Citizens & Emergency Preparedness
Community of Practice

Next Meeting

Date: October 29 @ 1pm ET

Topic: Rethinking Resilience: A Community-Centred Approach


Imara Rolston, Confronting Anti-Black Racism unit, City of Toronto

Blake Poland, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, UofT

Anne Gloger, Centre for Connected Communities

Ismail Afrah, Local Champions Network & Regent Park Neighbourhood Association


Brief description of presentation:

Resilience to extreme weather, climate change, and other foreseen and unforeseen shocks is an integral component of healthy cities and communities, and one that is being increasingly addressed by public health, emergency preparedness and other city departments, as well as NGOs and civil society groups. While the need to connect the resilience-building initiatives emerging from civil society actors and formal government agencies and departments has been increasingly acknowledged, our understanding of how best to do this is still in its infancy. Building on prior work together a cross sector team started to explore a new community- centred approach to resilience in 2019, a “Connected Communities Approach” (CCA).


With CIHR funding, the team undertook a literature review of community resilience. This work was well underway when COVID hit and laid bare the very inequities identified in both the City of Toronto’s Resilience Strategy and our literature review: Healthy & Resilient Cities: A Connected Community Approach.


The presenters will outline the genesis of their work together, the crux of the issue around how citizens and formal institutions work together to build community-centred resilience, the essence of the Connected Community Approach and what it can contribute, and the experience of doing this work on the ground from the perspective of a Local Champion.




This CoP is made up of a group of peers committed to sharing and learning from one another to accelerate their collective understanding of the role of citizens and communities in preparing for emergencies; to enhance their practice; and, to share their knowledge and insights across the field.

We will share our own experiences and draw upon the knowledge and expertise of a variety of thought-leaders in this field to enable us to deepen our understanding of this issue.  We will also identify and post useful resources and stories to illustrate promising practices.  Specifically, the members of this CoP will:

  • Explore issues related to engaging/informing citizens about the purpose and value of preparing for emergencies
  • Highlight promising practices from CoP members and subject-matter experts from other jurisdictions via guest presentations
  • Enable participants to explore this issue of growing community concern in a proactive and holistic way
  • Ultimately invite members to work together to develop a set of recommendations for key stakeholders on how to maximize citizen Emergency Preparedness

Benefits of Membership

By joining this unique CoP you will share your experiences and knowledge in free-flowing and creative ways with interested leaders from a diversity of sectors who share your interest in this topic. 

The conversations facilitated through this CoP with your peers, from across Canada and around the world, will enable you to uncover and learn about innovative approaches to this issue, share helpful resources, access new ideas and contribute to the transfer of best practices.

Our Commitment

  • Provide the technology to support this Community of Practice for individuals whose work involves emergency preparedness and/or holds an interest in engaging citizens to effectively respond in times of emergencies
  • Identify and connect those interested in this topic with peers from across the country and around the world and engage subject-matter experts to identify promising practices and useful resources
  • Identify potential areas for research and development
  • Facilitate mentorship amongst CoP members to build individual capability and offer a communication channel for peers to connect and provide one another with mutual support
  • Invite members to co-develop a set of recommendations for key stakeholders on how to maximize citizen Emergency Preparedness to share with the field.

Our Members

The Citizens & Emergency Preparedness Community of Practice is a diverse group of participants who are from many different places and work within many different settings but share a common interest in this topic.  Here are some of the groups that we hope will take part:

  • Municipal staff whose portfolio includes Emergency Preparedness and/or Community Resiliency
  • Interested non-profit leaders
  • Citizen Leaders
  • Neighbourhood Association Members
  • Insurance Industry representatives
  • Foundations and funders



Have a question?

Reach out to Christine Hadekel

Join our CoP