EconoUs2017 Workshops

*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

  • Laurie Cook (United Way Halifax)
25 Years of CED in Québec

The CDÉC (Community Economic Development Corporation) de Québec was founded in 1993. The idea of CED started around 1991-1992 and a CED approach has continuously been implemented in the inner city area of Quebec City. This workshop will focus on the various stages, the challenges and the successes of CED in Quebec City. During these 25 years, there have been financial partnerships with the federal and provincial government through the City of Quebec for a number of years. Since 2015, following the shutdown of local development centres (Centres Locaux de Développement – CLD), the CDÉC de Québec was given the mandate of social economy by the City.

Workshop Leads

  • Yvon Poirier (CDÉC de Québec)
Through an Anti-racism Lens

‘Through an Anti-racism Lens’ explores how we can develop and apply an anti-racism lens to our work in organizations and communities. Unlike diversity training which focus mostly on personal and individual-level change, an anti-racism approach focuses on how we can challenge and change institutions for racial equity and success of People of Colour and Indigenous in communities. Participants in this workshop will:

  • build an understanding of key terms: race, systemic and institutional racism, anti-racism
  • develop confidence in talking about race and racial equity in community and workplaces
  • gain tools for challenging racial bias and inequities

Workshop Leads

  • Kailtin Lauridsen (Centre for Race and Culture)
  • Sahar Ibrahim (Centre for Race and Culture)
Place Based Community Economic Development: A Partnership Approach

Community social workers and Thrive work in partnership to put the “e” in CED. This workshop will demonstrate the continuum of community development to community economic development through local Calgary examples. Workshop participants will learn how this collaborative partnership works to achieve a greater impact in place based CED, from community development to formal programs and services and policy change.

Workshop Leads:

  • Megan Solamillo (City of Calgary)
  • Courtney Robertson (City of Calgary)
  • Erin Melnychuk (Momentum)
  • Philip Lozano (Momentum)
Owning the Future! Transform the Energy System through Community Power

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)


WorkLinks: The Strength of Innovation and Community

‘WorkLinks: The Strength of Innovation and Community’ will present the Learning Exchange’s evolution of client informed programming that led to the development of WorkLinks: a program rooted in sustainably connecting low income community residents to Good Jobs. WorkLinks includes soft skills training, individualized coaching, connecting with employers, employment maintenance, and training and employment through our 3 Social Enterprises. We animate how we came to do business differently through aligning programs with our community’s collaborative poverty reduction strategy, on-boarding key stakeholders, and creating our own SEs; the innovation, success and failure that informed this effective client-centred programming, and how we continue to work.

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 role of micro enterprise in addressing barriers to employment, its connection to the gig and share economy, the prospects of ensuring a living wage, its ability to support poverty reduction, and its relationship to other aspects of employment. The workshop, facilitated by the co-founders of MatchWork and our community partners, will present relevant research and our recent participant data, including micro enterprise types, demographics, and success and barriers. MatchWork is a software-as-a-Service (SaaS) 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

The workshop will explore the use of microlending as a community economic development tool in the Canadian context. The historical, current and emerging future role of microlending will be examined with a particular focus on Micro Loan social and economic impact. Momentum will present and facilitate dialogue on its use of Micro Loans for small business development, increasing access to good jobs, and supporting people to achieve greater financial stability. Other microlending leaders in Canada will address their experiences with Micro Loan programs – additional potential workshop participants include SEED Winnipeg, the Immigrant Access Fund, RISE Asset Development and the St. John Community Loan Fund.

Workshop Leads

  • Jeff Loomis (Momentum)

Working Women: A Dismantling of the Family or the Building of a Stronger Community?

Working Women: A dismantling of the family or the building of a stronger community? is a workshop designed to explore the challenges women face in their dual roles as an employee and mother. Economic opportunities, while open to women, are often not accessible to mothers. Childcare availability, affordability and accessibility limit women’s options for careers when outside of the 9-5. ‘All About Kindness’, a social enterprise with a unique model for economic opportunities and childcare outside of the 9-5, is the model for session and will explore our innovative solutions to ensuring that women’s fight for equality takes on an intersectional approach to ensuring all women benefit.

Workshop Leads:

  • Liora Sobel (All About Kindness)
  • Maritza Sanchez (Jessie’s – The June Callwood Centre for Young Women)


Local Investing

Learn about the types of CED investment funds across Canada, how they came to be, and what impact they are having on local economies and communities. Learn about why you should get involved and how you can. For investors, non-profits, business, and government. Exemplary investing models from across Canada will be presented. Trail blazing local investing opportunities in Alberta will be presented.

Workshop Leads:

  • Courtney Hare (Momentum) Host
  • Gail Henderson (Queens University Faculty of Law)
  • Chris Payne (Consultant on CEDIFs)
  • Dianne Kelderman (CEO of Atlantic Economics)
  • Wendy Keats (Co-operative Enterprise Council of NB)
  • Seth Leon (Alberta Community Co-operative Association)
Stronger Together: How Local Business Networks Create Shared Prosperity

Stephanie Jackman will outline REAP’s approach to gathering local businesses based on shared values of respect for people and planet, and delivering programming that creates prosperity for those businesses and the communities they serve. Then social entrepreneurs Chad Zelensky and Louisa Ferrel will present their experiences in collaborating within REAP’s network on the creation of a lip balm where 85% of ingredients are sourced locally and proceeds support bumble bee conservation, and the creation of a bottled beverage product that contributes to growing Community Orchards for the hungry. Learn how individual businesses, communities and the planet all benefit.

Workshop Leads

  • Stephanie Jackman (REAP Business Association)
  • Chad Zelensky (Lowen’s Skincare)
  • Louisa Ferrel (True Buch Kombucha)
Strategies for Scaling – Exploring the Potential of Social Franchising in Canada

This session will explore social franchising – an innovative approach to generating scalable social, environmental, and economic impact. The session will be facilitated by Eco-Ethonomics Inc, a top Canadian social innovation consulting firm, and the United Church of Canada, a leader in faith-based social innovation and social enterprise. The action-oriented session will begin with an overview of social franchising – its different types, its potential for impact, and its potential limitations – and will follow with dynamic small group discussions amongst participants, exploring the relevance of social franchising within their local communities.

Workshop Leads:

  • Bronwyn Oatley (Eco-Ethonomics)
  • Ryan Turnbull (Eco-Ethonomics)
  • Carla Leon (United Church of Canada)

For descriptions of the conference themes please visit

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