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Who Can I Expect to Meet?

At the Poverty Reduction Summit in 2015, Mayor Naheed Nenshi challenged Mayors across the country to come together and commit to eliminating poverty in Canada.

We are extending this call to people from the business sector, provincial and municipal governments, the voluntary sector, and people who have lived experience with poverty. Representatives and citizens from the following cities have already committed to attending the gathering. We will be adding more cities to this list over the coming months.


Featured Speakers & Panelists: Mayors, City Councillors, Ministers, Senators


Don Iveson 

Mayor, City of Edmontonedmonton_prs_icon.png

Mayor Don Iveson is one of Canada’s most exciting new Mayors and is considered nationally as a shining light for change. He was elected the 35th Mayor of Edmonton on Oct. 21, 2013. Since being elected, Mayor Iveson has set his sights on transforming Edmonton into a highly liveable, uplifting and globally competitive city that is recognized as one of Canada’s very best. In March 2014, he invited 18 community leaders to be part of a one-year Task Force to develop a plan to end poverty in Edmonton within a generation. The Mayor's Task Force to Eliminate Poverty in Edmonton has recently released a poverty elmination strategy that challenges all residents everyone to think differently about this issue and understand the role we all play in making a difference. They are bringing their fresh knowledge and experience to our network by hosting us for this event in 2016.


Naheed Nenshienough_for_all_icon.png

Mayor, City of Calgary

Naheed Nenshi was elected Mayor of Calgary in October 2010. Reducing poverty in Calgary was a major tenet of his platform, and in 2011 he launched the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative (CPRI). The Enough for All strategy that emerged out of the CPRI was based on 15,000 hours of consultation with Calgarians, the business community, government, non-profits, and academia, and several of its suggestions are in the process of being implemented throughout the city.  Prior to his election, Mayor Nenshi was Canada's first tenured professor in the field of nonprofit management at Mount Royal University's Bissett School of Business and also worked as a trusted business advisor to corporate leaders in Canada and the USA. His real passion is to make cities, especially Calgary, work better and he is grateful the he has the opportunity to do just that each and every day.


Pam McConnell

Deputy Mayor, City of TorontoTO_Stragey_highligted.png

Pam is the Deputy Mayor of Toronto, Canada’s largest city, a leading light in Canadian and City politics with the responsibility of leading Toronto's Poverty Reduction Strategy. She is a member of the Affordable Housing Committee, which directs investment to affordable housing opportunities, and Toronto & East York Community Council, which is responsible for local planning and neighbourhood issues. Pam is also an active and well-respected participant in national and international arenas. Since 1999, she has represented Toronto at the Board of Directors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), and she currently serves as the Vice-Chair of FCM's Social-Economic Development Committee. 


Brian Bowman

Mayor, City of Winnipeg

Brian Bowman, the City's first Aboriginal Mayor, was elected as the 43rd Mayor of the City of Winnipeg in a landslide victory on October 22nd, 2014. He is quickly emerging as one Canada’s most influential mayors. Brian is passionate about ensuring Winnipeg is a City that works better for every citizen. He is committed to building a stronger Winnipeg, a city that is open, transparent, that has improved infrastructure, safer communities, and a real long-term economic plan for the future. Prior to entering the race for Winnipeg's mayor, Brian Bowman was the Chair of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, and was instrumental in launching the Winnipeg BOLD Initiative. This community driven think tank brought about the creation of YES! Winnipeg.


Jonathan Coté

Mayor, City of New Westminster

First elected in 2005, Jonathan Coté served three terms on New Westminster City Council before being elected as Mayor in 2014. Jonathan sits on several Metro Vancouver Regional District Committees including the Housing Committee, the Mayors’ Committee, and the Zero Waste Committee. He is also a member of the TransLink Mayors’ Council and serves as Vice Chair of the Regional Planning Committee. Jonathan has earned a reputation as a strong leader around social issues and has been a passionate advocate for moving the cities affordable housing strategy forward. Before becoming Mayor, Jonathan worked in the insurance industry as a Senior Injury Litigation Adjuster and also completed his Master’s Degree in Urban Studies at Simon Fraser University.”


Fred Eisenberger

Mayor, City of Hamilton

Fred Eisenberger’s experience, vision and leadership led him to a successful return to office as Hamilton's Mayor in October 2014. His passion for the city and plans for growth and prosperity support the desire to take Hamilton to new levels, firmly placing it as one of the 10 largest and most important municipalities in the country. As mayor in his previous term from 2006-2010, Fred worked with Council to bring about a number of important initiatives including a complete renovation of Hamilton City Hall and the historic farmer’s market. Through his leadership, Fred was successful in encouraging his Council colleagues to pass an annual $1.5 million increase to the City’s economic development departmental budget, and has played a prominent role in the successful bid that resulted bringing the 2015 Pan Am games to Hamilton. Fred has previously served as a member of City Council, Chair of the Hamilton Port Authority and as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Urban Institute. His wife Diane, and children Brett and Alida, are proud community champions and are firmly focused on helping to improve the lives of residents throughout the city's diverse neighbourhoods. 


Mel Norton

Mayor, City of Saint JohnLivingSJ_Icon-243273-edited.jpg

Mel K. Norton was elected as mayor in May 2012, and previously served as Saint John's Ward 3 councillor. A partner at Lawson Creamer, Mel has served on a variety of community organizations, including: Citizens Advisory Committee on the Ward System; Saint John Theatre Co.; Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative; Fundy Food Festival; Canadian Bar Association Lawyers Assistance Program; Canadian Forces, Legal Officer; and St. Andrew and St. David Church Housing Project. Mel has a special interest in citizen involvement, economic growth and sustainable development. He lives on Princess Street in the City's uptown.


Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin

Mayor, City of Gatineau

Born in 1968 in Buckingham, Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin has been involved in his community for a great many years. He states as his proudest achievement the role he played in reviving the Laiterie de l'Outaouais, a project that engaged the entire community. He is the founder and head of Action Gatineau, and founding member of Project Gatineau, a think tank on municipal politics. Before choosing politics, Maxime worked for five years as an assistant to the CEO of the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de l'Outaouais. He holds a master's degree in Regional Development from the Université du Québec en Outaouais, where he focused on the relationship between the Outaouais region and the City of Ottawa, and has also made a name for himself as a regional affairs commentator. Maxime is married and has three children.


Walter Sendzik

Mayor, City of St. Catharines

In 2014, as a first time candidate for political office, Walter Sendzik was elected as Mayor of St. Catharines. Prior to this, Walter was the Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce. Under Walter’s leadership, the GNCC established itself as the largest business organization in Niagara, and the third largest in Ontario. It is also the only Chamber in Niagara to receive accreditation with distinction for operational excellence by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Walter was elected on a platform to address poverty in the community, improve local governance as well as transit and long-term budgeting, and has been working consistently on these priority areas with staff, community leaders at the city and regional levels. As Mayor, Walter is focused on bringing strategic direction and focus to the city - at Council and in the corporation. At City Hall he is focused on inspiring a culture of excellent customer service and building a compassionate city.


Art Eggleton

Senator, Parliament of Canada

First elected in 1969, Senator Eggleton served 22 years as a member of Toronto City Council and the Metropolitan Toronto Council. For 11 of those years, from 1980 to 1991, he was Mayor, the longest serving Mayor in the city’s history. In 1993, Senator Eggleton successfully ran as a candidate for the federal Liberal Party in the riding of York Centre. He was soon thereafter appointed to Cabinet where he served in a variety of roles including Minister of International Trade and Minister of National Defence. On March 24, 2005, he was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Paul Martin, where he currently serves as Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, is a member of the Standing Committee on Transport and Communication and Human Rights, and continues to be a vocal advocate for poverty reduction.


Hon. Irfan Sabir

Minister of Human Services, Government of Alberta

Minister of Human Services Irfan Sabir was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, representing the constituency of Calgary-McCall, on May 5, 2015. On May 24, 2015 he was appointed as Minister of Human Services. Prior to serving with the Legislative Assembly, he practiced in aboriginal law at a national law firm in Calgary beginning in 2012. Previous to this, he worked as a research assistant with the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary(U of C), where he earned his juris doctor in addition to a social work degree. He also worked with the Salvation Army for five years and with the Calgary Real Estate Board as a real estate agent between 2006 and 2007. Born in Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, he has called Calgary home since 2004.


Celina Symmonds

City Councillor, City of Medicine Hat

Celina Symmonds is currently serving her first term on Medicine Hat City Council and is the Co-Executive Director of the Medicine Hat & District Food Bank. In her capacity as City Councillor, Celina sits on several City of Medicine Hat Committees and Boards including the Public Services Committee which provides recommendations to City Council regarding issues such as Social Development, Senior Service, and Cultural Development. She represents Council on the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society and has worked extensively with several other social programs including the City's plan to end homelessness, where she was integrally involved as both a front-line worker as a well as consultant on the program.


Featured Speakers: Community Leaders


Elizabeth McIsaac,
Cities Reducing Poverty: When Mayors Lead, Moderator

President, Maytree

For the past year, Elizabeth has been leading Maytree in its transition to a deeper focus on poverty reduction. An accomplished leader in the not-for-profit sector, she has extensive experience in research, teaching and working in direct service provision. Most recently Elizabeth has served as Executive Lead, Mowat NFP (Not-for-Profit Policy) at the Mowat Centre and Executive Director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Prior to her role at TRIEC, Elizabeth held other senior leadership positions including Executive Director of the Association of International Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and Director of Policy at Maytree where she played an instrumental role in the development of TRIEC.


Brock Carlton,
Cities Reducing Poverty: When Mayors Lead, Moderator

CEO, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Brock Carlton is Canada’s leading voice on Cities. As Chief Executive Officer of Federation of Canadian Municipalities, he manages FCM’s global program that focuses on strengthening municipal government, local governance and enhancing policy frameworks toward local sustainability. He has a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Norman Patterson School, Carleton University. He represented Canada on the OECD Urban Municipal Development Secretariat’s Sustainable Cities Working Group in the early 1990s, and has been a faculty member of the Local Government Leadership Institute at the Banff School of Management, and the Business and Environment Program, Cambridge University, in Cambridge, England.


Dr. Cindy Blackstock

Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, Associate Professor, University of Alberta


A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Cindy has 25 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights. Cindy is co-author of the most comprehensive literature review and analysis on First Nations Child Poverty.
Her promotion of culturally based and evidence informed solutions has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders, Ashoka Canada and many others. An author of over 50 publications and a widely sought after public speaker, Cindy has collaborated with other Indigenous leaders to assist the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in the development and adoption of a General Comment on the Rights of Indigenous children. She also recently worked with Indigenous young people, UNICEF and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to produce a youth friendly version of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Celeste Licorish

Advisor, Philanthropic Services, Hamilton Community Foundation 

Celeste has broad leadership experience in the Hamilton community and is passionate about the difference that can be made through philanthropy and citizen engagement. Until recently Celeste held the role of Co-ordinator for Speakers Bureau with the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction. In addition, she has extensive community involvement including Board Member on the McMaster Research Ethics Board; Thought Leader with Vibrant Communities Canada; and founder and volunteer with a number of neighbourhood and community initiatives. Most recently Celeste joined the staff team at Hamilton Community Foundation as Advisor Philanthropic Services and has been named as one of Absolutely Fabulous Hamilton’s 40 Women over 40 for 2016. She believes in the power of community and is and inspired advocate for positive change.


Ruth Kelly

President and CEO, Venture Publishing Inc. 

Ruth Kelly is the President and CEO of Venture Publishing Inc., and the publisher and editor-in-chief of the award-winning Alberta Venture and Alberta Oil magazines. Venture Publishing’s custom publishing division also produces magazines for a variety of clients. Ruth is a member of the Alberta School of Business’s Advisory Council, the board of directors of Magazines Canada, the Alberta Promise cabinet and the Mayor’s Business Advisors Roundtable for the City of Edmonton. In 2014 and 2015, Ruth chaired the Capital Region’s United Way campaign.


Cathy Wright

Executive Director, Living SJ 

Cathy Wright is Executive Director of Living SJ, a dynamic network of leaders from business, government, non-profits and low-income neighbourhoods. The urgency to move the needle on child poverty pushed the Saint John community to adopt a collective impact approach with a focus on four game changing priorities - education, neighbourhoods, health and employment. Cathy supports the growing network as they build relationships, align actions and constantly learn and evolve to achieve the results needed to end generational poverty. As a professional and a volunteer, Cathy has contributed to changing social issues at the local, provincial and national levels.


Denise Andrea Campbell 

Director of Social Policy, Analysis and Research, City of Toronto 

Denise Andrea Campbell has been working nationally and internationally on social inclusion issues since the age of 16. Before joining the City of Toronto, she worked internationally on race and gender policies in numerous United Nations forums and more recently, the African Union. Denise joined the City of Toronto’s Social Development, Finance and Administration Division in 2004. She's worked in youth development, led the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy, and as Director of Community Resources, oversaw the city's neighbourhood revitalization, Tower Renewal, community development, and community funding portfolios. In April 2014, she became the Director of Social Policy, Analysis and Research, bringing a community development approach to complex social policy development and implementation. Her current policy agenda includes poverty reduction, human trafficking, affordable transit, undocumented Torontonians, and youth equity.


Alan Broadbent

Chairman and CEO, Avana Capital Corporation; Chairman and Founder, Maytree

Alan has been involved with social justice, anti-poverty, and urban issues in Canada for many years. He is Chairman and Founder of Maytree, and Chairman and CEO of Avana Capital Corporation. He co-founded and chairs the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement, and the Institute for Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk Centre, University of Toronto. In addition, Alan is a Director of Sustainalytics Holdings B.V., Senior Fellow and Governing Board member of Massey College, Member of the Governors’ Council of the Toronto Public Library Foundation, and Member of the Order of Canada and recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Alan is the author of Urban Nation: Why We Need to Give Power Back to the Cities to Make Canada Strong, and co-editor of Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Ryerson University in 2009, and from Queen’s University in 2015.


Andrea Cohen Barrack

CEO, Ontario Trillium Foundation

Andrea Cohen Barrack is the CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), Canada’s largest granting foundation. OTF works to build healthy and vibrant communities through investments in human and social services, arts and culture, sports and recreation, and the environment. A transformative leader, Andrea has a demonstrated history of both developing strategies which promise positive change and leading others to deliver on those promises.


Stephen Huddart

President and CEO, JW McConnell Family Foundation

Stephen is a social innovator whose passion for good, social change and a country without poverty is unsurpassed. Stephen Huddart is the President and CEO of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation one of Canada’s largest private foundations. Prior to joining the Foundation, Stephen worked with children’s singer Raffi as Executive Director of Troubadour Music Inc. and the non-profit Troubadour Institute. He also co-founded and operated the Alma Street Café, a community-oriented business that for many years was Vancouver's jazz café of record. Stephen, a graduate of McGill University and has provided leadership through Philanthropic Foundations Canada, the McGill Faculty of Religious Studies, ArtsSmarts, and the Canada Council.


Mark Holmgren

Director, Vibrant Communities Canada

Mark is the son of a theologian and a university administrator and grew up in Chicago. His life in Canada has been devoted changing community conditions and systems that deny people their human rights and perpetuate the many faces of poverty. Known for his big picture, strategic mind and his ability to put vision to work on the ground, Mark has a long history of leading and contributing to social innovations that benefit the disadvantaged and the ostracized. His journey has included holding senior positions for a variety of organizations, including Bissell Centre, and the United Way. He also had a consulting practice for nearly 20 years focused on strategy development, social housing development, and innovation building. His clients included front line service providers, municipalities, educational institutions, health organizations, faith communities, and arts and culture groups. 


Paul Born

President, Tamarack Institute

Paul Born grew up in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia as the son of Mennonite refugees. This in part is what made him deeply curious about and engaged in ideas that cause people to work together for the common good, work that he describes as collective altruism. Paul is the President and cofounder of Tamarack Institute which, since 2001, has provided leadership in Canada on issues of citizen engagement, collaborative leadership and community innovation. Tamarack also sponsors Vibrant Communities Canada , active in cities across the country and that has so far reduced the impact of poverty for more than 200,000 people.
An Author of four books, Paul is a motivational speaker who loves the power of stories.


Cities Attending:

End Poverty Edmonton
Edmonton, AB

Vibrant Communities Calgary
Calgary, AB

Strathcona County Family & Community Services
Strathcona County, AB

Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance
Central Alberta and Red Deer, AB

From Charity to Investment
Medicine Hat, AB

Community Action to End Poverty in Grande Prairie
Grande Prairie, AB

Fort McMurray Poverty Reduction Initiative
Fort McMurray, AB

Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction
Hamilton, ON

Kingston Poverty Reduction Initiative
Kingston, ON

London Child & Youth Network
London, ON

Niagara Region Community Services
Niagara Region, ON

Pathway to Potential
Windsor-Essex, ON

Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy
Region of Peel, ON 

Prosperity Roundtable
Chatham-Kent, ON

Prosperity T.O.
Toronto, ON

Regional Municipality of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON

Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries
Cambridge, ON

St. Thomas- Elgin Poverty Reduction Committee
St. Thomas-Elgin, ON

Vibrant Communities Charlotte County
Charlotte County, NB

Living SJ
Saint John, NB

Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership
Saskatoon, SK

United Way Cape Breton
Cape Breton, NS

Winnpeg Poverty Reduction Council
Winnipeg, MB

City of Fort Saskatchewan, SK
City of Regina, SK
City of Camrose, AB
Town of Canmore, AB
City of Cold Lake, AB
City fo Medicine Hat, AB
City of Leduc, AB
City of St. Albert, AB
City of Wetaskiwin, AB
City of Kelowna, BC
City of New Westminster, BC
City of Kamloops, BC
City of Surrey, BC
City of Victoria, BC
Ville de Gatineau, QB
City of Montreal, QB
City of Brantford, ON
City of St. Catharines, ON

And many more... we'll update this list as more cities attend!