Metcalf Foundation News
Winter 2020
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There are moments when things converge in such a way that one sees the catalytic potential of working in common cause. This past quarter was one of those.

Over the past few years, our Environment Program has been seeding the growth of a set of conversations across the country about how to connect what have often been two separate tracks of environment sector activity, one focused on climate action and the other on protecting biodiversity. By supporting work at the intersection of climate, biodiversity, and sustainable livelihoods, we are also trying to bridge what are real and growing divides in Canada, including tensions between urban and rural communities, and those living in the north or south, or eastern and western regions of the country. The Foundation remains committed to advancing efforts towards reconciliation through direct support for Indigenous-led conservation and stewardship.

The Nature-Based Climate Solutions Summit, held in Ottawa in early February, was a moment where much of this work, and the people leading it, gathered for the first time in Canada. The sold-out summit convened hundreds of people from coast to coast to coast who are interested in moving from big ideas to specific actions on nature-based solutions to climate change. We heard from Indigenous leaders and industry representatives, farmers and foresters, and a range of NGO sector leaders, to name just a few. We also heard from ministers of government and senior civil servants about the unique policy window that exists right now to inform how the federal government delivers on laudable commitments they have made to nature-based climate solutions.

The energy and enthusiasm in the room was palpable, with a real sense that there is a growing desire for coordinated responses to our planet’s twin environmental crises: biodiversity loss and climate change. The work ahead is daunting, but for that moment in early February, we saw and felt the potential of what can be achieved by working together in common cause.

A recent highlight in our Inclusive Local Economies Program, was the release of our third report on working poverty in the Toronto region by long-time Innovation Fellow John Stapleton (with contributions by Dr. Carl James and Dr. Kofi Hope). For the first time, John used disaggregated data to reveal the extent to which working poverty has grown in the last decade and the disproportionate representation of racialized people, especially in the Black community, amongst the working poor. These findings were widely reported, including in the Toronto Star and on CBC Radio One’s Metro Morning.

Based on the intense level of interest in this report, we commissioned a special series, asking three colleagues to reflect on some of the realities facing the working poor. Ajeev Bhatia, Manager of Policy/Community Connections at the Centre for Connected Communities, Claire-Hélène Heese-Boutin, Community Development Coordinator with West Neighbourhood House, and Maya Roy, CEO of YWCA Canada, all offer insights into how to address this escalating social problem.

I hope you are inspired, informed, and motivated by the stories that follow. And as always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Sandy Houston
President and CEO

In early February, over 400 leaders from across the country gathered in Ottawa for the Nature-Based Climate Solutions Summit. This two-day summit was organized by a collection of Canada’s leading nature and conservation organizations, and Metcalf along with the Government of Canada were the presenting sponsors.

Inclusive Local Economies
Feature Publication

Written by Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton, with contributions by Dr. Carl James and Dr. Kofi Hope, The Working Poor in the Toronto Region was featured on the front page of the Toronto Star. Amongst its many findings, the report notes that while racialized people make up just 46 per cent of the Toronto region’s workforce, they account for more than 63 per cent of the working poor.

Inclusive Local Economies
Feature Publication

As a response to Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton’s report, The Working Poor in the Toronto Region, Metcalf invited three colleagues to share their thoughts in a special series. Ajeev Bhatia discusses the importance of place-based solutions and his concerns that the rezoning of employment lands in Scarborough will further eliminate local employment. Claire-Hélène Heese-Boutin writes about the financial challenges experienced by an increasing number of low-wage workers participating in the informal economy. Maya Roy explores working poverty through a gender-based and intersectional lens to address anti-Black racism in order to create policy solutions that prioritize the needs of equity-seeking communities.

Metcalf Highlights

This is a year-long, full-time, contract position beginning in late May/early June 2020. Deadline to apply is March 23.

The Metcalf Foundation works with Canadians to improve the health and vibrancy of our communities, our culture, and our environment.

Metcalf Foundation The George Cedric Metcalf
Charitable Foundation

38 Madison Avenue
Toronto, ON
M5R 2S1 Canada
Tel. 416-926-0366

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The Metcalf Foundation office is located on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. Today, the meeting place of "Tkaronto" (Toronto) continues to be home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to work together on this land.