About the Fund

The Community Innovation Fund (CIF) is helping Quebec’s English-speaking communities put social innovation in action by supporting 10 innovative projects that address the needs and priorities of vulnerable English-speaking youth, seniors and newcomers.

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program – Children and Families Component, and managed by the Quebec Community Groups Network, the fund is investing more than $1 million in social initiatives while building partnerships to increase funds that are injected into our communities.


Montreal, March 21, 2017 – The independent selection committee…
Montreal, November 11, 2016 –The Quebec Community Groups…
“Improving the lives of people in our society is why we were…
Montreal – April 28, 2016 The Quebec Community Groups Network…

Community Innovation Fund Projects

  • Coasters Association - Youth

    In collaboration with the Lower North Shore Research Centre’s Innovative Business Incubation & Acceleration Centre and the Université du Québec à Trois Rivières, this project encourages vulnerable youth to remain in Quebec’s Lower North Shore region by providing them with specialized job opportunities. The project also helps encourage young people with post-secondary educations to return to the region, by reinvigorating the local economy and supporting research and development.

  • Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders (CAMI) - Youth

    In a community that is heavily dependent on fishing and the sea, this project implements a hands-on learning program that motivates vulnerable youth to complete high school. This provides necessary skills to enhance their job prospects and deepens their engagement in community life. It also engages local skilled workers to mentor local youth, in small teams or one-on-one.  In this way, participants acquire the practical skills suited to future jobs and opportunities on the Magdalen Islands, rather than the mainland.

  • NDG Seniors Citizen’s Council - Seniors and Newcomers

    This project meets the needs of vulnerable English-speaking seniors who require assistance and accompaniment to medical appointments.  It trains English-speaking baby boomers and newcomers to act as companions and advocates in the health-case sector. By reaching out to both seniors and newcomers, this project helps the elderly deal positively with the health care system, while simultaneously helping increase employability for newcomers.

  • The Depot: Community Food Centre (formerly known as the NDG Food Depot) - Youth

    This project helps minority youth between 16 and 30 learn skills, develop confidence, and get ready to enter the workforce. The organization recently changed its name from the NDG Food Depot. Building from already existing existing kitchen, market, and garden programs, the project implements an adapted leadership and job-skills training program. Participants learn to cultivate productive gardens and run a farmer’s market with the aim of securing sustainable, career-track employment.

  • New Hope Senior Citizens Centre - Seniors

    NDG has one of the highest concentrations of English-speaking seniors in Quebec.  An estimated 41 per cent of these seniors live alone, many with children who have left the province. This project helps NDG seniors at risk of early-onset dementia, depression, and other conditions by using a variety of techniques to get them comfortable with using laptops and tablets to communicate with their loved ones and access online services and support. New Hope also provides space for seniors to socialize in person and online, helping them in this way as well to break free from isolation.

  • Parc Extension Youth Organization (PEYO) - Youth and Newcomers

    ‘I AM: Competent’ improves employability and socioeconomic security for vulnerable youth and newcomers. It teaches participants new skills and provides internships in a professional kitchen environment within a French immersion/English context.

  • Phelps Helps - Youth

    Targeting youth 16 and over, this project aims to improve the French-language abilities of high school students while guiding them in establishing a career path through skills training and post-secondary diplomas. It provides support to those entering the workforce and is establishing a network of local businesses willing to provide training and jobs to local youth.

  • Desta Black Youth Network - Youth

    Young people in the Montreal neighbourhood of Little Burgundy face systemic challenges in their quest for employment and entrepreneurial success. To address this, DESTA’s holistic project integrates an individualized training program for participants. This program is specifically designed to nurture and advance both employment and entrepreneurial elements. The project features an on-site business centre.

  • Voice of English Speaking Quebec / Jeffery Hale Community Partners - Youth

    The project fosters employability skills training for special-needs youth.  It encourages on-the-job training in their language of choice and enhances their capacity to fully contribute to their communities. The project is developing new partnerships with local businesses, helping to improve the socioeconomic security of this vulnerable population group.

  • Youth Employment Services (YES Montreal) - Newcomers

    The goal of this project is to integrate and retain English-speaking newcomers by helping them to integrate into the Quebec economy. It includes targeted employment services and programming – workshops, mentorships, one-on-one support, peer-to-peer support and networking events. The project is aimed at strengthening the social networks of new arrivals seeking stable and meaningful employment.

Governance Committee

The Community Innovation Fund (CIF) Governance Committee provides strategic guidance, oversight and input for the development, implementation and evaluation of all aspects of CIF.

Governance committee members are not responsible for the selection of projects for the CIF. This task will be carried out by an independent selection committee of individuals who are not affiliated with any eligible community organizations.

Members of the CIF Governance Committee:

  • John Buck

    Co-Chair of the Committee
    Executive Director, CEDEC

  • Cathy Brown

    Executive Director, CASA

  • Rachel Hunting

    Executive Director, Townshippers’ Association

  • Ian Kott

    Co-Chair of the Committee
    President, NDG Seniors Citizens’ Council
    Board Member, Tyndale St.Georges Community Centre

  • Michael Doig

    Partner, MNP
    Treasurer, West Island Blues Festival

  • Christopher Neal

    QCGN Board Member

  • Jordan Black

    MBA student, Desautels School of Management, McGill University

Knowledge Mobilization

Social Enterprises Activities – Resources

There exist many resources for groups interested in creating a social enterprise.  Social enterprise offers a range of possibilities for combining for-profit and non-profit goals, as well as the possibility of pursuing philanthropic ends without relying on the traditional means of financing charitable ventures: government grants and private donations.

The Social Economy in Quebec

The social economy in Quebec presents lessons and challenges for internationalizing co-operation. This paper, authored by a leading authority on the subject, Marguerite Mendell, provides an overview of the contemporary social economy in Quebec, its many achievements and results in terms of job creation and the promotion of collective enterprise

Definitions of the Social Economy and its many components

Social financing, cooperatives, social enterprises, collective impact. The field of social economy has many components.  A  glossary on the subject, including associated websites may be a useful introduction to the subject.

Federal Government Social Finance Strategy

The Government of Canada has developed a Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy for Canada.  As part of the process it consulted the English-speaking community of Quebec.  The QCGN submitted a written brief and many community members participated in a live online discussion.

Note there are 2 documents

  1. Consultation document from the government
  2. Brief from QCGN

Maximizing your Annual Report

Most organizations complete annual reports, so why not create the greatest impact for stakeholders with this important document!  The Community Innovation Fund held a webinar on this subject for the English-speaking community.  It highlighted do’s and don’ts, as well as advice on content, format and design.