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Leaders Roll-up Their Sleeves for Action on Five Big Urban Challenges at Canvas, CivicAction’s 2019 Summit

TORONTO, April 29, 2019 — Collective leadership is no longer a nice to have, it’s a need to practice. Challenges facing our communities are bigger, the socio-economic gap is becoming a chasm, and trust in institutions is shifting. That’s why 500 civic leaders from all sectors and experiences are gathering today to paint a new vision for the Greater Toronto Region at Canvas, CivicAction’s 2019 Summit.

“No one sector can solve the meaty issues of today and action will need to come from all corners of civil society,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction. “Canvas will provide the frame to start that process.”

Participants will convene at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), one of Canada’s leading cultural hubs, to sketch, colour and frame CivicAction’s next four years of action. The Canvas agenda focuses on five of our region’s biggest challenges that affect our prosperity and quality of life: preparing for the future of work, unlocking inclusive leadership; preventing sex trafficking; tackling housing affordability; and supporting resilience to extreme weather.

“Bringing together community leaders, influential thinkers and change agents is the best way to address the complex urban challenges facing our communities. TD is proud to partner with CivicAction to bring these important conversations to life at Canvas. When the public, private and non-profit sectors join forces, we can accomplish so much more,” said Andrea Barrack, Global Head of Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank Group.

“Building resilient communities requires a dynamic workforce—one that has the right mix of in-demand skills and life-long training opportunities,” said Linda Blair, Managing Partner, Ontario at Deloitte Canada. “Success begins with rethinking education. By bridging the gap between the classroom and the workplace, we can connect people with the best solutions to adapt to new challenges.”

A morning panel of experts will kick-start the day by challenging assumptions on the five topics and end with a fireside chat with City of Toronto Mayor John Tory and a panel discussion on how we re-build communication and work across political lines and sectoral edges to achieve true collective action.

“Canvas is a one-of-a-kind event that sees leaders from all sectors and residents from across the region come together to collectively roll-up their sleeves and co-create a plan to tackle important issues.” Zabeen Hirji, Board Chair, CivicAction. Strategic Advisor Private and Public Sector. “CivicAction will take the ideas from today and chart what creative actions it will take over the next four years.”

For a full summit agenda, click here. Residents can participate in Canvas through a facilitated livestream focusing on affordable housing, and through social media using #CanvasGTHA. To access the live stream beginning at 9:00 a.m., click here.


For more information, please contact:

Jeff Junke
Communications Manager, CivicAction
416-309-4480 x 533
C: 647-471-9957

Our thanks to Cision for sponsoring this announcement.

CivicAction would like to acknowledge all Canvas – Summit 2019 Event Partners for their support. A special thank you to our Catalyst Partner Deloitte; our Presenting Partner TD Bank Group; Summit Champions Royal Bank of Canada and Scotiabank; Summit Leaders Intact Financial Corporation, LiUNA, Rogers Communications Inc. and Toronto Pearson International Airport and; our Media Partners Toronto Star and Toronto Life; and pro-bono partner Edelman.

About CivicAction: Complex challenges need an all hands on deck approach, and collective impact is what CivicAction does best. As a premier civic engagement organization in Canada CivicAction has nearly two decades of experience creating and implementing effective solutions to the most pressing challenges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and beyond. Every four years CivicAction holds a Summit to identify which issues are keeping the region up at night and then leverages partnerships across sectors to create initiatives that transform our region.

Out of 2015’s Summit, Better City Bootcamp, CivicAction launched major initiatives like MindsMatter and HireNext that encouraged employers to take action on workplace mental health and better hiring practices for young diverse talent. To find out more visit or follow @CivicActionGTHA.

Building on a decade of high-impact and award-winning leadership programming, CivicAction launched the CivicAction Leadership Foundation to further elevate and catalyze our region’s leadership potential. With a focus on advancing education, the Foundation harnesses the power of diverse leaders and empowers and activates all voices to influence and shape our region. For more information visit


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