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.



Become a Member

Featured Resources

Getting Started

CRP Directory 2016

Cities Reducing Poverty Membership Directory 2017

The Cities Reducing Poverty Membership Directory 2017 tells a brief story about each of our more than 50 Cities Reducing Poverty members – a learning community and network of local cities, towns, and regions devoted to reducing or ending poverty in their local communities. The directory showcases a short profile for each member, support readers to connect with groups working on similar priority areas, and shares members’ plans, reports, and infographics that can inform others’ efforts in poverty reduction strategy development and reporting.

Game Changer image

Sometimes 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.


THRIVE: Medicine Hat and Region Strategy to End Poverty and Increase Wellbeing

Medicine Hat, the city credited as being the first to end homelessness, is taking on poverty in all its forms, with a goal of ensuring wellbeing for all citizens by 2030. The THRIVE Strategy to end poverty was a collaboration between the group leading the charge, The Poverty Reduction Leadership Group, and a substantial number of ‘Hatters’ from all walks of life. Rather than alleviating the symptoms of poverty, THRIVE calls for system changes that can prevent and ultimately end poverty by addressing its root causes.

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 measureable 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.

FNMI Worldview

Poverty Reduction From a FNMI Worldview

This Community of Practice is for individuals who are or are working with large populations of indigenous people on poverty reduction, and are interested in sharing best practice information on programming or engagement strategies for Indigenous populations



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. 


Erasing poverty

Lived/Living Experience

This CoP is designed to engage individuals who are currently living in poverty or who have lived experience of it, and who want to connect with like-minded others in a supportive, online learning community. Meetings will be focused on the sharing of experiences and advancing the value of lived experience in poverty reduction.


Human Rights

Advancing a Culture of Human Rights for Poverty Solutions

This CoP, co-hosted by Vibrant Communities Canada and Maytree, is designed to engage individuals with lived experience and working professionals in the nonprofit, public, private and aligning sectors who are already applying or want to apply a rights-based approach in their poverty reduction work. Meetings will be focused on the sharing of best practice, lessons learned and advancing a narrative and culture of human rights in Canada.


Join the Cities Reducing Poverty Learning Community

Gain access to the latest thinking around poverty reduction in Canada and contribute your own expertise to this ever-growing learning community. 

Join our Learning Community