EconoUs2017 Workshops

25+ Total Workshops to be featured at EconoUs2017

*Please note that additional workshops are being added daily and that this list of workshops and their descriptions are subject to change. Please check back regularly.


Neighbourhood Hubs as a Tool for CED

Across the country, United Ways in Halifax, Toronto and Calgary are all looking at neighbourhood hubs as tools for poverty reduction and community economic development. The province of Ontario also has a whole secretariat looking at how to make better use of hubs, and increase their number. This potential game changer is not a simple tool to design, use or evaluate. This workshop will look at some recent research out of Halifax and other communities where hubs are playing a key role in helping people to connect, enhance services they need and build resident leadership to create the kind of communities they really want at a local level.

Workshop Leads

Three Cities,Three Approaches to CED - Lessons to Share

A successful CED strategy means that a community or city reflects their respective assets and opportunities. This session will compare three active models of municipal supports for CED, and reflect on how to build lessons and strategies from each for your community and other cities to consider. Learn about the Québec City Community Economic Development Corporation’s 25 years of community building, Phase 2 of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side CED Strategy and the exciting creation of the Edmonton Community Development Corporation announced in 2016.

Workshop Leads:

  • Yvon Poirier (CDÉC de Québec)
  • Wes Regan (City of Vancouver)
  • Martin Garber Conrad (Edmonton Community Foundation)

Moderated by:

  • David Lepage (Accelerating Social Impact CCC)

An anti-racism approach to organizational change

Addressing systemic racism is critical for any organization or group that seeks to create inclusive, equitable, and thriving communities. Unlike diversity training an anti-racism approach focuses on how we can challenge and change institutions for racial equity and actively support the success of racialized and indigenous people in our communities. This session will help participants understand key terms and speak confidently about racism and racial equity within an organizational change context. Strategies will be shared in support of equitable group practices, community accountability, and leadership roles.

Workshop Leads:

  • Sahar Ibrahim (Centre for Race and Culture)
  • Kaitlin Lauridsen (Centre for Race and Culture)
  • Thulasy Lettner (CommunityWise)
  • Khalil Alomar (VOICES: a Coalition of Queer and Straight People of Color)
Place Based Community Economic Development: A Partnership Approach

Place based poverty reduction tools focus on increasing self-sufficiency, financial inclusion, employability and building the economic capacity of neighborhoods. This session explores an innovative multi-agency partnership on the continuum of community development to community economic development. City of Calgary Community Social Workers (CSW) and Thrive Community Economic Development practitioners will co-deliver a case study demonstrating their collaborative efforts toward achieving greater economic participation and social inclusion using formal programs, services and policy changes. The results? A place-based community economic development ecosystem.

Workshop Leads:

  • Megan Solamillo (City of Calgary)
  • Courtney Robertson (City of Calgary)
  • Erin Melnychuk (Momentum)
  • Philip Lozano (Momentum)
Co-operative Ways of Making Renewables Accessible and Do-able

The advancement of renewable energy in Canada requires action at the community level. This workshop discusses strategies for mobilizing local resources and fostering local ownership of renewable energy infrastructure, and how local efforts can connect to broader movement building. It features examples from local investing, the Alberta Solar Co-operative, and the Federation of Community Power Cooperatives (to be confirmed). It shows how communities can start and develop their own projects, and how a federated model works to amplify the message, reduce costs and to coordinate efforts. Drawing from this the workshop builds skills and has a strong call to action for groups and individual to get involved!

Workshop Leads:

  • Seth Leon (Alberta Community and Co-operative Association)
  • Colin Rioux (Alberta Solar Co-operative)
  • Warren Sauer (SPICE)
  • Reva George (REVAMP Marketing)
  • Raquel Feroe (SPICE)
The Sustainable Development Goals: Harnessing a Global Agenda for Change

Adopted in 2015, the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. As a signatory, Canada will be required to take action and report on progress, but success will require engagement by all levels of government, business and civil society. This session will look how the SDGs can be harnessed to build thriving communities, from the United Nations Task Force on the Social Solidarity Economy to Calgary’s #YYCSDG Engineering Change Lab — at home and around the world.

Workshop Leads:

  • Yvon Poirier (CDÉC de Québec)
  • Aatif Baskanderi (Innovate Calgary)
Alberta EcDev and Trade: Resources for Corporations and Communities

In support of building a more diversified and resilient economy, the Alberta Jobs plan is policy in action. This session provides an overview of Alberta’s new community economic development stimulus programs and shares resulting success stories and scenarios helping to make the economy more resilient. The interactive discussion will include: the Alberta Investor Tax Credit (AITC), a 30 percent credit to investors providing capital to Alberta small businesses; the Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) grants, which encourage communities, municipalities and organizations to undertake joint economic development projects; and the Capital Investment Tax Credit (CITC), animating timely capital investments.

Workshop Lead:

  • Stacey Gellatly (Alberta Economic Development and Trade)
Saving Main Street

Main streets across the country are experiencing increased vacancy due to skyrocketing commercial rents. This session will outline the importance of maintaining affordable spaces for independent businesses, addressing the factors that cause vacancies, and understanding stakeholder groups that play a role in saving Main street commercial strips. Case studies from Toronto’s Yonge Street and Vancouver’s Downtown demonstratethe differing roles of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) in economic development and revitalization. The role of cities will also be discussed through emerging municipal strategies out of San Francisco, and new research from the City of Vancouver.

Workshop Lead:

  • Amy Robinson (Loco BC)


WorkLinks: The Strength of Innovation and Community

Reducing, preventing and alleviating poverty requires a focus on inclusion and removal of barriers to employment. This session explores the Saint John Learning Exchange’s approach to client-informed programming that tailors soft skills training, individualized coaching, connecting with employers, employment maintenance, training and employment through three social enterprises, all aligned with the community’s collaborative poverty reduction strategy. WorkLinks’ story of innovation, failure, learning and success to sustainably connect low-income residents to good jobs offers valuable insights for employment programs anywhere.

Workshop Leads

  • Christina Fowler (The Saint John Learning Exchange)
  • Dayna Lutes (The Saint John Learning Exchange)
Microenterprise in the Age of the Gig Economy

Join a thought provoking discussion exploring the prospects and challenges of a micro enterprise approach to addressing barriers to employment, ensuring a living wage, supporting poverty reduction, and relating to the gig and ‘sharing’ economy. Facilitated by the co-founders of MatchWork and community partners, this workshop will present relevant research and recent participant data, including micro enterprise types, demographics, successes and barriers. MatchWork is a software product that supports and guides previously marginalized individuals in translating their unique skills into marketable products and services.

Workshop Leads

  • Brooks Hanewich (MatchWork)
  • Karen McDonald (MatchWork)
  • Kenya Kondo (MatchWork)
Microlending as a CED Tool

Earning a low income or having poor credit is a barrier to accessing traditional financing. This session explores micro loans for small business development, increasing access to good jobs, and supporting community members in achieving greater financial stability. The historical, current and emerging future role of microlending in Canada will be discussed with a particular focus on social and economic impacts of micro loans. Co-delivered by SEED Winnipeg Momentum, and Réseau québécois du crédit communautaire.

Workshop Leads

  • Jeff Loomis (Momentum)

  • Roselyne Mavungu (Réseau québécois du crédit communautaire)
  • TBD (SEED Winnipeg)
Working Women: Building Community By Supporting Successful Careers and Families

Economic empowerment and primary caregiving don’t always go hand in hand. Opportunities that exist for women, are often not accessible to mothers due to childcare availability, affordability and accessibility. This session explores the challenges women face in their dual roles as income earners and mothers and options that exist beyond the limits of 9-5 workdays. Social enterprise, ‘All About Kindness,’ is featured as a unique model with innovative solutions ensuring that women’s fight for equality takes an intersectional approach.

Workshop Leads:

Discover Hidden Talent : Innovative approaches for employers to tap into the untapped labour market

Stigma and discrimination can be barriers to employment for those living with a mental illness. Yet research indicates this population are, on average, more productive, loyal, and engaged team members. This session will explore how qualified candidates who are also living with a mental illness can help to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Sharing proven and successful strategies, the material will be co-delivered by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Prospect Human Services Society.

Workshop Leads:

  • Nitika Rewari
  • Melanie Mitra
Broadband in rural communities

The rural/urban digital divide is widening in a way that threatens the quality of life, competitiveness and very sustainability of rural communities. Broadband connectivity throughout rural areas has become fundamental to attracting and retaining community members, businesses and agricultural producers. This session will help you understand how to build support for creating a broadband strategy in your community – then put the wheels in motion through the art of community building, technology and funding. Participants will learn what building a physical network looks like; tools for creating a “culture of use” to engage all community members; and celebrating ways broadband is bringing life, learning and prosperity to rural communities.

Workshop Leads:

  • Bob Miller (Calgary Region Economic Development)
  • Barb Scully
Leadership for the New Economy

While “leadership development” has an extensive history with regards to business or government, the last decade has witnessed a massive increase in the number of programs focused on strengthening civil society and the social economy. What depth of personal transformation is required to change the status quo toward economically equitable, culturally-flourishing and planet-sustaining outcomes? This session provides a discovery of the new ways of teaching and applying leadership while attempting to address complex local, national or global challenges. A roundtable discussion about the growing array of common good-oriented leadership development programs underway in Canada features participants or program staff from the Community Development Leadership Institute, BALLE Local Economy Fellows, Human Venture Leadership, and the Banff Centre’s Alt/Now Economic Inequality program.

Workshop Leads:

  • James Stauch (Institute for Community Prosperity)
Co-operative Ways of Making Renewables Accessible and Do-able

The ACCA (Alberta Community Cooperative Association) Alberta Solar Coop (ASC), and SPICE (Solar Power Investment Cooperative of Edmonton) join to ask “what is needed to facilitate uptake of collective ownership of distributed generation of solar energy”? Cooperatives offer Tax Free and RRSP eligible Investments unleashing local capital to help communities take ownership of distributed, renewable, energy systems. If you agree transitioning our investments, redesigning our grid, and pushing renewables seems a noble goal please join this workshop to help us get it right. In this 75 minute workshop you will briefly hear our stories of successes, learn about the policy environment in which Alberta’s cooperatives are currently operating, and then learn about the top barriers we commonly face. We will then spend half of the workshop facilitating participants in using their new tools to crowd-source solutions, innovations, and create value to help solve the increasingly complex problem of renewable energy accessibility.

Workshop Leads:

  • Seth Leon (ACCA)
  • Colin Rioux (Alberta Solar Co-op)
  • Warren Sarauer (SPICE)
  • Reva George (REVAMP Marketing)
  • Raquel Feroe (SPICE)


Local Investing

Regulatory changes are enabling local investing to keep dollars at home. This session offers an opportunity to learn about the types of Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIFs) across Canada and the roles and opportunities for entrepreneurs, policy makers, community organizers, and investors. Participants will come away knowing of, and how to advocate for and activate, local investing opportunities in their communities.

Workshop Leads:

  • Courtney Hare (Momentum) Host
  • Jane Bisbee (Social Enterprise Fund)
  • Rupert Downing (Vancouver Island Community Investment Cooperative)
  • Peter Driftmier (The Grain Exchange)
  • Gail Henderson (Queen’s University Faculty of Law)
  • Seth Leon (Alberta Community and Co-operative Association)
Stronger Together: How Local Business Networks Create Shared Prosperity

Like communities, networks and business alliances can have much more impact by collaborating and supporting each other. This session focuses on the power of social networks and the opportunity for an intermediary to deliver programming that gathers and empowers triple bottom line businesses. Featuring Calgary success story REAP Business Association and its affiliated local and socially-conscious member businesses that created products and services for the common good and all through the power of a network.

Workshop Leads

Strategies for Scaling – Exploring the Potential of Social Franchising in Canada

Some social enterprises face internal tensions that create complex barriers to growing and expanding their impact. However, there are innovative approaches to generating scalable social, environmental, and economic outcomes. In this session, presenters from Eco-Ethonomics and the United Church of Canada will introduce recent work on social franchising – its different types, potential for impact, and limitations — and engage participants in discussions exploring the relevance, challenges and opportunities for social franchising in your community.

Workshop Leads:

Social Purchasing: a market-based tool for building healthy communities

Social purchasing creates a community value from existing purchasing. Social enterprises, as suppliers in social purchasing supply chains experience enhanced business success and increased opportunities to achieve their social impacts. Government, anchor institutions and non-profits generate a social value from their existing purchases. This session explores the principles, policy and practices of social purchasing using case studies and stories to demonstrate the benefits for social enterprises and purchasers.

Workshop Lead:

  • David Lepage (Buy Social Canada)
  • Nitika Rewari (Workplace Mental Health, Mental Health Commission of Canada)
Social Impact Measurement

Social impact measurement is essential to demonstrate that your activities are achieving your objectives, and to help you continuously improve. But many community organizations and social enterprises feel stretched too thin to even think about it, or know where to start with the wide range of tools and resources that exist. This session will present an overview of approaches and learning from international experience, and introduce practical steps to build impact measurement capacity within your organization.

Workshop Leads:

  • Jonathan Coburn (Social Value Lab)

  • Seema Jindal (Earth Educators)

  • Mark Van Engelen (Earth Educators)
The Changing Nature of Agriculture

What does it mean to transition the business of Agriculture and the consumption of food products to the millennial generation? This session will dive into the changing world of Canadian Agriculture and address challenges such as go big or go home, specialization, succession planning and regulatory changes. An interactive discussion will guide the audience to question the changing nature of Agriculture from both the consumer and the farming perspective.

Workshop Leads:

  • Anna De Pauli (De Paoli & Associates Inc.)
Making Money Make a Difference

Predatory and unjust lending practices can lead to a vicious cycle of debt for people living on a low income. In 2016, the Alberta government introduced An Act to End Predatory Lending to foster a more fair and accessible short term loan environment in the province. This session explores the collaborative systemic change process that led to the launch of the province’s first fair and responsible small-loan alternative – the Cash Crunch microloan. Participants will come away with a heighted understanding of financial inclusion and better understand how reasonable rates, longer payback terms and financial literacy supports protect the working poor.

Meeting People Where They Are – Paradigm Shifting Community Impact

Place-based and neighborhood imagined services are bringing new levels of accessibility and education to community members who want to chart the course toward financial independence. This session highlights privilege intersecting with poverty and a game-changing endeavor that brought banking to the previously unbanked. Participants will gain insight into paradigm-shifting financial services offerings, cutting-edge technical solutions and the impact financial institutions can have on poverty reduction.  ATB Financial  and Boyle Street Community Services created Four Directions Financial which is the first service provider of its kind in Alberta to deliver traditional banking tools to homeless and at-risk community members.

Workshop Leads:

  • Sandra Huculak (ATB)
  • Jordan Reiniger (Boyle Street Community Services)

For descriptions of the conference themes please visit

Rural scape