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Conference Program

conference program












TONYA SURMAN   Founding Executive Director and CEO, Centre for Social Innovation
It's Up to Us: Collaboration, Social Innovation and our role as Community Animator

In her keynote address, Tonya Surman will inspire and delight as she explores how citizens are changing the world, how Community Animation is central to this work, and how, when we bring our passion and agency to the change we want to see, anything is possible.

Leveraging the power of Social Innovation, Tonya will reflect on the role of Community Animators to change the world.

smallsurmanTonya Surman is a social entrepreneur, community animator and network choreographer with a passion for bringing life to world-changing projects. Tonya is the founding executive director and CEO of the Centre for Social Innovation which catalyzes and inspires social innovation in Toronto and around the world. Tonya's work fundamentally embodies collaboration, entrepreneurship and systems change. Tonya has been creating and leading social ventures since 1987, and has built her body of knowledge around multi-sectoral collaboration and entrepreneurship for social change.


FRANÇOIS BOILEAU   French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario
Because Vulnerable Populations Will Never Complain

Ontario is home to many minority groups whether they are visible or not. These groups, including Francophones, must often assert themselves to claim their place in society.

Commissioner Boileau will remind us why we have to adapt our services to serve these vulnerable populations, such as children, seniors, people with mental health challenges and immigrants. He will also underline that many individuals hesitate to assert their right because they feel intimidated or worry such a request could bring about negative repercussions. For this reason we have to focus our efforts on "people that will never make a complaint because they are already in a vulnerable state of mind, so they're not confronting the administration."

In his presentation, he will also point out the first steps organizations should make in order to actively offer services to vulnerable populations and the importance of partnership and collaboration.

Mr. François Boileau is currently pursuing his third mandate as French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario. Since his appointment, Commissioner Boileau has worked to improve the quality of French-language services in Ontario in order to meet the needs of the Francophone community, ensure its full development, and preserve its culture.



MARK HOLLAND   Director, Health Promotion and Public Affairs, Heart and Stroke Foundation (Ontario)
How to Empower Communities Toward Positive Change

Advocacy is a lever through which we can influence public policy as well as community and corporate behaviour. Mark will demonstrate how advocacy can influence governmental public policy and ultimately aims to promote action on legislative, regulatory, program spending and public awareness initiatives at the local, provincial and national levels. The mobilization of communities to a cause strengthens the 'ask' and the level of engagement and commitment.

Having first-hand experience as a decision-maker, an elected MP and Council member, Mark will reflect on practical and impactful approaches to gain attention and make your ask a top priority on elected officials' busy agendas.


Mark Holland is the Director, Health Promotion and Public Affairs for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ontario. He manages a portfolio which encompasses advocacy, the Health Promotion, Resuscitation, Public Affairs and Heart Health Children and Youth teams as well as community and health partnerships.

Prior to joining Foundation in 2011, Mark was the Member for Parliament for the riding of Ajax-Pickering from 2004 until May 2011. Previously, Mark served on the Durham and Pickering councils both as a Councillor and acting Mayor of Pickering.



Presenters from across Ontario will share their experiences, challenges and successes on the road to building healthier communities. Both introductory and advanced workshops will be offered to meet the needs of both new and experienced practitioners.

Concurrent workshops and presenters:

  • 8-80 Cities' Make a Place for People Project: Creating healthier public spaces. Presented by: 8-80 Cities
  • A Rights-based Approach to Community Engagement: Working with clients and communities of persons with disabilities  Presented by: ARCH Disability Law Centre
  • Using the Canadian Index of Wellbeing to improve quality of life for Ontarians  Presented by: Association of Ontario Health Centres & City of Guelph, Community Wellbeing Initiative
  • Healing Through Community Gardens: Building a healthy environment to support mental health  Presented by: Central Toronto Community Health Centres
  • Shaping Healthy Neighbourhoods: Hamilton's Neighbourhood Action Strategy  Presented by: City of Hamilton, Neighbourhood Development Office & Hamilton Community Foundation
  • Rethink Poverty: Change minds. Change lives  Presented by: Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?: De-mystifying policy  Presented by: HC Link
  • Community Engagement: Techniques and tools for engaging a diversity of community members  Presented by: HC Link
  • Where We Live, Work and Play: Building environmentally and socially healthier communities Presented by: HC Link
  • Turning Around Albert: One year towards a healthy public housing building  Presented by: Houselink Community Homes & Fred Victor Centre
  • Implementing the Good Food Box Program in Northern and Rural Ontario Community Settings  Presented by: Noojmowin Teg Health Centre, Child Poverty Task Force & Good Food Box
  • By-law Development as a Health Promotion Strategy: Assessing municipal readiness  Presented by: Public Health Ontario
  • From 'Serving' to 'Enabling': Framework and practices of co-creating healthy newcomer communities  Presented by: South Riverdale Community Health Centre
  • Investing in Families: An innovative partnership project supporting vulnerable families toward resiliency  Presented by: Toronto Public Health
  • Working Together to Build Community: The journey continues  Presented by: United Way of Chatham-Kent, Municipality of Chatham-Kent & TD Canada Trust
  • A Recipe for Change: Growing a regional network around food  Presented by: YWCA Peterborough Haliburton & Peterborough County-City Health Unit
  • Youth Engagement in Preventing Substance Misuse: What we've learned and how we learned it (Panel Session)  Panelists: West Nipissing Community Health Centre & Peterborough Drug Strategy
  • Digging Deep: Policy stories from Ontario communities (Panel Session)  Panelists: TBA
  • Move to Perform: Healthy schools approaches from across Ontario (Panel Session)  Panelists: TBA

View presenter bios

Presentation of WALK Friendly Ontario Awards

HC Link is pleased to partner with Canada Walks to host their announcement of the first WALK Friendly Ontario designation award winners on day two of the conference. Presented over lunch on November 13th, these awards will recognize municipal excellence in walkability by awarding an Honourable Mention, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum designation to towns and cities that are working to make their communities safer and more enjoyable places to walk. WALK Friendly Ontario is a project of Canada Walks.

Nous parlons français!

HC Link is pleased to announce that we will offer simultaneous interpretation services, supported in part by Éducavie, so both Anglophones and Francophones can take advantage of the partially bilingual program.