Learning Agenda

The End of Poverty gathering will bring together government, business, community and lived/living experience leaders from across Canada to celebrate our successes and co-generate solutions. The event will facilitate learning and dialogue across sectors, harness the distinctive synergies of today's poverty reduction movement, and take our collective understanding of community innovation in poverty reduction to the next level. 

The event will take place over two days, convening at 11:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, May 5th, and closing at 5:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 6th. Join us to hear from inspiring speakers and panelists and to participate in a range of interactive workshops designed to help you advance the End of Poverty narrative in your own community.

Participants will also be invited to register for daily pre-and post-event small group conversations that will create space for learners to network and dialogue with other attendees, engage in small group discussions, and work through specific questions and issues.


 Features of our Learning Agenda 

  • Ending Poverty Pathways including 14 proven ideas that already being implemented, and that are based on real data and a wealth of experience that forge a path forward for ending poverty in Canada.

  • A Strategic Overview of Cities Reducing Poverty including insights into what has made our 20-year collaborative and comprehensive approach to poverty reduction so effective.

  • Renowned Keynote Speakers, including Melody Barnes who worked directly with President Barack Obama, who will share their expertise with an emphasis on Cities Ending Poverty and Ending Youth Poverty.

  • A Joint Focus on Ending Poverty and Building Youth Futures, including a May 6th plenary which will be held jointly with Tamarack's newest practice area, Communities Building youth Futures. As part of their 2021 National Annual Gathering, this morning will explore youth resiliency, youth voice, youth leadership and community mobilization.

  • A Panel of Mayors and Cities will tell their stories of innovation and high-impact outcomes in reducing poverty.

  • Fourteen Interactive Workshops with emerging and established leaders from the government, business and not-for-profit sectors, each sharing their work and stories of poverty reduction, social innovation, and collective impact.

  • Daily Small Group Discussions that will create space for networking, discussion, brainstorming and troubleshooting amongst event registrants.

PRS Background Sample.     People on community walk


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Fourteen concurrent and interactive workshops will be hosted over Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Each workshop will be led by one or more experts and will be supported by a panel of Cities Reducing Poverty members. Each workshop is designed to be inspiring while also providing real opportunities for learners to plan for and adopt Ending Poverty Pathways in their own communities.

Workshops will include:

 Ending Working Poverty

The working poor makes up the largest demographic of people living in poverty in Canada. This session will present an evidence-based approach where higher minimum wages, income security system reforms, decent work, and Living Wages intersect to forge a robust pathway out of working poverty.



  • John Stapleton, Open Policy Ontario
  • Kumsa Baker, Toronto Community Benefits Network
  • Tristan Johnson, City of New Westminster





A Basic Income for Ending Poverty

Basic Income is an anti-poverty strategy that has gained support through COVID-19 from across the political spectrum. This session will propose design options for a national Basic Income guarantee that could end poverty in Canada. It will include a detailed walk through the evidence and a discussion on how it could realistically and reasonably be funded.


  • Sheila Regehr, Basic Income Canada Network
  • Kendal David, Basic Income Canada Youth Network
  • Tom Cooper, Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction
  • Luis Segura, Fresh Fuell
  • Scott Santens, Basic Income Advocate
  • Lee Stevens, Vibrant Communities Calgary

Built for Zero: A Model for Ending Chronic Homelessness

This session will present how three Cities Reducing Poverty members have reduced chronic homelessness by incorporating Housing First, data-driven decision making, and collective action to transform programs, policies and systems with the ultimate goal of reaching ‘functional zero.’


  • Marie Morrison, Built for Zero Canada
  • Dominica McPherson and Lori Richer, Guelph & Wellington Poverty Taskforce
  • Dawn Wheadon, Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee
  • Jaime Rogers, Medicine Hat Community Housing Society





Opportunity for All: Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy

Prior to COVID-19, Canada reduced poverty for 1.3 million Canadians, to its lowest level in recorded history. This session will highlight the critical role of cities and communities in advocating for and rolling out large-scale and high-impact federal policies, and in contributing to the successful implementation of Opportunity for All: Canada’s first poverty reduction strategy.


  • Scott MacAfee, National Advisory Council on Poverty
  • Rachelle Metatawabin, National Advisory Council on Poverty
  • Dale Hicks, Rising Tide Community Initiative Inc
  • Tim Richter, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness


Provincial and Territorial Governments Ending Poverty

In recent years, provincial and territorial governments have championed poverty reduction efforts. This session will showcase how three provinces and territories have engaged with communities and across all levels of government to implement programs and policies that have demonstrated significant impacts in reducing poverty.


  • Hon. Julie Green, Government of NWT
  • Hon. Nicholas Simons, Government of B.C.
  • Stéphane Leclair, Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation (ESIC)
  • Edward Sawdon, Citizens Voice Network





Cities Ending Poverty: Success Stories from Vibrant Communities

Cities are increasingly harnessing the assets of their communities, engaging across sectors, and nudging policy and systems change. This session will explore how 4 cities are using the latest collective impact approaches to create meaningful change for people living on low-incomes. Learn how more than 300 municipalities supported by 80 regional networks are following their lead.


  • Erick Ambtman, End Poverty Edmonton
  • Meaghon Reid, Vibrant Communities Calgary
  • Monica Chaperlin, Living SJ
  • Nicky Jones, Peel Lived Experience Advisory Group





Ending Youth Poverty and Building Youth Futures

This session will introduce Communities Building Youth Futures (CBYF), inspired by Opportunity Youth, an evidence-based collective impact model in the U.S. that has been proven to bolster postsecondary and career success. You will learn how CBYF is supporting youth in 13 communities who face extraordinary barriers to stay connected and to reconnect with pathways to prosperity, and the impactful initiatives that put youth first, happening across Canada.


  • Nathalie Blanchet, Tamarack Institute
  • Jayme Archibald, Young London
  • Phillip Mock, Chatham-Kent Prosperity Roundtable
  • Kelsey Baerg, Selkirk College
  • Jackie DeMontarnal, Communities Building Youth Futures - Grande Prairie

A National Supplement for Ending Disability Poverty

Poverty among people with disabilities is multi-tiered as it is often connected with social isolation, anxiety and poor health. Learn how Canada’s commitment to creating a Canadian Disability Benefit could serve as a supportive supplement for people with disabilities, making great strides in ensuring that nobody would fall below the poverty line and working towards ending disability poverty in Canada.  


  • Rebecca Pauls, Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN)
  • Laura Cattari, Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction
  • Colleen Huston, Disability Action Hall



Child Care Policies to End Poverty: Quebec's Model

The Government of Canada’s 2021 budget announcement included a $30 billion investment over the next five years toward a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system. Learn how Quebec’s generous investment in provincial child benefits has served as an effective poverty reduction strategy that is paying for itself, with $1.47 in direct returns obtained for each $1.00 invested.


  • Myriam Bérubé, Tamarack Institute
  • Geneviève Bélisle, Association québécoise des centres de la petite enfance
  • Hélène Gosselin, Centre de la petite enfance Les Petits Mousses
  • Fanny Dagenais, Observatoire des tout-petits



Human Rights Cities for Ending Poverty

Poverty is what happens when people are denied their human right to a decent standard of living. This session will explore a human rights approach to ending poverty and how we can translate it into effective policies and practices. 


  • Elizabeth McIsaac, Maytree
  • Effie Vlachoyannacos, Maytree
  • Sherry Hanley, City of Toronto
  • Alyssa Brierley, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation
  • Emily Paradis, Office of the Federal Advocate
  • Samya Hasan, Colour of Poverty Colour of Change

Ending Indigenous Poverty in Cities

In this session, Cities Reducing Poverty members will share how they are including Indigenous partners as equal partners in their Cities' futures.


  • Cheryl Whiskeyjack, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society
  • Leslie Varley, B.C. Association of Friendship Centres
  • Buddie Dixon, Vibrant Communities Calgary





Ending Poverty in Rural Communities

This session will profile stories of social innovation from Cities Reducing Poverty members from rural and remote communities. A roundtable conversation will address challenges and solutions unique to rural poverty reduction.


  • Don Kattler, Government of B.C. (Port Hardy)
  • Dee Ann Benard, Rural Development Network
  • Diane Giroux, M'wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre
  • Carlos Sanchez-Pimienta, Queens University



Sustainable Development Goals for Ending Poverty

This session will introduce you to the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. A panel of communities will discuss how they have or are planning to use these goals to further poverty reduction work in their communities.


  • Laura Schnurr, Tamarack Institute
  • Marcie DeWitt, Alberni Clayoquot Health Network
  • Dennis Guy, Oxford County 

Climate Change and Ending Poverty

How do we advance a climate change and end poverty agenda at the same time? This session will explore how you can support your community to link these two agendas and in turn achieve a bigger impact.


  • Rik Logtenberg, Climate Caucus
  • Celeste Alcena, Youth Climate Lab
  • Allison Ashcroft, Canadian Urban Sustainability Practitioners



Stay tuned! This section will be updated as topics, leads and descriptions are confirmed. 



 Pre-Event Reading 


 Cities Ending Poverty 

As cities harness the assets of their communities, they are finding new ways to end poverty. Increasingly, they are recognizing poverty as a comprehensive issue, advancing their understanding of collaboration across sectors, and nudging policy and systems change. Cities are recognizing the value of linking private sector and community solutions, and are addressing the disproportionate impacts of poverty on black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). They are working directly with local businesses and are meaningfully engaging people with lived/living experience in leadership roles and decision-making opportunities to move their work forward.

Cities are increasingly recognizing the importance of embedding a Collective Impact approach to their work. They are developing common agendas and shared measurement systems between partnering groups, working toward mutually reinforcing activities, and cultivating continuous communication and strong backbone organizations in order to realize high-impact city-wide approaches that achieve powerful outcomes.

Over the last two decades, much has been learned about the collective processes cities undertake to reduce poverty. The End of Poverty will feature proven approaches that they are applying  to develop community plans, promising practices they are developing to manage large-scale collaborations, and strategies they are implementing to influence impactful policy shifts and meaningful change for people living on low incomes.

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 Agenda at a Glance 


Wednesday, May 5, 2021 Thursday, May 6, 2021
10:00 - 11:00 am ET   Optional small group networking conversations
11:00 - 11:45 am ET Welcome Welcome
11:45 - 12:05 pm ET Keynote: Mayor Naheed Nenshi Keynote: Melody Barnes
12:05 - 12:15 pm ET CRP in Action CBYF Overview
12:15 - 1:15 pm ET Panel: Mayors Ending Poverty Panel: Youth Futures Without Poverty
1:15 - 1:30 pm ET Closing Photo Contest and Closing
1:30 - 2:00 pm ET Break
2:00 - 3:30 pm ET Concurrent Workshops Round 1
3:30 - 4:00 pm ET Break
4:00 - 5:30 pm ET Concurrent Workshops Round 2
5:30 - 6:30 pm ET Optional small group networking conversations