right people at the table, how to define success, and more.

Register Now


Community Change Institute: Cities of the Future: Co-Creating Tomorrow
Vancouver, British Columbia | September 25-29, 2017

The pressures facing our cities are intense. At the same time, there is immense hope as we look to each other to co-create the future we desire. Cities of the Future is a global movement focusing on people, government, initiatives, technologies and organizations working to increase the quality of life in today’s cities.

The 2017 Community Change Institute will be a truly transformational learning experience, bringing leading thinkers together with community change-makers to explore the critical role citizens, organizations and government play in co-creating the future of cities. Now, explore the inspiring five-day agenda, watch our workshop schedule grow, and learn about our exciting world-renowned keynote speakers.

Explore the Agenda and Register

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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 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

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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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