The Social Economy Centre (SEC) of the University of Toronto promotes and disseminates multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on issues affecting the social economy.

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Q & A with CURA Community Partner: the Atkinson Housing Co-operative

Interview with Associate Professor Jorge Sousa, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta, on the Atkinson Housing Co-operative case study

1.Please describe the portion of your organisation that is involved with the CURA.

The Atkinson Housing Co-operative is located in downtown Toronto and was originally called the Alexandra Park Housing Project. Since 1969, there has been a strong active tradition in the form of a residents’ association in Alexandra Park. In the 1990s residents mobilized to deal with growing drug use and other social problems. They wanted greater community-based control in order to develop and implement local solutions that could improve the health of their community. In a referendum in 1996, 72 per cent voted to convert their project to a co-operative. After much community development and tireless negotiations the conversion occurred in 2003, which is arguably the result of a 12 year effort that relied on the commitment and expertise of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto.

The Atkinson Housing Co-operative has functioned well over the last 9 years, and coming up to the 10th year anniversary they have much to celebrate. The property has not fallen apart. There is an engaged membership, and a board of directors that are elected annually. The property management and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto have been pivotal to supporting the co-operative, but the final responsibility rests with the members.

UK: Government launches community support service to help investment in local projects

A support service to help communities to control their resources was launched by Don Foster, parliamentary under-secretary of state for communities and local governments, at the Community Development Finance Association's annual conference at the beginning of this month in the UK. The community Shares Unit with a budget £590,000 over three years by Co-operative UK which promotes cooperative enterprises, with support from the network for community-led organizations. This will allow more people to invest small amounts to locally organized projects without the regulations involved in a conventional share issue, and the unit is aiming at supporting 500 social ventures and back 200 share issues.

Don Foster says "We are shifting control away from Whitehall, handing communities the powers they need to run their own affairs ... Across the country, communities are showing they have the ambition and determination to secure ownership of important local assets and get new projects off the ground."

Read more at ThirdSector.

Q & A with CURA Community Partner: Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training

Interview with Professor Mary Foster, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University on the Miziwe Biik case study.

1. Please provide us with a brief description of your organisation.

Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training was established in 1991 by and for the Aboriginal community in Toronto to address the unique training and employment needs of Aboriginal people. With its staff of 15, it offers programs and services to the Aboriginal community including career and employment counselling, community project training, skills development training, employment and training placement and an employment resource centre, where clients can access computers, the Internet, fax machines, as well as other employment-related resources. There are approximately 1000 client visits per month, and this number includes multiple visits from the same client.

In 2004 the Miziwe Biik Development Corporation was created to facilitate the economic advancement of the Aboriginal community within the GTA. This led to the 2007 establishment of the Aboriginal Business Resource Centre (ABRC) to provide entrepreneurs access to business training and skills development as well as microloans. The centre has about 75 clients per year, who come through a referral from Miziwe Biik’s employment and training services and programs, through the small business course, from Aboriginal Business Canada and other Aboriginal organizations in the GTA.

2. What model are you using for the research?

The Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act: What you need to know for your nonprofit or charity

Wed, 2012-10-03 12:00 - 13:30

Date: Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012
Time: Noon to 1:30pm
Location: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor St. West, (St. George Subway Station) Room 3-104

*Free- no registration required


LYNN EAKIN, Policy Advisor, Ontario Nonprofit Network 
will discuss how Ontario's new Not-for-profit Corporations Act borrows heavily from business corporate law but nonprofit corporations differ in significant ways from business corporations.

Join us to find out how the new act will change corporate governance in the sector.

Webcast: This event will be webcast live. View the webcast here. To be sure you can view the webcast, please review these instructions for preparing your browser

Evergreen Brick Works: A Social Enterprise

Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 12-1:30pm

***Free - No registration required

This event will also be webcast live.  View the webcast here.

Evergreen Brick Works is operated by Evergreen, a national charity that makes cities more livable. Since 1991, Evergreen has helped half a million Canadians transform their local landscapes. By deepening the connection between people and nature, and empowering Canadians to take a hands-on approach to their urban environments, Evergreen is improving the health of our cities—now and for the future.


Tara Rogerson, Associate Director of Social Enterprise at Evergreen, describes her experience while starting a multi-million dollar social enterprise within an established charity.

Anthony Westenberg, Manager of Public Relations, shares his experience in building a social enterprise from a marketing perspective.

The panel will focus on:

  • Evergreen Brick Works’ Social Enterprise model;
  • What is necessary to make a social enterprise work; and
  • The challenges encountered and overcome along the social enterprise’s development

Location: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto,
252 Bloor St. West, (St. George Subway Station) Room 3-104

Bring your lunch and a mug. Water, coffee, tea, and fresh-baked snacks from Lemon & Allspice
will be provided.

For more information, please contact Andrea at

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