May/June Newsletter

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Welcome to the May/June 2009 issue of The Canadian CED Network's e-newsletter for the Ontario region, your information resource on the latest news and projects in CED in Ontario

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In this issue 

1. Ontario Regional Coordinator Presents at the Social Economy Symposium

On April 23rd, CCEDNet's Ontario Regional Coordinator, Matthew Thompson, participated in a panel titled, "Governments and Local Economic and Social Change" where he gave a presentation on the government of Manitoba's procurement policies. The panel was part of the Social Economy Symposium, which was held at the Social Economy Centre, located at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).

In his presentation, Matthew outlined several CED organizations and their work within the community, as well as various government guidelines, initiatives, and legislative mandates aimed at supporting CED through various procurement policies.

Also participating in the panel was the Ontario Minister of Government Services, Ted McMeekin. Minister McMeekin expressed his ministry's interest in developing social purchasing policies within the Ontario government that would support organizations geared towards poverty reduction. CCEDNet Ontario will continue to work with the government to help develop a social purchasing mandate.

If you have any ideas or suggestions around CED orientated procurement policies, please contact Matthew Thompson.  If you would like to view Matthew's presentation, or to read more about the Social Economy Symposium, please click here.

2. 2009 National CED Conference a Great Success

Dancing together at the opening plenary

During the first week of June, over 400 participants came together in Winnipeg for the 2009 National CED Conference, Full Circle: Sharing a Vision for the 7th Generation. The opportunity to network with other CED practitioners from around the country provided an informative and friendly exchange of information and expertise that was beneficial for all.

Ontario's participants contributed significantly by sharing their valuable knowledge in 13 of the 49 workshops that took place over the course of the 3 day conference. We hope to have slideshows and notes from the Ontario presentations online shortly so that we can share this information with all of you.

A special thanks goes out to all those who participated in one way or another. Hopefully everyone has come away with the knowledge and experiences that will help strengthen the CED movement across Canada. As in past years, you've all helped make the National CED Conference a great success!

(picture left: participants dancing to Indigenous drumming from around the world at the opening plenary)

3. Right On ONN!

On May 27th the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) held its second annual Provincial Forum and saw not only great attendance but incredible participation from the sector in discussing how we can move forward together. Prior to the official start of the conference the HR Council made a presentation to participants, and for those of you who haven't already taken a moment to review their online human resource materials check out:

On the second day we heard from a panel about the challenges facing the nonprofit sector and how we need to work together to both raise our profile (illustrating the invaluable contributions we make to our communities) and create a stronger voice (so that we can better influence policies to create the world in which we want to live). Sitting on the panel were Helen Burstyn, Chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Carol Goar, columnist for the Toronto Star, and Lynn Eakin. To see the transcripts for Helen and Carol's presentations visit:

The lasting impression from the forum, however, was that people are interested and willing to work together to learn from one another and to strengthen the sector as a whole. The Ontario Nonprofit Network will be holding regional consultations across the province to further develop its mandate and to ensure broader representation - visit their website for further updates.

4. Presentation to the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry

On May 14th, 2009, Joseph Leblanc, a PhD candidate in Forest Sciences at Lakehead University, and member of the Northern Ontario CED Network, gave a presentation to the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry which is undertaking a study of the current and future state of Canada's forest sector.

Joseph emphasized the need to revitalize the forest tenure system by allowing for greater community control and a more diversified production model. The current vulnerabilities affecting forestry communities are caused by the lack of diversity and the shrinking of the U.S. market for Canadian lumber. This has created a chain of dependence in which communities rely on the forestry industry for jobs and municipal taxes while the forestry industry, in the wake of the declining market, must look to government for support to remain viable. The key to the resilience of the forestry sector is the diversification of forest-based products rooted in community control and planning.

To achieve this, Joseph explored the role the federal government could play in changing the nature of the forestry sector, including programs that would allow for community management of local forests, and a new structure that would be founded on the health of the community, putting them in a less vulnerable position. A key component of this is research and development for the diversification of non-wood products such as bio-chemicals, forest foods, and ecological services, all of which could potentially play a major role in the future forest sector.

A full transcript of the proceedings is available by clicking here. The Northern Ontario CED Network is in the process of coordinating a videoconference session for an open discussion on the issues currently plaguing the forest sector and the community-based solutions that are needed to create sustainable industry. Contact Matthew Thompson if you are interested in participating and/or visit our website for updates on this event.

5. The Ontario Social Economy Roundtable Strategy

The Ontario Social Economy Roundtable held a strategic planning session on May 14th to help better define our purpose, our values, and our workplan. We have attained greater cohesion and clarity of vision to pursue the employment of a Project Manager, the creation of a draft social enterprise brief, the coordination of regional meetings across Ontario for input into the drafted brief and broader representation in OSER, and a presentation of the brief during the Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise. As a collective of independent and connected organizations interested in facilitating a conversation about growing Ontario's Social Economy, OSER intends to address the following areas within the Social Economy: market transformation, enabling local and regional capacity for growth, inclusivity, advocacy and policy change, economic renewal, and awareness building. We hope that you will join us in shaping a vision for the future for Ontario's Social Economy by engaging in the consultations that will be occurring throughout the fall. Please visit the Canadian CED Network's website periodically to learn more about when these events will be occurring.

6. Place Based Poverty Reduction Report Now Available Online!

The Place Based Poverty Reduction initiative (PBPR), funded by the Government of Canada's Social Development Partnerships Program, brought together four partner organizations from diverse communities to document and promote innovative CED approaches to poverty reduction. The PBPR report demonstrates methods of measuring and illustrating the quantifiable impacts that CED approaches have on reducing poverty. Qualitative statements are also highly invaluable to CED work and a selection of testimonials from the partner organizations are included in the report.

The PBPR report also identifies various challenges and barriers to poverty reduction, including personal, community-wide, and policy related barriers. The report also outlines several policy recommendations to address these barriers to poverty reduction.

Of the four partner organizations, two are located in Ontario-PARO in Thunder Bay and the Learning Enrichment Foundation in Toronto. The following are brief summaries of these two organizations' approaches to poverty reduction measurement. For the more detailed report please click here.

PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise

PARO seeks to enhance the economic independence of all women and their families in Northwestern Ontario. PARO provides services to women throughout northern communities and reserves from Kenora to Wawa, through the internet and PARO On Wheels.

PARO's programs and services enhance micro-enterprise development and employment opportunities for women by providing them with a range of assistance through their business incubator, which offers low cost office space and office equipment, and their peer-lending circles, the largest network of women-centred peer circles in Canada.

To quantify their impacts on poverty reduction, PARO, with support from the Canadian Women's Foundation and Eko Nomos, has adopted the Sustainable Livelihoods Model. Recognizing that financial assets do not represent clear indicators of quality of life or chances of success, the Sustainable Livelihoods Model identifies five asset areas that are considered to be integral components of a balanced livelihood. These assets include financial assets (e.g. revenue generation, financial planning), social assets (e.g. business networks and supports), personal assets (e.g. improved identity, self esteem and independence), human assets (e.g. work and home life balance), and physical assets (e.g. access to housing, food, transportation, etc).

PARO interviews numerous program participants on all 5 asset areas on an annual basis in an attempt to measure progress. Using participant intake statistics as the initial point of reference, PARO's research concludes that, over a 2 year period, all participants have experienced an increase in all asset areas. Not only are these results important for funding partners, but more importantly, it provides the participants with a quantifiable way to assess how their lives have changed.

The Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF)

LEF is located in the former City of York which has an immigrant community that makes up over half the local population, and has lost almost 50% of all employment over the last 5 years. LEF provides programs and services that are responsive to the communities' needs while building individual capacity and ensuring that clients become valuable contributors to the social and economic development of the community.

LEF is unique in that they offer all three components of Ontario Works (Community Placement, Skills Development, and Employment Placement) providing participants with seamless and flexible support mechanisms that are tailored to individual needs. LEF's programs and services build on assets and address deficiencies in financial, human, and social capital while remaining committed to the principles of inclusivity and sustainability.

LEF is an integrated service delivery organization, providing childcare, employment counselling, skills training, job development, business development services for employers, education loans, as well as settlement support, literacy and ESL language instruction. In measuring poverty reduction strategies, LEF has established pre-intervention baselines for income and depth of poverty based on the data from 211 clients who were social assistance recipients living on less than ½ of the Low-Income Cut Off level (LICO). Between January 2005 and December 2006, all 211 participants had moved into employment and improved their income, with 63% earning above the Low-Income Cut Off. These improvements reflect $927,000 in government savings.

Just recently, the final report of the Senate Subcommittee on Population Health cited LEF as a model of integrated action to build healthy neighbourhoods. Please click here to read the entire Senate Subcommittee report. CED and LEF are specifically mentioned on pages 35 and 36, respectively.

7. Green Thumbs in The Great White North

Graham Saunders has lived and gardened in Thunder Bay for 40 years. He understands the challenges of gardening in the Canadian climate. And now he's sharing his expertise in his new book, Gardening with Short Growing Seasons, published by The Food Security Research Network. Saunders explains the fundamentals of gardening in a restrictive climate by offering techniques for skirting limitations imposed on gardeners by the short growing season. Covering everything from soil to harvesting, as well as detailed growing information on a wide range of vegetables-from artichokes to zucchinis-, the book offers readers a nice balance between the science and folklore of gardening. Written clearly, the book is also filled with helpful diagrams, drawings, photos, and maps. And while Saunders' knowledge fills the pages of this book, there are several other contributors who share their knowledge, making this book a community venture as much as it is the work of a single author. Read a review here.

8. A CED Dating Service? Looking at the CEDTAS Initiative

Send us your profile, tell us what you are looking for, and we'll see if we can find the perfect match for you! Sound familiar?

All kidding aside, this is one way to describe the pilot project community leaders in Winnipeg launched three years ago. They had identified the same thing as the Canadian CED Network (CCEDNet) did when it surveyed community economic development (CED) organizations in 2002: many people active in CED feel that they lack many of the skills required to pull off all the projects that need doing.

This is why one of the pillars of the first National CED Policy Framework concerned building the capacity of communities. That is also why CCEDNet stipulated that a capacity building component (if only $18 million over five years) was essential to the ill-fated federal Social Economy Initiative back in 2004.

To answer this need for capacity in Winnipeg, four groups simultaneously arrived at a series of diverse but related concepts. They ranged from the provision of mentoring and side-by-side training in proposal writing, budgeting, management, project development, and governance, all the way to direct engagement of technical professionals, after the example of the Community Design Centre in Pittsburgh. The provincial government, which was interested in funding to address this community need, asked the parties to go into a room together and not come out until they had agreed on one unified concept.

Read the rest of the article here>

9. Federal Co-operative Development Initiative 

On May 21, funding for the Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI) was renewed and enhanced for the next four years. This $19.1 million investment will enable the establishment of new co-operatives and test innovative methods for using the co-operative model to meet current and future socio-economic challenges.

The Co-operatives Secretariat will partner with the Canadian Cooperative Association and the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité to implement the enhanced program. The CDI will focus on three very specific components: Advisory Services (to improve access to co-operative development information and services), Innovative Co-operative Projects (to assist in financing projects that respond to the needs of communities), and Research and Knowledge Development (to focus on new applied research and the sharing of information necessary to support further sustainable development for co-operatives).

Since it was established in 2003, CDI has supported over 1,500 co-op projects and helped to create over 200 new co-operatives. The Canadian CED Network applauds the Government of Canada for renewing this program and for recognizing the important contribution of cooperatives to the Canadian economy.
To learn more about the Co-operative Development Initiative, please visit the site.

10. Job Opportunities with the Co-operative Development Initiative

The Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI) is a partnership between the federal government and the two national co-operative organizations: the Canadian Co-operative Association and the Conseil canadien de coopération et de la mutualité, to stimulate the development of new and emerging co-operatives as well as innovative co-operative projects across Canada. CDI is currently seeking to fill several four year term positions located in Ottawa. If you would like more information on the bilingual administrative assistant position, program officer positions (2), or co-operative development officer positions (2), then please click here to view CCEDNet's National Job Listings page.

11. Assistant Professor, MBA (CED) at Cape Breton University

Cape Breton University is currently seeking qualified candidates to fill an assistant professor position at the Shannon School of Business. Offering numerous diploma and degree programs, including the Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development, CBU is looking to fill a term contract position in CED to commence August 2009 and end May 2010. For more information take a look at our National Job Listings page.

12. Would a School for Social Entrepreneurs work in Ontario?

Social Innovation Generation @ MaRS Centre (SiG@MaRS) has received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to undertake a feasibility study for a School for Social Entrepreneurs. Modelled after the successful schools in the UK this would be the first of its kind in North America. Such a school would seek to develop and support social entrepreneurs through an action-learning model. Even if a completed feasibility study by SiG@Mars finds that a School for Social Entrepreneurs is not viable, the study will help to identify alternative learning models.For more information click here.

13. Ontario Newsletter

How do you find the format of our newsletter? We have been contemplating changing the way we share information within the sector. We would love to hear your feedback around how frequently we publish our newsletter (should we be more frequent issues?), the standard length of the articles (should they be shorter or longer?), and any other comments you may have. French translation is also a huge priority for us and we are looking for ways in which we can circulate our newsletter in both official languages as efficiently as possible. Please contact Matthew Thompson if you would be interested in volunteering a small amount of your time to article translations or know of cost effective solutions that we could use. 

We would also love to hear from you if you have any information you wish to circulate throughout our CED community!

Thank you,
Matthew Thompson
Ontario Regional Coordinator


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