For more than 10 years, CivicAction has played the role of neutral sandbox, bringing together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle challenges facing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Our Impact Why We Exist

We are in the business of building partnerships and taking action through campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region.

In addition to this work, CivicAction believes that we need to cultivate and grow strong civic leaders for today and tomorrow. To accomplish this, we offer a suite of programs including CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network and DiverseCity Fellows. We believe there is nothing more important to the future of our cities than preparing those who will lead them.

Our Story What We Do


Since being founded as the Toronto City Summit Alliance in 2002 (we changed our name to CivicAction in late 2010), we have provided a neutral platform for collaboration and leadership focused on improving our region’s social, economic and environmental future.

We engage the key players – including the “unusual suspects” –from business, labour, the academic, non-profit and voluntary sectors, and all three orders of government and leverage their collective energy, networks and thought leadership.

Since our 2003 launch report, Enough Talk: An Action Plan for the Toronto Region, we and over 7000 business, academic, government, labour and not-for-profit partners have launched innovative responses to intractable and emerging challenges such as capitalizing on our diversity advantage, renewing our infrastructure, and modernizing our income support systems. We focus on issues where there is a clear consensus for action and where progress can be made quickly.

Visit our Reports page for examples of how we’ve driven real progress on pressing issues, and our Timeline for a snapshot of our impacts to date.

Our Approach

We are engaging and informing residents and civic leaders by: advocating for and driving collaborative solutions to regional challenges; organizing forums, conferences and seminars; and developing and publishing guidelines, public policy positions and other material to drive social, environmental and economic prosperity.

Every four years, CivicAction hosts a Greater Toronto Summit, convening hundreds of city builders and leaders from across the region and all sectors to meet one another and chart an action plan to address the issues facing our region. Our Greater Toronto Summits draw attention to the critical challenges and opportunities and set the civic agenda for CivicAction and its partners. For highlights on the 2015 Summit - Better City Bootcamp, check out our video

Now, more than ever, we need people who can create the future, not simply react to the realities of today.

CivicAction supports the region’s rising leaders by:

•       helping them expand and diversify their networks,

•       offering experiential learning opportunities, and

•       providing support to groups working to address complex regional challenges.

These rising leaders will champion initiatives and lead social change.

Our Programs How We Do It

Emerging Leaders Network

Originating in 2006, CivicAction's Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) is a 900-strong group of rising city-builders whose mission is to advance the Toronto region through awareness, influence and action. Members are managers, directors, and early executives who represent a wide range of industries and sectors across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

Each year ELN offers more than 30 events to build the skills of young leaders. ELN members have led high-impact projects such as the Pan-Am Path, Toronto Homecoming, and Project Neutral.   

Why Leadership Matters? 

"If we want to keep our communities vibrant, we'll need to ensure tomorrow's leaders are ready to take on the new challenges that will come their way, some of which we likely haven't even imagined yet." Tim Hockey, Group Head, Canadian Banking and Wealth Management, TD Bank Group and President & Chief Executive Officer, TD Canada Trust

"Civic leadership matters because inspires everyone to take part and pride in their communities which inevitably leads to better impact." Tinashe Mafukidze, 2010 DiverseCity Fellow

DiverseCity Fellows

DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project launched in 2008 to change the face of leadership in the Greater Toronto Region. Maytree and CivicAction knew that a more diverse leadership was required to create a stronger and more prosperous city region.

CivicAction runs DiverseCity Fellows, a one-year leadership program for 25 rising city-builders. Applications for the 2015-16 DiverseCity Fellows are now open! For more information on the application process, see here

From the Toroto Vital Signs® Report:

  • Since 2009, DiverseCity Counts has looked at visible minority representation in leadership across a variety of sectors in the GTA. While some sectors have made progress over the years, as a whole, visible minorities remain under-represented in leadership.

Race to Reduce

Race to Reduce is a unique, four-year corporate challenge which is aiming to reduce energy consumption in participating office buildings by 10%. It encourages behavioral and positive team-building amongst landlords, tenants and their employees.

Approximately 200 buildings covering 69 million sq. ft. of commercial office space in the GTHA had reduced collective energy use by 7.9 per cent after three years, 2% shy of the four-year reduction goal of 10%. The program is on track to take more than 3,200 cars off the road and generate $9.6 million dollars in energy savings.

From the Toroto Vital Signs® Report:

  • The number of LEED certified buildings has increased by about 60 each year for the last two years. In 2011 there were 59; the number has since doubled to 123 in 2012 and tripled to 186 in 2013
  • In 2012, overall greenhouse gas emissions were 25% lower than in 1990.
  • The City did not, however, meet its target of a 20% reduction in locally generated air quality pollutants from 2004 levels, by 2012.

Your 32 - Regional Transportation Campaign

Launched in the fall of 2012, CivicAction's Your32 regional transportation campaign brought citizens, community leaders, and elected officials together to build public support for a better and financially sustainable regional transportation system. The campaign saw half of all elected officials from across the GTHA and across levels of government join thousands of residents to pledge their support for new sources of funding for transportation, resulting in a $15 billion dedicated investment in regional transportation for the GTHA in the July 2014 Ontario budget.

Together we can build better infrastructure and, in turn, better communities.

Escalator: Jobs for Youth Facing Barriers

Up to 83,000 young people across the region that are not in employment or education, and many of those young people face multiple barriers to economic opportunities. Our vision is one of a Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area where all young people thrive, and their talents contribute to the regional economy.

Launched in September 2014, Escalator engages the private sector in developing solutions for youth unemployment by collaborating on initiatives that ensure youth gain relevant and in-demand job skills and experience. The program boasts major private sector organizations on its Youth Champions Council such as RBC, TD, Accenture Canada, Cisco, LinkedIn Canada, H&M and Virgin Mobile Canada. Partnerships exist with United Way Toronto, Ten Thousand Coffees, Linkedin Canada, and NPower Canada, which saw the first cohort of 24 GTHA underserved youth graduate from its IT skills training and internship program.        

What You Can Do

We believe that everyone has a role to play in our shared success, and we collaborate with hundreds of volunteer leaders to create a brighter future for our city-region.

Here are some ways you can help us tackle the region’s toughest social, economic, and environmental challenges:


Sarah Harris
Director, Communications


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