Ontario Community Hubs Action Plan Released
Strategic Framework Provides a Roadmap for Public Spaces to Better Serve Communities
Premier Kathleen Wynne's Community Hub Framework Advisory Group has released a report to guide the creation of community hubs. The report, Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan, is an important first step towards bringing services together and using spaces to better serve Ontarians. Community hubs are part of the Premier's vision for making the province the best place to work, live and raise a family.
The Advisory Group's action plan lays out eight overarching recommendations, which the province has accepted and will begin to implement, including:
- Creating a provincial lead for community hubs
- Fostering integrated service delivery
- Developing a provincial strategy for public properties
- Removing barriers and creating incentives
- Supporting integrated and long-term local planning
- Ensuring financial sustainability
- Increasing local capacity
- Evaluating and monitoring outcomes.
A community hub can be a school, neighbourhood centre or other public space that offers co-ordinated services such as education, health care and social services.
The Premier appointed the Advisory Group, chaired by Special Advisor Karen Pitre, last spring. To inform its recommendations, the Advisory Group heard from more than 350 organizations and held over 70 meetings with stakeholders, including sector organizations, local service providers across the province and provincial ministries. Input was also gathered through an interactive Community Talk website, which received over 6,000 hits, and an online survey, which garnered over 400 responses.
Communities and stakeholders across Ontario are encouraged to continue to provide input on the implementation of the recommendations.
Supporting the evolution of community hubs to provide high-quality and accessible community services is part of the government's four-part plan to build Ontario up. The plan includes investing in people's talent and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province's history, creating a dynamic and innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- In the Throne Speech and her mandate letters to several ministers, the Premier identified the development of a policy on community hubs as a priority for the Ontario government.
- During the engagement process, the Advisory Group identified close to 60 community hubs that are already established or in the planning stages in rural, suburban and urban neighbourhoods across Ontario.
- The Premier’s Community Hub Framework Advisory Group is comprised of individuals from a cross-section of community, municipal, health care and education sectors.
“I want to thank our Special Advisor, Karen Pitre, and the Advisory Group for their ongoing efforts to develop a community hubs framework. Our government is fully supportive of the recommendations laid out in this report, and we will continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to transform public service delivery to better meet the needs of Ontarians.”
“Community hubs are about bringing services together to better serve people and the communities they live in. This report reflects ideas and insights from hundreds of people and organizations across Ontario. There is a high level of engagement around community hubs and I look forward to working with the province and communities on implementing these recommendations.”