Community Links

Times have changed — marching in the streets has been largely replaced by participation on governmental and civil society policy committees, and at discipline-crossing conferences on social justice and equality issues. OWN maintains a close relationship with the following organizations, sending a representative to their meetings on a regular basis.

Governmental Policy-Making Bodies with OWN Representation

  • OWN rep. to Housing Committee, Edna Beange
  • OWN rep to Health and Long-Term Care Committee, vacant
  • OWN rep. to Liaison Committee, Margaret Hawthorn

Twice-yearly meetings gather representatives from seniors’ organizations across Ontario, who make policy suggestions on service delivery of Old Age Security (OAS) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

Civil Society Policy-Making Bodies with OWN Representation

  • Senior Pride Network — OWN rep., Eleanor BatchelderQueer-identified people, organizations and government departments, together with those who are not, work to eliminate homophobia and advocate for the needs of seniors in Toronto who do not identify as straight. Senior Pride hosts an annual conference.
  • Women’s College Hospital — OWN rep. to Community Advisory Panel, Marilyn SchaferThe first and only independent ambulatory care hospital in Ontario, and the only hospital in Ontario with a primary focus on women’s health, it supports research and training in women’s health. However, during the two past years, no meetings of the hospital’s Community Advisory Panel – Women’s Health have been held, sue to fiscal restraints, and the panel is in abeyance; this is a matter of concern, as we are deprived of a voice on health issues with an age/gender lens. [OWN Annual Report 2009-2010, 2010-2011]
  • St. Michael’s Hospital, Children and Women’s Health Community Advisory Panel (WHCAP) and Elder Care Working Group. Each CAP has about 20 members, made up of community volunteers, patients, consumers, community agency representatives and hospital staff from front line to senior management. The Women and Children’s CAP provides advice and frontline experience to make St. Michael’s services better for women and their babies. Since 1992, the Women and Children’s CAP has worked on behalf of hundreds of women from downtown Toronto to improve services and programs for women at all of life’s stages, including services for older women.

 Groups with Common Issues

In addition to the above ongoing commitments, we try to stay abreast of the activities of a number of other organizations which are working on issues that we are concerned with. For the reader’s guidance, we have tried to note whether an organization is primarily focused on advocacy and research [AR], service [S], or information collection and dissemination [I]. Grouped by issues, here are the more important of these:

Pension Reform

  • Common Front for Retirement Security [link is to a pdf document, not a website] is a coalition of 21 organizations representing 2 million Canadians. The CFRS advocates pension and capital market regulatory reforms through political and other representations. OWN is a charter member organization. [A]
  • Canadian Labour Congress “The Canadian Labour Congress is the largest democratic and popular organization in Canada with over three million members. The Canadian Labour Congress brings together Canada’s national and international unions, the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils.” [AR]
  •  Canadian Pensioners Concerned (CPC) “A provincial and national membership-based, non-partisan, voluntary, advocacy organization of mature Canadians committed to preserving and enhancing a human-centred vision of life.” [AR]


  • Inclusionary Housing Canada — Their website aims “to assist community members, activists, government planners, policy makes and housing developers to gain a better appreciation of Inclusionary Housing as a policy and program tool to increase the supply of affordable housing in our neighbourhoods and communities.” A project of the Wellesley Institute. [I]
  • Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) — “The only organization in Canada dedicated to ending discrimination in housing and promoting human rights in housing. CERA carries out this work through public education, research, law reform, human rights casework, test case litigation and using international human rights law and mechanisms. If you have experienced discrimination related to your housing, call us.” [AR]
  • Unitarian Commons  –  Accessible and affordable living for all.  A small group of Unitarian-Universalists working together, creating affordable, accessible homes open for everyone.  Fostering community by including shared common areas.

Health and Long-Term Care

  • Ontario Health Coalition — A network of over 400 grassroots community organizations representing virtually all areas of Ontario, the preeminent health advocacy organization. Their primary goal is to empower the members of constituent organizations to become actively engaged in the making of public policy on matters related to health care and healthy communities. Through public education and support for public debate, it contributes to the maintenance and extension of a system of checks and balances that is essential to good decision-making. OWN is a member organization. [I]
  • — Online-only conference that showcases what’s happening in healthcare, around the corner and around the world. The “presenters” change every month. They will send you an email announcement of the current topics each month if you sign up. [I]
  • Care Watch Toronto — “A volunteer-run, not-for-profit advocacy organization focusing on older adults and committed to improving the quality of life for persons receiving care in their own homes. We recognize the value of choice in living arrangements, the importance of greater involvement in decisions that affect older peoples’ lives, individually and collectively, and the necessity for society to provide support to those who need it.” [A]
  • The Ontario Health Study is soliciting participants for a large, long-term study that will help researchers learn more about how genes, lifestyle choices and environmental risks can cause chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Information gathered from participants will be put in a confidential health information “bank” that scientists can then use for approved studies. We are encouraged to visit the site and sign up. [R]

Public Transportation and Mobility


  • Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) — A non-partisan non-governmental organization (NGO) comprised of a network of diverse women, with consultative status at the United Nations ECOSOC. For over 50 years, VOW has provided a means for women to exercise responsibility for the promotion of world peace and justice, and is currently one of the major advocacy organizations. [I]
  • Soroptimist — Soroptimist International is “a worldwide organisation for women in management and the professions, a global voice for women through Awareness, Advocacy and Action.” The Eastern Canada and Toronto website is currently under development.
  • Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) is a dynamic coalition of over 75 Canadian women’s equality-seeking and related organizations, the largest organization advocating for women in Canada. FAFIA’s mandate is to further women’s equality here through domestic implementation of Canada’s international human rights commitments, and is the watchdog for the status of women at the federal level. OWN is a member organization. [AR]
  • Council of Canadians — “Since 1985, the Council of Canadians has brought Canadians together to act for social, economic and environmental justice here in Canada and around the world. Our work is built on a strong foundation of timely and strategic campaigns to fight for the values, social programs and progressive policies that Canadians believe in.” [IAR]
  • Fair Vote Canada (FVC) — In August 2000, a group of concerned citizens formed Fair Vote Canada with the aim of building a nationwide campaign for voting system reform. We envisioned FVC as a multi-partisan, citizen-based campaign bringing together people from all parts of the country, all walks of life and all points on the political spectrum. [AR]
  • Equal Voice is a multi-partisan organization dedicated to electing more women in Canada at all levels of Government and, ultimately, changing the face of Canadian politics. [AR]
  • Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) is “an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice… one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates.” [IAR]
  • Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) is “a network of networks composed of public benefit organizations working for various causes across Ontario. ONN facilitates cross-sectoral collaboration on issues and helps increase our capacity to participate in public policy discussions….” [AR]
  • Social Planning Toronto (SPT), also known as Social Planning Council, is committed to independent social planning at the local and city-wide levels in order to improve the quality of life for all people in Toronto. It is committed to diversity, social and economic justice, and active citizen participation in all aspects of community life. Over 130 member organizations.

Other Organisations of Interest

This list is alphabetical, and includes both those discussed above (with link to their section) and additional groups (with link to their website).

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance — See

ACORN Canada
Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE)

      Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) — See


              Canadian Health Network (CHN) — See


      Canadian Labour Congress — See


Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA)

      Canadian Pensioners Concerned (CPC) — See


      Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women — See


    Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) — See

Canadian Women’s Foundation

    Carewatch Toronto — See

CARP (Fifty Plus)

    Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) — See

Centre for Women’s Studies in Education (CWSE)

    Common Front for Retirement Security Coalition — See

Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities — See


    Council of Canadians — See


    CRIAW — See


    Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women
    DisAbled Women’s Network Ontario (DAWN) — See

Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario

    Equal Voice — See


    FAFIA — See


Feminist Alliance for International Action

    Fair Vote Canada (FVC) — See

Family Service Association of Toronto
Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)

    Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) — See

FoodShare Toronto
Gender Action
The Health Communication Unit

    Housing Again — See


    Inclusionary Housing Canada — See


    Income Security Program, Service Canada (Ontario) — See

Inter Pares
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC)

    Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Organizations (OCSCO) — See

Ontario Gerontology Association (OGA)

    Ontario Health Coalition — See


    Ontario Health Study — See

Ontario Human Rights Commission

    Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) — See


    Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat (Provincial Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration) — See


    Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care (PCPCC) — See

Physicians for Global Survival
Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO)
Right to Housing Coalition
Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre
Self Help Resource Centre

    Senior Pride Network — See


    Soroptimist Toronto and International (Canada) — See


    St. Michael’s Hospital — See

Sunshine Centres for Seniors — See

The Health Communication Unit
Toronto Women’s City Alliance

    Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) — see


    Canadian VOW


    Wellesley Institute — See


    Women’s College Hospital CAP — See

Women’s Human Rights Resources Programme (WHRR)
Women’s UN Report Program and Network (WUNRN)

Page last updated Jan. 9, 2016