FacebookTwitterRSSContactStaff Directory
About Tamarack Learn Events Join a Community
  Civil Society

How Are Canadians Really Doing? - This report, published by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, profiles the trend in Canada's CIW between 1994 and 2008 and concludes that Canada's GDP Gains are not translating into a better quality of life. In the fifteen year period from 1994 to 2008, Canada's GDP grew by a robust 31% while our quality of life only improved by a very modest 11%.

Headwaters Community Well-Being Report  - This report, developed by the citizens group Headwaters Communities in Action (HCIA) uses both data and stories to highlight community strengths and opportunities for further action in Dufferin County and the Town of Caledon. A citizen survey, which asked residents to identify what community well-being meant to them, was used as the foundation for identifying the Report’s nine topic areas of community well-being.

A Plan for Wellbeing in Guelph - This report offers definitions for wellbeing, community engagement, and other key concepts to help conceptualize the city of Guelph’s approach in developing its Community Plan for Wellbeing.

Public Priorities for Ontario’s Health System - This document outlines a series of recommendations to reform the province's health care system that was developed by a randomly-selected citizens' panel of twenty-eight Ontarians who agreed to spend three weekends together learning about the province's health care system from a range of experts before reaching consensus on a set of recommendations to ensure that high-quality and publicly funded care is available to future generations.

Council for Community Solutions - This website profiles the work - and leadership team - established for the newly created White House Council on Community Solutions.

2009 Soul of Community Report Findings

2008 Soul of Community Report Findings – These two reports synthesize data from almost 28,000 people in 26 U.S. Communities to identify the factors that influence residents level of attachment to their community.

Belonging To Community – This data synthesizes responses to a survey of 500 people within Tamarack’s Learning Community to the question: What does Belonging to Community mean to you?

500 Voices: Community Survey - What does the Benefit of Community Meant to You? - This document summarizes the thoughts of nearly 500 members of Tamarack’s learning community the question: What does the benefit of community mean to you?

Strategic Dialogue Session Report – This paper summarizes highlights of a strategic dialogue on place-based, poverty reduction co-hosted in May 2010 by The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Tamarack with forty-six leaders from various sectors. 

500 Voices: What Does Community Mean to You? What does Community Meant to You? - This document summarizes the thoughts of nearly 500 members of Tamarack’s learning community the question: What does community mean to you?

National Coalition of Dialogue & DeliberationMeaningful citizen participation in political decisions on contentious issues requires careful planning and facilitation to ensure that true dialogue and deliberation can occur.  To understand more about why and how to make this happen, read Upgrading the Way we Do Politics here.

Certificate in Dialogue & Civic Engagement - There is much to learn about how leaders in communities, public institutions, government and quasi-government agencies approach the work of engaging diverse publics in the plans and decisions that impact the quality of their private and public lives. This learning is central to SFU’s Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement. In this program, participants will become aware of and learn how to design and implement a range of engagement models that create and structure good practice in a variety of settings. Learn more here.

Connecting with Canadians - A new five-year public policy research and dialogue program that will engage Canadians to address key issues such as citizenship, diversity and skills barriers, has been launched by CPRN. To read Connecting with Canadians, Shaping Our Future, click here. For more information about the Connecting with Canadians research and dialogue program, click here. [Source: CPRN]

Artist Space Development - The development of affordable spaces for artists to live and/or work is certainly an important matter for artists, but it can also be an important issue for people concerned with a range of social issues, including economic development, civic engagement, community collective action and community quality of life. This report considers how artist space developments have been positioned and the arguments made to garner support for them, the advocacy strategies used, and the impacts claimed or anticipated.  Learn more and access other research and reports on Artist Space Development here. [Source: Urban Institute]

Art and Innovation - This paper explores the economic and cultural contribution of the arts, and its affect on economic growth and evolution. The crucial connection is supplied by an innovation systems perspective on the creative industries, which contribute not just to value-added and jobs, but to the evolutionary process by which economic systems grown. Read the full paper here. [Source: Culture + Communities]

Rural Areas Home to Culture Clusters - Canada's largest cities are the country's arts and culture hubs, with the size of an area's cultural workforce depending largely on the area's total workforce. Despite this reality, a number of rural areas and small cities, particularly in British Columbia, Nunavut and Quebec, show unusually high proportions of cultural workers, according to a new study. Learn more here. [Source: Charity Village, Statistics Canada]

Public Space and Diverse Communities - This Demos report offers an analysis of how public spaces can contribute to building positive relationships and bridges between different communities. Drawing on expertise from the fields of regeneration, community activism and education, the report explores people's motivations for entering public spaces, and assesses the potential for interaction that can be found herein. Read the report here. [Source: Policy Hub]

Exploring Gratitude - The Summer 2007 issue of Greater Good magazine explores the new science of gratitude. More than a simple "thank you," studies show gratitude can build physical health, personal happiness, and strong social connections. Contributors discuss some of the most exciting research on gratitude and suggest how it can apply to everyday life. Learn more here. [Source: Greater Good]

21st Century Social Evils - The UK-based Joseph Rowntree Foundation has launched an 18-month project, What are the 21st Century's social evils?, to discover what people believe causes the most damage to society. You can learn more about this project here. Anyone wishing to contribute to the debate can submit their views on the website here. [Source: Policy Hub]

Way-of-life Wake up Call - The Who Cares? project is a national conversation about the future of our communities. Drawing from comprehensive data on volunteerism in Canada, the project's series of engaging audio conversations serves to enlighten and inspire Canadians with a way-of-life wake-up call based on compelling but troubling research findings. Learn more here. [Source: Charity Village]

Organize Neighbourhood Revitalization - This paper explores neighbourhood revitalization within the context of complexity theory. Prior to embarking upon work to build resiliency, communities and neighbourhoods must organize themselves strategically in order to tackle complex issues. The paper discusses the main components of effective local governance and can be downloaded here. (aussi disponible en français) [Source: Caledon Institute of Social Policy]

To Remake the World - Something Earth-changing is afoot among civil society. Read this article by Paul Hawken here. [Source: Orion Magazine]

Libraries that Matter - The creation of the "information superhighway" threatened to make libraries obsolete, but today they are as prominent as ever. The old model of the "reading room" has been replaced by a community "front porch." Read this article here. [Source: Creative City News]

Social Entrepreneurship - Social entrepreneurship is attracting growing amounts of talent, money, and attention. But along with its increasing popularity has come less certainty about what exactly a social entrepreneur is and does. Some say that a more inclusive term is best, but the authors argue that we need a more rigorous definition. Download the article here. [Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review]

Money and Meaning - This commentary from the Caledon Institute describes the value of community enterprise in terms of both economic and social return. It points out that, unlike the US and the UK, Canada does not have financial incentives such as tax credits to promote essential investment, particularly from private investors, in this significant sector of the economy. Read the commentary here. [Source: Caledon Institute of Social Policy]

Handbook on Democratic Dialogue - This handbook, developed jointly by CIDA, International IDEA, OAS and UNDP, explores current issues and practices in the field of dialogue and acts as a guide for designing and implementing a dialogue process. Learn more here or download a full copy of the handbook here. [Source: @philia]

Cultural Planning and Cultural Mapping Toolkits - 2010 Legacies Now and the Creative City Network of Canada have developed two new resources to assist local governments, as well as arts, cultural and heritage organizations, plan for the future.

  • The Cultural Mapping Toolkit has been designed to take you through the entire mapping process, from creating an inventory of cultural resources to drawing and presenting your map. Examples, checklists and worksheets are included to help you along the way. Download the toolkit here.
  • The Cultural Planning Toolkit is a guide to assist with strategic thinking, decision-making and community consultation as you go through the cultural planning process. It includes an adaptable model and practical checklists to help you create and implement a viable plan. Download the planning toolkit here. [Source: Creative City News]

Cultural Vitality in Communities - This Urban Institute report defines cultural vitality as evidence of creating, disseminating, validating, and supporting arts and culture as a dimension of everyday life in communities. Learn more here. [Source: Urban Institute]

Diversity Matters - This action plan from abcGTA highlights nine practices aimed at dismantling barriers to potential applicants for public appointments. These candidates bring an increasingly diverse set of experiences, skills and perspectives to civic life. Download the report here. [Source: Maytree]

Next Wave of Cultural Programming - Adapting to an increasingly multi-ethnic audience is one of the challenges facing the Japanese American National Museum, which recently sponsored a photo exhibit by artist Kip Fulbeck about mixed-race Asian Americans. The work is being funded through the James Irvine Foundation’s new Artistic Innovation Fund. Read more here. [Source: IQ: Irvine Quarterly]

Shared Space: The Communities Agenda - This paper by Sherri Torjman is the first in a series on the "communities agenda." The paper defines this term and develops it within the context of theories on resilience and innovation and its application as cluster-based economic development. It also builds on community experience in designing and implementing comprehensive local initiatives. The goal of the communities agenda is to promote resilience in order to build strong and vibrant communities. The paper argues that resilience is the result of strategic actions taken in four independent yet associated clusters which comprise the substance of the communities agenda. Read the paper in full here. [Source: The Caledon Institute of Social Policy]

A Primer on Public Involvement - This report from Canadian Policy Research Networks explores the role of public involvement in democratic governance. The Primer reviews the different methods and necessary conditions for successful public involvement and identifies several key messages, such as: there are different levels of public involvement; public participation should be seen as a strategy for democratic renewal; different perspectives exist about what constitutes successful public involvement; evaluation should be built into the public involvement program; and the challenges to public involvement should not be underestimated. Learn more here. [Source: Charity Village]

Aboriginal Peoples & Postsecondary Education - The success of Aboriginal people in our postsecondary education (PSE) system is of vital interest to all Canadians. Aboriginal Peoples and Postsecondary Education in Canada reviews the empirical data about how Aboriginal peoples are doing in the PSE system and what the data suggests about strategies to improve these results. Download this Caledon paper here. [Source: Caledon Institute of Social Policy]

Research on small community organizations - Imagine Canada has released a study of small- and medium-sized community organizations in Canada. Building Blocks For Strong Communities compared the structure, development and supports for Canada's small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small- and medium-sized community organizations (SMOs), and also examined supports available to SMEs and SMOs in other countries. Drawing on learnings from Canadian and international experience, the study made recommendations on how public supports for SMOs in Canada could be improved. For more information or to download the full report, click here. [Source: Charity Village]

Preparing for the Demographic Tsunami - This commentary responds to the Conservatives’ search for its next top priority ideas. The paper speaks to the need for investment in technical aids and personal supports, such as attendant care and homemaker assistance. Canada’s rapidly aging population will soon swamp the health and community care systems unless there is careful planning now to meet the surge in demand for these supports. Read more here. [Source: Caledon Institute of Social Policy]

Toward Squaring the Circle - In this report, Richard Chaykowski reviews the Canadian evidence and identifies the various issues associated with work-life balance. His objective is to clarify the policy stakes in order to help define the appropriate role for governments in addressing these issues, relative to the roles of firms and individuals. Read the full report here. [Source: CSRL-news]

Skills and Knowledge for Canada's Future - A new volume of research papers - the product of a research program managed by CPRN, the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University [SPS] and Statistics Canada, provides a synthesis of recent research on human capital development in seven different academic disciplines. The authors identified areas for new research and specifically research that would cross disciplinary boundaries. Learn more here. [Source: CPRN]

From Restless Communities to Resilient Places - The External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities (EACCC) was created in February 2004 to help rethink the way Canada and its communities are shaped to ensure Canada will be a world leader in developing vibrant, creative, inclusive, prosperous and sustainable communities. EACCC is focused on a long-term vision of cities and communities that are economically, socially, environmentally and culturally sustainable. The final report was submitted to the Prime Minister on Thursday, June 15, 2006. Learn more here. [Source: Government of Canada]

From System to Citizen - This report, the result of a two-part engagement process that included consultations with citizens and elected officials and a national poll, concludes that it's not a choice about whether or not to extend the public space that steers government. Rather, it's about how far to extend that space. Download the report here. [Source: CBNC]

The Social Economy - The February 2006 issue of Horizons explores the social economy in Canada, and asks why governments should be interested in the social economy and what their role should be. View the issue online here. [Source: Policy Research Initiative] For more on the Social Economy in Canada, check out Tamarack's web seminar here.

The Story of Somewhere - The themes of globalization and virtualization dominate the economic and political domains of our life today. In an increasingly globalized world, it sometimes feels as if the real world of place has been quietly vaporized. But a profound longing for community is beginning to reassert itself, says Eric Young, President of E.Y.E. This tells us that community is essential to our true nature; that we can’t have a successful society - or a satisfying life - in its absence. Read more here. [Source: @philia]

The Power of Community Participation - This Ashoka report describes how the tragedies of 2005 (tsunami, hurricanes, earthquakes) give us surprising insights about the best ways to prepare for and respond to disasters. Read more here. [Source: Ashoka/Changemakers]

Neighborhoods Prevent Childhood Obesity - According to a study from the RAND Corporation, adolescents living in close-knit neighborhoods where adults provide social support "such as watching out for youngsters and seeking to correct their misbehavior” are half as likely to be overweight or nearly overweight as other children. Read more here. [Source: HandsNet WebClipper]

Community belonging & self-perceived health - Nearly two-thirds of Canadians aged 12 and over have a strong sense of belonging to their local community, according to a new report that examines the link between this sense of belonging and an individual's self-perceived physical and mental health. Read more here and check out a related report Community belonging and self-perceived health: Early Canadian Community Health Survey findings here.

Social Capital & Health - What impact does social capital have on the health of Canadians? This working paper concludes that networks are indeed very important for maintaining good health. Moreover, while instrumental support from strong ties are clearly useful (though they can be easily exhausted if demand for support is too great), networks of ties to organizations can be even more important in the context of health. Read a summary of the report here. [Source: Policy Research Initiative]

Making the Case for Culture - Making the Case for Culture is an original collection of web profiles and resources exploring the impacts and value of culture in communities and cities. Visit the website here. [Source: Creative City News]

Enhancing Cultural Capital - This research highlights the contribution that community-based arts organizations are making in Winnipeg 's inner city. The project reveals that there is not only a wealth of artistic and cultural resources in the inner city, but that these resources make an enormous contribution to building community capacity, energizing community-based revitalization efforts, educating young people, improving our public spaces, and invigorating local economies. Through a broad-based consultation process, including a case study of the arts scene in Minneapolis Minnesota, the project provides a basis for an enhanced integration of arts-based policies and programs aimed at supporting inner city communities. Download the full report here. [Source: WIRA]

Measurement of Social Capital - How do we measure social capital for policy purposes? Drawing on the tools of social network analysis, this guide proposes a series of indicators for public policy research, development and evaluation. It examines advantages and limitations of various measurement tools and methodological strategies, both quantitative and qualitative, for examining social capital in the context of public policy, both at the individual and collective levels. Download the report here. [Source: Policy Research Initiative]

Social Capital in Action - The ways in which social capital can play an important productive, or sometimes destructive, role vary enormously across an array of issues. To investigate its role in eight thematic policy areas, the PRI partnered with several federal departments to commission a series of studies. Undertaken by Canadian experts, the studies explore the significance of social capital for: Poverty reduction, Aging well, Settlement of new immigrants, Education outcomes of Aboriginal youth, Youth civic engagement, Community crime prevention, Policing in First Nations communities, Community development. Download the study here. Learn more about PRI's Social Capital as a Public Policy Tool Project here. [Source: Policy Research Initiative]

Social & civic engagement high among Canadians - A survey by Statistics Canada reveals that Canada is rich in social capital. The majority (61%) of Canadians belong to at least one group or organization. Sports and recreational organizations were reported most often, followed by unions and professional associations; cultural, education or hobby groups; religious-affiliated groups; and school, neighbourhood or community-associated groups. About 8% of Canadians belonged to a service club or fraternal organization. In terms of political activities, 28% of Canadians report that they have signed a petition in the past year. About one-fifth have attended a public meeting, 13% expressed their views on an issue by contacting a newspaper or a politician, and 6% have participated in a march or demonstration. Check out the report here. -- Statistics Canada [Source: Charity Village]

CCC Community Voting Project - The Center for Community Change, as part of a broader effort to build power for low-income people and impact the national debate on issues of poverty, has launched the Community Voting Project, which will increase the scale and effectiveness of non-partisan voter programs in low-income communities. The Community Voting Project will target 250,000 low-income, minority, and new immigrant voters during the 2004 election cycle. Learn more here. [Source: HandsNet WebClipper]

Back to top.