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Friday, April 12, 2024

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Hello From Our Steering Group

SocialCommons.ca is led by a Steering Group made up entirely of volunteers. We are a small and dedicated team of social policy thinkers and organization builders.  Collectively, we have worked across a wide range of institutions, agencies, collaborations and community partnerships.  We are held together by a deep and abiding commitment to strengthening our social programs and the role of civil society and community-based work in creating a more equitable, healthy, and inclusive Canada where everyone is supported to thrive. 

Our journey began with the planning of a fall 2019 symposium exploring the relevance of the Social Commons as a framework for transformative change in social, economic and environmental justice. As members of the Marvyn Novick Legacy Group, we were drawn to this idea by the life-long commitment of Marvyn to many of the founding principles of the social commons. The symposium was successful in seeding further thought and discussions as we tried to forge a path forward. 

Current SocialCommons.ca Steering Group. We will be enlarging our membership in the months ahead.

Then in the wake of COVID-19, we began a journey to re-imagine what we wanted to accomplish and how a more interactive and collaborative website could help us to get there. We are convinced that the social commons holds significant potential as an integrative framework for helping people to connect the dots across many policy domains.  It became clear to us that our project could only be sustained through both deep and wide-ranging conversations on many inter-related topics of concern. 

Our Vision and Core Values

In October 2020, we started planning for a website to serve as a space:

  • for presenting our own ideas and learnings
  • that supports  engagement with partners, collaborators and learners
  • for building conversations and share them with a broader public
  • to present the best ideas from Canada and around the world on building and sustaining the Commons, and
  • to help others connect the dots in seeing how the many facets of the Social Commons are related and mutually supportive in creating a better world

Developing this website involves creating and designing our public face.  In this sense, it becomes an online extension of our core ideas, our conversations with other groups, and the way we generate and organize our thoughts. 

By March 2021, we had reached agreement on framing statements for a set of five Pillars posts that would be used to organize content and shape conversations on the website. Taken together, developing action strategies based on these changes could dramatically reshape society in ways that build solidarity, trust, community and a deeper democracy that improves both well-being and prosperity.  Based on this work, we see our journey as rooted in:

  • Community building, broadening human rights, growing the capacity of civil society and strengthening the social programs on which we all depend
  • Democratizing the economy in ways that grow shared community assets that revitalize the commons
  • Critically important, it re-imagines very different legal and institutional foundations that would re-focus obligations and expectations of both governments and the private market to enable and sustain community life

The website is being designed intentionally so that it can adapt and evolve in response to the ideas and insights generated by an engaged community of contributors.  We see our role as nurturing and sustaining fruitful conversations and helping readers to connect the dots in seeing how the pieces fit together to create a larger story.  We also see our role as amplifying the voices that offer possibilities for transformative change.  These voices, often part of grassroots movements, are generating the seeds of change that inspire hope. We invite you to become part of the conversation.

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