The Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (SPC) was founded in the social upheaval preceding the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. A group of citizens came together to identify and address the problems of a society undergoing rapid change. They formed the Community Welfare Council, precursor of the SPC and one of the first social action groups in Canada created to come to grips with unprecedented change in a major city.
Today, Winnipeg and SPC face new tensions and needs. Frozen social assistance rates, child and family poverty, inner-city education, housing and homelessness, mental health and disability issues, and crime prevention and social development are only some of the challenges that the SPC is addressing in the second decade of the 21st century.
Non-partisan, rich in social science and human resources, the SPC is ideally situated as a vehicle for citizens to explore and assess controversial issues, bring new information into public debate and help form a public consensus around progressive solutions.
Much has changed in Winnipeg since 1919. Much more will change in this new century. How we shape and manage change; how we resist change when it is necessary to do so; how well we respond to the challenges and fulfill the opportunities inherent in change: These are the measures of a healthy community.
Today we face an array of complications which threaten the social and economic health of our community. The challenges of race relations, immigration, discrimination, gang violence, unemployment and under-employment, Aboriginal participation in society, economic inequality, and the effects of global security issues on Canadians of foreign origin will persist into the future. If we are to change for the better, it will be because we have provided the community with relevant data and invited them to dialogue, deliberate and act on the issues of the day. Providing the community with data, a place to discuss important issues, and a springboard to launch a action is what makes the SPC unique.
The SPC is ideally situated within the community to gather citizens and groups together to explore issues and provide policy-makers with alternative solutions based on lived experience and grassroots discussion. The SPC endeavours to bring previously unheard voices to the table and in so doing help to enrich the public debate and facilitate the building of action oriented solutions.
Leah Gazan, President
Hon. John Harvard, Vice-President
Glenn Michalchuk, Vice President
Talatu Shokpeka, Treasurer
Marta Tibebe Terffa