CivicAction’s Re:Action Forum

Re:Action Forum, Powered by CivicAction

Over June 11 and 12, CivicAction brought together 300 civic leaders from all sectors and backgrounds for the Re:Action Forum, a virtual gathering to shape our region’s collective reaction to COVID-19.

Through consultations and virtual town halls with our network of diverse senior, risen and rising leaders, the Forum focused on three interconnected opportunities: helping young adults enter or re-enter the workforce; supporting mental wellbeing and combating loneliness; and building and maintaining trust in our communities and leaders.

These issues were also examined through an anti-racism lens and gave consideration to the experiences of residents who are Black, Indigenous and other vulnerable populations.  

Snapshot of Forum Impact:

300 participants

over June 11 and 12.


ideas for action submitted by participants.

100 commitments

made by participants to take action.

Who participated?

Generation breakdown

56% Risen or rising leaders

44% Senior leaders

Sector representation

36% Private

34% Non-profit

23% Public

7% Other

The Forum was a dynamic day that created new connections and exposed people to new ideas.

93% agree that

the overall format of the Forum was engaging.


were exposed to new ideas.


met new people.

Ideas for Action

Here are some of the key themes and ideas for action that emerged at the Re:Action Forum. These ideas were generated by Forum participants.


Helping young adults or those early in their career enter or re-enter the workforce.


Reimagine how we train young people to be more nimble, affordable and accessible.

  • Improve access to technology for vulnerable groups (from a digital divide to a digital provide).
  • Incentivize employers to acknowledge and recognize different forms of skills training vs traditional degrees.

Improve how people connect and access job opportunities.

  • Deconstruct the traditional job ad to attract applicants with non-traditional forms of credentials.
  • Encourage employers to create a more accessible recruitment process for traditionally underrepresented groups.
  • Mandatory training with an anti-racism lens in the workplace to help remove unconscious bias in the hiring, onboarding and retention process.
  • Link leaders and vulnerable populations to increase the number and diversity of informal connections (e.g. through networking activities).
  • Change how we value work and build programs to help those who have been excluded from the labour market (e.g. people who stayed how to raise a family and now want to do other work).

Mental Wellbeing

Supporting mental wellbeing and combating loneliness.

Build social connections within communities and neighbourhoods to better serve vulnerable residents.

  • Connect youth and seniors to strengthen empathy and technology literacy.
  • Deliver physical wellness resources (e.g. nutrition or exercise tips at the doors of seniors).
  • Create solutions for quality connections within neighbourhoods to better connect and serve the needs of all residents (including those who are marginalized).

Make workplace improvements.

  • Implement a workplace wellness certification to hold employers accountable for mental wellbeing.
  • Promote flexibility in ways of working and how to engage with organizations to humanize and support mental health in the workplace through an intersectional lens.


Building and maintaining the trust in our communities and leaders that’s needed to rebuild.

Strengthen trust and understanding by amplifying voices and empowering uncomfortable, but necessary conversations.

  • Leverage a diverse network and create safe spaces for intentional conversations about privilege, education/awareness and collective action to tackle long-standing systemic barriers.
  • Focus on how to equitably restore the economy.
  • Identify organizations that have been recognized in the D&I space and bring them into “how” they can continue to take action.

Improve data collection and accountability to build back better.

  • Create digestible/accessible information for communities on what and who they need to know.
  • Create accountability for technology companies to increase transparency, communication and trust.
  • Better capture, analyze and use intersectional data to be more inclusive of communities.

Making a Commitment

Taking action requires making a commitment to change. Here’s a sample of the commitments made by Forum participants to help our region recover.

“Work on initiatives to embed mental wellness in the culture of my organization.”

“Challenge individuals and companies to hire or mentor more Black youth.”

“Encourage rising leaders to improve hiring practices in their organizations.”

“Use my privilege to amplify the voices of those who may not have a platform for their inequality.”

“Join an organization to community effort to improve employment opportunities”

Watch recordings from the Forum

Opening Session

Closing Session

Next Steps

It’s clear the greater Toronto region faces two pandemics—COVID-19 and the systemic racism and deep injustice that has for too long defined our society. Both will require sustained efforts to build back better. Now CivicAction and our partners must turn good intentions and words into concrete actions.

Over the coming months, CivicAction will begin by taking action on four key ideas that lend themselves to CivicAction’s collective impact model and diverse stakeholder network.

On Trust, we will start with:

  • Leverage our diverse network to create safe spaces for intentional conversations about privilege, education/awareness and collective action to tackle long-standing systemic barriers.
  • Create digestible/accessible information for communities and leaders that lays out opportunities for concrete action on inclusion and equity.

On Re:Employment, we will start with:

  • Encourage employers to create a more accessible recruitment process for traditionally underrepresented groups including a double click on how we reshape traditional job postings.
  • Connect leaders and vulnerable populations as a way to increase the number and diversity of informal connections (e.g. paired networking).

We will continue to seek out opportunities to support mental health and tackle isolation through CivicAction’s programs and share ideas and other outputs from the Forum with our network of partners who are well-positioned to take action.

Stay Up To Date With What’s Next

Special thanks to our Re:Action Forum partners:

Deloitte Greenhouse