Vibrant Communities Working to Involve Cities in “Opportunity for All”

Posted on January 16, 2019
By Justin Williams

CityscapeThe Tamarack Institute’s Vibrant Communities (VC) is excited to be working to identify and illuminate ways that community-based organizations and cities can be active participants in “Opportunity for All - Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy.”

During the development of the strategy, the Cities Reducing Poverty network worked with Employment and Social Development Canada to support data collection and consultations. For example, Vibrant Communities and the Cities Reducing Poverty network partnered with Employment and Social Development Canada to host 33 community conversations from coast to coast. Cities Reducing Poverty members and the Tamarack Institute also submitted written submissions during the consultation period. We were excited to see the results of these consultations and their lessons in both the Federal What We Heard report and the strategy itself. In addition to welcoming “Opportunity for All,” the Tamarack Institute formed a four-year partnership agreement with Employment and Social Development Canada to support community-based collective impact projects in Canada. One component our partnership agreement included was support for developing tools to help cities be actively involved in the national federal poverty reduction strategy. We will be supporting cities by hosting a conference and developing a guide. Vibrant Communities’ Cities Reducing Poverty will host a conference in 2020 focused on ways that cities are involved in the national poverty reduction strategy. Our guide will be produced this year in consultation with key stakeholders and municipal leaders. This guide will follow Tamarack’s trusted “TEN” guide formula and highlight ways that cities are already being successful, good ideas for moving forward with the strategy, and key resources for cities.

As part of our work on the TEN Guide for cities implementing the federal poverty reduction strategy, we recently produced an article that looked at the federal strategy, the importance of cities in poverty reduction, key ways that place-based strategies were already engaging with federal poverty reduction tools and some possible ways that this work could be strengthened. Some of the powerful ways that cities were already using Federal programs include Vibrant Calgary’s tax clinics supporting modest income individuals to receive $3,721,649 in refunds and benefits; Smart Start Halton increasing the uptake of the Canadian Learning Bond so that $8,744,000 was made available for lower-income families to support post-secondary education; and End Poverty Edmonton supporting a low income transit pass that was providing accessible transit in Edmonton.

Over the coming months, Vibrant Communities will be working with key stakeholders and members to identify ways that cities can make use of new resources that emerge as part of “Opportunity of All.” However, some of the initial thoughts that have emerged include the improved availability of data and metrics for poverty reduction such as the market basket measure and developing dashboard, new resources to support community-based tax clinics, new research to support housing strategies, and the new Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy. The above, of course, is just the start of a welcome conversation on how cities, as key leaders in poverty reduction, can integrate the federal strategy into their work to move both forward. This is a project that we look forward to advancing in the coming months and year.

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Cities Reducing Poverty, Poverty Reduction Strategy, Justin Williams

Justin Williams

By Justin Williams

Justin is the Managing Assistant with Tamarack’s Vibrant Communities team. Before joining Tamarack, he worked in higher-education and student advocacy managing research and political affairs teams. Justin is passionate about the role of governance processes in promoting community, sustainability and poverty reduction.

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