This week marks the third annual Cities Reducing Poverty Summit. This year's summit focuses on the theme of business engagement and how that engagement drives broader community understanding and transformation.
The Prosperity Roundtable was proud to be a part of a panel presentation on Living Wage. The presentation provided background on the growth of precarious work in Canada, shared examples of what’s happening in communities, what’s happening provincially and nationally, and an inspiring business shared their reasons for a why a Living Wage is so important to their organization. Thank you Muskoka Brewery for your inspiring leadership as a Canadian Living Wage employer.
Mayors from around Canada spoke about the need to work differently and to spend money differently; procurement processes are being upended around Canada to ensure that municipal money is spent in a way that benefits community.
We were reminded by Municipal leaders that always putting people at the centre of the equation is paramount, that communities must revisit rules and find ways to include everyone in the circle of prosperity. Hamilton’s Mayor Fred Eisenberger shared with the crowd gathered that investment in people is just as important as investing in bricks and mortar (and low and behold, Hamilton’s City Council approved TODAY a $50 Million investment in affordable housing and poverty reduction).
Business leaders talked about how they are shifting the conversation from simply donating money to changing the way business is done; for example, having inclusive hiring practices, joining Living Wage campaigns, and simply by revisiting benefits packages and providing employees with more trust and flexibility.
David Alston, New Brunswick’s first ever Chief Entrepreneur in Residence encouraged us to seek out the people who use the words, “I”, “we” and “will”. This work is hard, and sometimes challenging to see progress, but as Alan Broadbent of Maytree rightfully pointed out, progress sometimes is slow, but that progress can still be transformational. He drew the analogy of early explorers circumnavigating the world and how different our reality would be if those explorers chose to throw in towel and settle because the process was just taking too long.
This work is tough, but it’s meaningful and unpacking the issues, asking the tough questions and getting to the heart of the systems change that needs to happen is work we can do together. A speaker at the conference shared a quote, “prosperity in a society is the accumulation of solutions to human problems”. Together we can build greater prosperity.