The Broadbent Blog


The Power Lab - Strengthening local organizing for fair economies

Introducing the Power Lab, led by Broadbent Institute’s Director of Leadership & Training, Alejandra Bravo.

Building a more progressive Canada demands committed and effective leaders. The Broadbent Institute has made training a top priority of ours from the start. We seek to build backbone for progressive organizing in Canada by supporting the development of a new generation of leaders, particularly where power is building and we can contribute to wins – whether in issue-based or election campaigns.

We recognize that support for local organizing is needed more than ever, especially as we rise to the challenge of confronting growing support for a dangerous ‘extreme right’ ideology in communities across Canada. We know that people need to see real, tangible material gains in their lives to build resilience against messages that seek to divide us across our differences.

That’s why we are joining with Atkinson Foundation to strengthen local organizing for a fair economy. Together, we are embarking on a new exciting endeavour to fuel the creation of community infrastructure to organize for decent work and equitable economic development.

The Power Lab is generated by Atkinson Foundation and Broadbent Institute as an arms-length and non-partisan learning initiative centred on the people building community power, on the ground. Existing at the virtual intersection of community organizing and local economic development, the Power Lab will be an incubator of community organizers working to influence legislation, policy and/or project agendas held by elected officials and public institutions. It exists to help generate economic and democratic power for an equitable Canada.

The Power Lab introduces a new innovative model - one that is for and by the people, who are experimenting with different approaches to building economic and democratic power in their communities. Focusing on building equitable rather than traditional forms of economic development, the Power Lab will work to support community organizers to generate local power by amplifying community voices in decision making processes.

What would success look like for this new entity? Leaders from historically disadvantaged and equity-seeking communities securing permanent seats at Canada’s public infrastructure and local economic development tables, so that their lives and livelihoods would be measurably improved. With facilitators, lab partners (communities organizers working to support economic development projects in their regions), will develop resources that responds to their realities. They will contribute their local knowledge and insight, experience, organizing skills and vision for their communities. In return, leaders will gain a supportive community, access to expertise, technology and resources, and ultimately produce a “made-in-Canada” playbook for local organizing to build a fair economy for people.

The economy is all of us. That is why the Power Lab and its partners will develop new strategies and tools to make sure it works for and is accountable to people.


Learn more at https://atkinsonfoundation.ca/community/ and powerlab.ca.