Vibrant Communities

Cities Reducing Poverty

Cities Reducing Poverty is a collective impact movement aimed at reducing poverty for 1 million Canadians through the efforts of local multi-sector roundtables and the alignment of poverty reduction strategies at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

Launched in 2002 by Tamarack, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Caledon Institute of Social Policy, Vibrant Communities Canada originally invited 13 cities to build multi-sector leadership roundtables with the goal of reducing poverty. Between 2002 and 2012, this group of Vibrant Communities Trail Builders undertook an action-learning experiment to see if a place-based approach could move the needle on poverty. Their impact was significant with a number of cities reporting a 10% reduction in poverty impacting the lives of 202,931 low income Canadians.

Building on the success of these 13 cities, a movement has emerged with more than 50 additional cities joining the network. While the poverty reduction effort is customized to the local context, these cross-sector community leaders have been working on poverty reduction strategies such as increasing access to affordable transit, living wage campaigns, increasing access to affordable housing, focusing on priority neighbourhoods, and advocating for evidence-based social assistance.

We collectively believe that this effort will result in a more equitable, vibrant and healthier Canada. When citizens are marginalized because of poverty, our communities and cities suffer. Reducing poverty increases our economic capacity, our health outcomes and our community vitality.


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Featured Resources

Getting Started


Article: Cities and the Federal Poverty Reduction Strategy

One way that Vibrant Communities - CRP will be supporting cities is through the development of a TEN Guide for Cities Implementing the Federal Strategy. To start the conversation for the TEN Guide, this article provides an introduction to the national strategy, background into why cities are crucial in poverty reduction, examples of work already being done by cities and some initial thoughts on how community-based organizations can get the most out of the national strategy. 


Summary: Select Poverty Reduction Strategies

This collection of poverty reduction strategies provides a glimpse into the work of eight Cities Reducing Poverty (CRP) members. It shines a spotlight on some of the poverty reduction efforts across Canada in diverse geographies and cities of different sizes. Read more to learn about the background and focus areas in which CRP members are concentrating their efforts, and to access full strategies for further information and inspiration.

Game Changer imageSometimes to Hear the Music you Have to Turn Down the Noise: A Game-Changer Approach to Poverty Reduction Strategy and Evaluation

From a poverty reduction perspective, we are inundated with the voices of our partners and stakeholders, regularly adding our own voices to the mix as well. It’s like sitting in a room with 100 people who are all talking about important things, but where the messages become undecipherable. This article is about lessening the noise that envelopes us and increasing our capacity to make beautiful music together as we identify, act on, and evaluate our poverty reduction efforts.

Taking It Further


What Does the Data Tell Us About Rising Poverty in Canada

Incomes are an important determinant of well-being and one of the more measurable aspects of poverty. Data can tell us how poverty affects groups of people differently, and how poverty is changing among and within them. This publication discusses how the forthcoming federal poverty reduction strategy must be rooted in evidence, must aim to put an end to widening income inequality, and must reflect the complexity of poverty by involving the many actors that influence and are affected by it.

TO Prosperity

TO Prosperity: Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy

Toronto’s vision by 2035 is to be a city with opportunities for all, and a leader in the collective pursuit of justice, fairness and equity. The city aspires to be renowned for having access to good jobs, adequate income, stable housing, affordable transportation, nutritious food, and supportive services. This plan reflects key concerns and issues prioritized by Toronto residents during a broad engagement process, with a focus on addressing immediate needs, creating pathways to prosperity, and driving systemic change.

CRP book

Cities Reducing Poverty: How Vibrant Communities are Creating Comprehensive Solutions to the Most Complex Problem of Our Times

This book explores the efforts of collaborative groups in six different Canadian cities where each one is guided by a desire to employ a comprehensive approach in tackling the interconnected cause-and-effect variables of poverty. It showcases case studies from these communities that provide a rich pool of learning about the multiple and complex factors underlying poverty, as well as the characteristics, challenges, and opportunities of reducing it through comprehensive and integrated responses.

Common Agenda

How to Develop a Common Agenda for a Collective Impact

How to Develop a Common Agenda for a Collective Impact: A 5 Step Guide is a paper written by Paul Born that provides a 'how-to' approach to developing a common agenda when working on a Collective Impact initiative. It is not meant to be prescriptive, but to provide a real life example of how this process has taken shape within Paul's experiences, and can act as a reference to fine-tune your own methodology.

Communities of Practice


Living Wage

This Community of Practice focuses on case studies, tools and techniques that members of collaborations use to research, analyse and affect living wages and employer human resource practices.


Municipal Government Representatives for Poverty Reduction

This Community of Practice is for municipal or regional government staff who are responsible for, or directly involved in, poverty reduction efforts in their official governmental capacity.

Provincial and Territorial Community of Practice

Provincial/Territorial Government Officials for Poverty Reduction

This Community of Practice is for government representatives of all provinces and territories who are responsible for, or directly involved in, poverty reduction efforts in their official governmental capacity.

FINAL_CRP_VC_2018_WEB_map-456419-edited.jpgVibrant Communities City Convenor

This Community of Practice is for individuals who belong to the Vibrant Communities Canada - Cities Reducing Poverty network to share ideas and information about their local poverty reduction efforts.





BC Communities Reducing Poverty

The BC CoP is a committed group of individuals with a common desire to learn from each other, to enable professional self- development, and to build capacities of their local poverty reduction initiatives. The group comes together to share information, experiences and best practices, strengthen collaboration, and better respond to poverty-related issues in their communities. 



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ABCD: Healthy Neighbourhoods, Healthy Cities

This workshop will bring together over 250 community and neighbourhood development practitioners to explore the use of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) and explore leading neighbourhood revitalizing techniques. We have brought together for the first time seven of the world’s top authors and practitioners in the field who will offer the opportunity for learners to earn a masters' certificate in either Asset-Based Community Development or Neighbourhood Revitalization.

Register Here