Our vision of the social commons was inspired by the social policy leadership and the contributions of Marvyn Novick to the public life of Canada. In the last years of his life, Marvyn had begun to explore the concept of the social commons as a framework for bringing together many ideas related to social and economic development framed by a deep understanding of community building, civic engagement and local action.
Marvyn Novick (1940-2016) was a leading thinker and contributor to social policy in Ontario and Canada. He researched and wrote major national reports on child poverty; conducted a widely cited pioneering study on changing social conditions in Metropolitan Toronto’s suburbs in the 1970s; addressed issues of employment, civic and community well-being, and the life chances of children in the 1980s and ‘90s; and focused public attention on the need for cross-community alliances to build inclusive communities and on the social responsibilities of government at all levels in the first decade of the new millennium.
Although retired after a distinguished career in the social planning field in Toronto and as Ryerson University’s Dean of Community Services and teacher in the School of Social Work (1983-2006), Marvyn remained actively engaged as a contributor to the social policy work of the Social Planning Network of Ontario and Campaign 2000: End Child Poverty in Canada until his passing in June 2016.
The Marvyn Novick Legacy Group is in the final stages of creating an online anthology of Marvyn’s work with commentaries and insights from many of his colleagues in the social policy community. More information regarding the anthology can be found here.