EconoUs2017 Workshops

25+ Total Workshops to be featured at EconoUs2017

Sessions marked with ** are bilingual



Across Canada, community groups, social service providers, and governments are exploring Community Hubs as platforms for social inclusion, poverty reduction, and community economic development. This workshop will deep dive into two innovative Community Hubs partnership models in Edmonton and Calgary and explore how Hubs create welcoming spaces for residents to connect, spark community economic development, enhance access to needed supports and services, and build the capacity of local leaders.

Workshop Leads

  • Andrea Wall (United Way Calgary)
  • Corinne Sasd (C5)
  • Mohamed Elsaghir (C5)
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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bridging the Gap

Thriving economies start with thriving people. With the potential for great prosperity on the horizon, it is more critical than ever to accelerate leadership and management capacity in Indigenous communities and organizations. But who are the ‘leaders’ to be developed and what skills are needed? How is meaningful human capacity development being funded and where are the gaps? Urban Matters is facilitating a number of workshops designed to answer these questions. The findings from this discovery process will be summarized and provided to public and private funding agencies with the goal of channeling more resources into this important area.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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, Next Up and the Banff Centre’s Alt/Now Economic Inequality program. Workshop Leads:

  • James Stauch (Institute for Community Prosperity)
  • Abbas Mancey (Community Development Learning Initiative, CDLI)
  • Blythe Butler (Consultant, Change Management, Collective Impact, Organizational Development, Strategy & Evaluation)
  • Mike Byerley (Program Coordinator, Next Up Calgary)
  • Laurie Edward
  • Jessie Radies
Roundtable on Social Innovation and Social Finance**

The Government of Canada is preparing a Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy to unlock innovative approaches that support communities in addressing their most difficult problems. The Strategy seeks to improve the well-being of Canadians, especially those most vulnerable, to contribute to and share in the prosperity of their community and society. In June, a Co-Creation Steering Group was announced to develop the Strategy. This session is an opportunity for grassroots community leaders and active citizens to engage with members of the steering group and provide input on key social innovation, social finance and social enterprise policy challenges and opportunities that the Strategy should address.

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Building Bridges in Canada: The Worker-Social Co-operative Movement and the Social Enterprise Movement**

The worker-social co-operative movement and the social enterprise movement in Canada, especially but not only outside of Quebec, currently operate in silos, truly as two solitudes.  The two movements have far more in common than many realize, and mutual misunderstanding abounds. In some settings, there are organizations which bridge this divide, such as the US Solidarity Economy Network and the Chantier de l’économie sociale in Québec.  Internationally, the “Social and Solidarity Economy” is growing in use as a term describing a combined approach encompassing both.  This session will open a dialogue and define some practical parts of our paths that co-operators and social enterprise proponents can walk together – for mutual support and gathering strength.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)
  • Anne-Marie Saulnier (ECPAR)
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.

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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.

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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.

Workshop lead: Martha McClary

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:

The Living Wage as a CED Strategy

Seventy percent of Canadians living in poverty are considered working poor — people who are working, but not earning enough to get by.  A Living Wage allows a household to meet its basic needs, based on the actual costs of living in a specific community.  It makes work pay by getting families out of severe financial stress, lifting them out of poverty and providing a basic level of economic security, benefiting not only employees, but also employers and the community.  Come learn about the growing movement for a Living Wage across Canada, the methodology for how it is calculated, why employers are joining the campaign, how it builds resilient local communities, and how to launch a local campaign. Workshop Leads:

For descriptions of the conference themes please visit
Rural scape