The Solutions Agenda

Social Infrastructure

Communities are about relationships. Increased investment in local communities is vital to the health and wealth of the nation. Adopting a systems approach for policy development that focuses on integrated ecological, economic and social outcomes, along with improved government inter-relationships is key to forging a strong Canadian identity, with greater civic engagement in voting, action, and volunteering. Revitalization of the social sector, building novel partnerships among civil society organizations and convening social actors focused on issues rather than traditional structures is key to bridging asymmetries of scale and access to resources, and closing the implementation gaps between Canadian communities. New engagement processes are key to co-operative networks and using a diversity of communication channels, to both inform and bring critical feedback back to decision-makers for continuous improvement and government policy innovation.

  1. Implement a national policy on zero tolerance for violence against women, children and animals immediately

  2. Build institutional support and infrastructure to ‘seed’ collaboration, information and community exchanges, engaged scholarship, inter-disciplinary research partnerships through community collaboratories

  3. Enhance local agency for action by closing the knowledge-to-action gaps through a system of community collaboratories working closely with post-secondary institutions, and regenerating existing public infrastructure such as libraries, and repurposing of existing building stock such as vacant churches, and closing post offices

  4. Experiment with new models of engagement, such as participatory budgeting, and share successes and lessons learned from these experiments with other communities and local governments

  5. Convene a multi-sectoral, multi-level, multi-stakeholder round table to develop transition strategies, builds capacity, changes culture, facilitate multi-level governance, and stimulates shifts in demand

  6. Develop a publicly structured accessible open data system with national dissemination, including infrastructure and building energy use and GHG emissions data

  7. Amend the Charities Act to allow charities to keep a percentage of donations for reinvestment in infrastructure and long-term viability

Revitalization from Community Research Connections on Vimeo.

We all participate in weaving the social fabric; we should therefore all participate in patching the fabric when it develops holes.

(Anne C. Weisberg)