The Premier’s Advisory Group on Community Hubs published their report, Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan. The report uses a flexible, community-driven definition of hubs and focuses on ways the province can support community planning, integrated service delivery, and the community infrastructure needed for a vibrant network of community hubs across the province.
The Advisory Group sought in-depth feedback from stakeholders, including many in the nonprofit sector. ONN was pleased to be involved in the Advisory Group’s work to date and to see our recommendations well reflected in their report.
Our view? ONN supports the principled approach and overall direction proposed in the Action Plan and look forward to working with the Ontario government and other partners on its implementation.
Quick summary of the Advisory Group’s recommendations
- Integrated service delivery: Establish incentives, increase funding flexibility and reduce the administrative burden to support integration
- Public assets: Develop a provincial strategy for repurposing public properties
- Remove barriers and create incentives: Work with stakeholders to address barriers relating to capital and operating requirements
- Support integrated local planning: Require integrated, client-focused, and long-term community planning, including long-term capital planning for public spaces
- Funding: Use a range of funding tools and explore different financial models, including social finance, Infrastructure Ontario loans, and provincial government ‘anchor tenants,’ to promote sustainability
- Increase local capacity: Support training, a resource exchange, and open government data for service planning
- Measure and evaluate: Explore the social return on investment arising out of hub-based service integration and build in mechanisms to evaluate outcomes
And their top recommendation? The Government of Ontario must appoint a provincial lead for community hubs to coordinate and drive its efforts across ministries.
ONN’s advocacy on community hubs will continue as the provincial government responds to the report’s call to action. And we’ll continue to make the links to nonprofit funding reform and transfer payment modernization, the evaluation and data strategies for the nonprofit sector, and the importance of keeping public assets in community hands.
Nonprofit Input on Community Hubs
In June 2015, ONN sent a submission to this Advisory Group. The submission outlines key recommendations on the definition of community hubs, integrated services, governance, assets, investment, and indicators of success. Prior to our submission, we designed an in-depth survey with Karen’s office to help nonprofits get their voices heard. This survey is now closed (June 5, 2015), but the results went directly to the government, as well as to ONN’s policy team.
ONN knows – and we’re glad the Advisory Group knows this too – that they need to hear from nonprofits about the successful hub models already flourishing, and what’s important for this strategy moving forward. We are also listening for what the nonprofit sector can do together to support the development and resilience of community hubs.
Please see the following background documents for more information about how infrastructure, public lands, and heritage inform the discussion on Community Hubs:
Voices from the Network
- Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
- Ontario Public School Boards’ Association
- Association of Ontario Health Centres
- Langs: Moving Forward with Hubs
- Heritage Considerations for Community Hubs (Alex Corey)
- Toronto Neighbourhood Centres
- Mowat Centre + Atkinson Foundation: Anchor Institutions
- Mowat Centre + Atkinson Foundation: Community Benefits Agreements
Voices from the Public Sector
ONN Webinar: Community Hubs in Ontario -What supports are needed?
On June 1, 2015, ONN hosted a one-hour lunchtime webinar on Community Hubs Supports in Ontario, presented by Special Advisor Karen Pitre. We invited nonprofits from across the province to share their experiences about successful hub models in place, and what’s important for a strategy moving forward.
Feedback from the webinar accompanied responses to the Ontario-wide survey, a partnership with ONN and the Premier’s Community Hub Framework Advisory Group.
Check out the presentation slides below for a summary of Karen’s presentation.