Canvas - CivicAction's 2019 Summit Agenda

All invitations are non-transferable. 

We already have the paints, pencils, and perspectives needed to leave a mark on our Canvas. Let’s make it together.

8:30 AM

Registration and breakfast

9:00 AM

Canvas Welcome: Framing the Challenges

We’ve talked to experts, consulted with senior and emerging leaders, brought lived experience to the table and have leveraged thoughtful analysis and practical insight from around the globe to pinpoint the pressing challenges that need artful solutions. Join hundreds of other civic leaders from all sectors as we set the stage for a day of action to see how we can tackle these challenges together. A slate of speakers and a panel of status quo-breakers will kick off a day of action.

  • Zabeen Hirji, Strategic Advisor, Private and Public Sector, Board Chair, CivicAction
  • Tim Hockey, President and CEO, TD Ameritrade and Chair, CivicAction Leadership Foundation
  • Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO, CivicAction

Panel Discussion: Challenging the Status Know

The complex challenges we’re tackling at the Summit require creativity, can-doism, and reconsidering what we think we know. Five civic leaders who have mounted challenges to the “status know” in each of the Summit topics discuss the assumptions, ways of thinking, and commonly held beliefs that are standing in the way of us building the region we want to live in.

  • Moderator: Matt Galloway, Host of Metro Morning, CBC Radio
  • Abigail Moriah, Senior Development Manager, New Commons Development
  • Dr. Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey, W.L MacKenzie King Fellow and Lecturer on History, Harvard University
  • Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
  • Michelle Powell, Detective Constable, Toronto Police Services, Sex Crimes Units
  • Mandy Rennehan, Founder and CEO, Freshco

10:30 AM


10:50 AM

 During this activity block you may register for one of the activities to the right.

AM Activity Option 1

Roll Up Your Sleeves: ResilienCity - Natural Disaster and Extreme Weather

Extreme weather events such as flash floods and heat waves are becoming more frequent and pose a growing threat to the wellbeing of GTHA businesses, people, and communities. How might we reduce risk, increase preparedness, and enhance our ability to recover from extreme weather events? In this session, we’ll learn about the challenge of strengthening urban resiliency to weather shocks in our region before sitting down to brainstorm creative solutions together.


AM Activity Option 2

Listen, Learn, Do: Reframing Where and How we Live - Film Screening and Panel Discussion

The housing affordability crisis threatens our quality of life. As the region’s rental vacancy rates hit new lows and the cost of housing rises, increasing residential density can help house a growing urban population. How might we create the conditions to increase density within existing neighbourhoods more evenly across our cities to unlock this untapped potential? Dive into the affordable housing crisis through the lens of a short film before getting deeper on solutions in an interactive panel discussion with cross-sector experts.

  • Moderator: Farah Nasser, Anchor, Global News
  • Mazyar Mortazavi, President and CEO, TAS
  • Parul Bansal, real estate entrepreneur and urban advocate
  • Jason Thorne, General Manager of Planning and Economic Development, City of Hamilton
  • Naama Blonder, Architect and Urban Designer, SmartDensity


AM Activity Option 3

Art Immersion: Unlocking Our Inclusive Cities

We live in the most diverse region in the world, but senior leadership (e.g. in executive teams, boardrooms, and elected offices) still does not reflect that. What are the barriers preventing diverse populations from accessing senior leadership roles, and how might we remove these barriers to inclusion? This session is a facilitated walking discussion through the AGO’s world-famous galleries. We’ll use art as a jumping-off point for a deep dive into ideas and insights about how to remove barriers to inclusive leadership in the GTHA.


12:20 PM

Lunch and networking


1:30 PM

 During this activity block you may register for one of the activities to the right.

PM Activity Option 1

Roll Up Your Sleeves: Life in the Skills Lane

Automation, the rise of part-time and contract work, artificial intelligence, and other major shifts are transforming work in the GTHA. How might we equip workers, especially youth, with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in this new reality and engage employers, governments, and educational institutions in the solutions? In this session, we’ll learn about how the meaning of work is changing in our region before sitting down to brainstorm creative solutions together.


PM Activity Option 2

Listen, Learn, Do: Human, Not Capital

Anywhere there’s a highway and the internet, people, especially young women and girls, are vulnerable to being sexually exploited for someone else’s profit. The GTHA is a major hub for sex trafficking in Canada, where the average age of exploitation is 17 but has been known to start as early as 13 years-old. How might we build new partnerships to improve awareness and prevent sex trafficking in the GTHA? Learn about this hidden urban issue through the lens of a TIFF-curated short film before exploring solutions in a panel discussion with civic leaders who are gaining ground in the fight to stop sex trafficking.

  • Moderator: Peter Sloly, National Security and Justice Leader, Deloitte; Board Member, CivicAction
  • Casandra Diamond, sex trafficking survivor and Founder, BridgeNorth Women’s Mentorship & Advocacy Services
  • Tania Ferlin, Corporate Group Sales Manager, Hyatt Regency Toronto, volunteer with Meeting Professionals Against Human Trafficking
  • Kim Derry, Ret. Deputy Chief, Toronto Police Services CEO & President, Met-Scan Canada Ltd.
  • Lily Lumsden, Senior Regional Manager, Community, Employment & Immigrant Services and the YMCA of Hamilton / Burlington / Brantford


PM Activity Option 3

Art Immersion: All Canvas Topics

Inclusive leadership, affordable housing, the future of work, sex trafficking, and resiliency to climate change are five of the most pressing issues affecting the GTHA today. How might we take collective, creative action NOW? This session is a facilitated walking discussion through the AGO’s world-famous galleries. We’ll use art as a jumping-off point for a deep dive into ideas and insights about all five of the Summit agenda topics.


3:00 PM



3:30 PM

The Art of the Possible

We’ve spent the day coming up with ideas, and now it’s time to explore the art of the possible. The afternoon slate of speakers and panelists will explore what’s next and how we can get there faster, together.

Panel Discussion: A New Canvas

Action based on effective partnerships is critical, but collaboration can be a tough sell in divisive times. This panel will discuss how we develop new ways to re-build communication and dialogue across social, economic, and ideological lines in our efforts to tackle the five Summit topics.

  • Moderator: Jamison Steeve, Executive Director, Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity
  • Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director, Soulpepper Theatre
  • Adrienne Batra, Editor-in-Chief, The Toronto Sun
  • Riley Yesno, Indigenous youth advocate and journalist
  • Scott Evans, General Manager, Edelman Canada


5:00 PM









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