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CivicAction volunteers lead way in building better city-region

CivicAction volunteers lead way in building better city-region
Newly-formed Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada example of volunteer-led solutions to region’s complex challenges

April 20, 2012 – Toronto – A newly formed organization that provides leadership support to young Aboriginal professionals is an example of the ‘entrepreneurial volunteerism’ happening through CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network and other initiatives.  

CivicAction honours the thousands of volunteer leaders who are helping create a thriving and prosperous Toronto region as National Volunteer Week comes to a close. Since the organization was launched in 2003, more than 6000 volunteer leaders have come together through such initiatives as Greening Greater Toronto, DiverseCity, the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN), and the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.

“We commend the senior executives and rising leaders who take time out of their busy lives, roll up their sleeves and work with us to address some of the region’s toughest problems,” said Mitzie Hunter, CEO, CivicAction.

The newly-formed Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada (APAC) is a great example of volunteers identifying a challenge and coming up with an innovative solution.  President and co-founder Gabrielle Scrimshaw, an Associate at RBC and a 2011 DiverseCity Fellow, saw a gap in the support available to Aboriginal professional leaders in the Toronto region as well as across Canada. With a volunteer team of DiverseCity Fellows, APAC was launched to fill this gap.

“APAC is an organization propelled by entrepreneurial volunteerism. Like many others, it was founded by people who felt they could contribute their limited free time to create impactful change in the community,” said Gabrielle Scrimshaw, a member of the Hatchet Lake First Nation.


The team members behind APAC brought in support from their employers.

“Through my volunteer work with APAC, I've gained skills and relationships that have been personally and professionally enriching.  Without question, I'm a better employee and performer because of my experience with APAC,” said co-founder Richard Wiltshire, Manager at Accenture and a 2011 DiverseCity Fellow.

City-building initiatives such as APAC are incubated through CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network and DiverseCity Fellows. Both programs foster collaboration, innovation, and diversity, and create unique and high-value opportunities for volunteer leadership.

Rising city-builders committed to advancing the Toronto region can join the ELN or apply for the DiverseCity Fellows program. The 2013 DiverseCity Fellows call for applications will be launched in the summer.



About the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance:

CivicAction, formerly known as the Toronto City Summit Alliance, is a multi-sectoral coalition of thousands of civic leaders committed to acting collectively to tackle tough issues and big opportunities facing the Toronto region. CivicAction's Greater Toronto Summits bring leaders from all walks of life together to assess the region's strengths and challenges and to identify priority areas and opportunities for attention. In the periods between Summits, CivicAction takes a role in incubating innovative initiatives designed to galvanize action in these priority areas.

Using a model of collaborative leadership, CivicAction's current initiatives are aimed at: making the Toronto region flourish through environmental action and innovation (Greening Greater Toronto); creating a leadership landscape that better reflects the region's diversity (DiverseCity: the Greater Toronto Leadership Project in partnership with Maytree); and connecting and supporting rising city-builders (the Emerging Leaders Network).

For more information, visit

About the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN):

The ELN is a diverse network of 500+ civic leaders working to advance the Toronto region's economic and social prosperity. ELN plays the role of an "action incubator" by convening leaders, helping inform and facilitate dialogue, and offering mentoring and organizational support to groups working collaboratively on challenges facing the region.

Members of ELN meet monthly and have generated innovative city-building projects and events such as Toronto Homecoming, Project Neutral, Better Ballots and ELNstudio.

ELN is an initiative of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance.

For more information, visit:

About the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada:

The Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada (APAC) is an organization dedicated to advancing Aboriginal leadership across Canada in the private, public and social sectors. APAC offers First Nations, Métis and Inuit professionals a supportive community and platform to continually develop as dynamic leaders. APAC serves Aboriginal professionals through professional skill building, network development and the recognition of excellence.

APAC was incubated as a project through the DiverseCity Fellows program, a one-year collaborative leadership development program. The original founding team of DiverseCity Fellows included:

  • Gabrielle Scrimshaw, RBC
  • Richard Wiltshire, Accenture
  • Jonathan Asmis, Accenture
  • Ravi Jain, Why Not Theatre
  • May Mak, Toronto Police Service
  • Piragal Thiru, Regional Municipality of York

For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Tamara Balan
Project Director, CivicAction
Work: (416) 309-4480 x533

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