Our Journey

“I believe the province needs to remove barriers to community hubs and provide support to build strong communities.” – Premier Kathleen Wynne

In March 2015, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne appointed a Special Advisor to the Premier on Community Hubs, Karen Pitre, to work with and lead a Community Hubs Framework Advisory Group to identify provincial barriers in community hub development and to provide recommendations for reducing these barriers and supporting community hub development.

Karen Pitre, with the support of the advisory group and a government secretariat, spent 90 days immersed in the local ‘lived’ experience of community hubs. Research was conducted and consultations were held with provincial stakeholders. Input was received through an online survey, written submissions, emails and letters. The advisory group heard from 350 organizations and participated in over 70 meetings with internal and external stakeholders, including sector organizations, local service providers and many provincial ministries. Over 400 responses were received through the online survey.

In August 2015, Karen Pitre and the advisory group presented a Framework and Action Plan to the Ontario government that included 27 recommendations on how to support community hub development. The government committed to implementing all of the recommendations.

While progress has been made, there is still more to do to remove barriers and provide the tools and information needed to build capacity, innovate and meet evolving community needs.

Strategic Framework and Action Plan

Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan, centred on the question: What can/should the Province do to make community hub development easier and more sensitive to community needs? Based on the feedback from the community, the Action Plan included 27 recommendations. The government committed to implementing all of the recommendations.

Many communities and organizations expressed the need to build local capacity by having a centralized source for information, including: developing partnerships, operating sustainable hubs, how to measure outcomes, skills training and professional development, and data and tools to inform community planning.

Launched in May 2017, this website is intended to support information sharing across sectors and build local capacity. There are many examples of successful community hubs in Ontario, some of which have been operating for decades. Many experienced groups and individuals are willing to share their lessons learned and support other communities seeking to launch similar initiatives.

CommunityHubsOntario.ca is your source for community hub-related information where you will find information on:

  • resources
  • data and tools
  • best practices and troubleshooting
  • tips on strengthening partnerships and coordinating efforts

What is a community hub?

A community hub is a space in which multiple services – such as health, social, cultural, recreational, etc. – are located together, creating a one-stop shop for people in the community to access the resources they need.

Whether located in a high-density urban neighbourhood, a rural community, or even online, each hub is as unique as the community it serves.

Community hubs typically include :

  • Co-location, clustering and integrating a range of community facilities, health and social services under one roof
  • Services or amenities that respond to and are shaped by the unique circumstances, needs and assets of the surrounding community
  • Are models of financial and operational sustainability

Sources

Research undertaken by the Community Hubs Division in the Ministry of Infrastructure uncovered several foundational reports and resources that have helped our thinking about supporting and enabling community hub development in the Province. These include:

Stages of a community hub

City of Ryde NSW, Australia

Community Hubs: How to set up, run and sustain a community hub to transform local service provision

My Community, Locality UK

The Case for Implementing Fully Integrated Rural Health Hubs on a Pilot Project Basis

Ontario Hospital Association

Community Hub Development: Building Community through Collaboration

Trent University report for the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network

Community Hubs in Halton

Halton Social Development

Community Hubs: A Scan of Toronto Summary Report

Itergovernmental Committee for Economic and Labour Force Development report for Woodgreen Community Services

Feasibility Study of Community Hubs for the Parramatta Local Government Area – Briefing Paper
City of Parramatta, NSW Australia

How to Run a successful Community Hub

Community Hubs Australia

National Community Hubs Program: Delivery and Outcomes Report

Community Hubs Australia

Building Capacity, Sharing Values: Shared Spaces and Social Purpose Real Estate

Tides Canada

A Toolkit To Outline The Development Of The ‘Hub Model Of Integrated Services’ In Halton

Our Kids Halton

Key Dates

March, 2015

Premier appoints a Special Advisor on Community Hubs (Karen Pitre) to lead the Premier’s Community Hubs Framework Advisory Group

April 2015

Consultations and input received from over 350 Ontario organisations and 400 responses to the online survey

August 2015

Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan released including 27 recommendations to enable community hub development in Ontario.

Government accepts, and begins working with partners to implement all recommendations.

Spring 2016

2016 Ontario Budget – announces funding to develop and maintain a Resource Network to support local capacity.

August 2016

One-year progress update on Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan released

May 2017

CommunityHubsOntario.ca launched

2017 Ontario Community Hubs Summit held