Report to Community

Evaluating our collective progress towards achieving Enough for All in 2020

9 June 2021

Pandemic Proportions

Reviewing 2020

In reviewing Enough for All’s progress in 2020, we acknowledge the collective efforts of the Enough for All Network to ensure people in our city who live in poverty were – and continue to be – supported. The following sections outline some of the key accomplishments and initiatives in the year.

2020 started with optimism. We came off a solid 2019 that saw a refresh of Enough for All and the introduction of Enough for All Champions. We had plans around early learning, justice, income support, and employment, but plans quickly changed at the end of the first quarter with Calgary’s lockdown. VCC immediately focused our efforts on COVID-19 related communication, amplification and support.

  • Leveraging our extensive communication channels to communicate COVID-19 related service change information.
  • Ensuring the impact of COVID-19 on people living in poverty was amplified in relation to immediate service changes and emergency support.
  • Providing expertise to stakeholders and Champions to help them navigate the impact of their changes to people living in poverty.

VCC led knowledge exchange efforts to effectively and rapidly communicate tools and resources available to people living in poverty, to assist them in navigating operational and systems changes. These included COVID-19 Information for Calgarians, Financial Supports for people impacted by COVID-19, Deferred Mortgage Payment Information During COVID-19, and several more. Most of these documents were translated into multiple languages, through partnerships with the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership and Immigrant Services Calgary.

Amplifying the Voices of Lived Experience

Poverty Talks! had an amazing impact in 2020, articulating how people living in poverty were experiencing the pandemic. This information was used to inform decision makers about response and recovery strategies and priorities. Poverty Talks! held community conversations and held the most attended International Day for the Eradication of Poverty event in our history. VCC also hosted community conversations to gather the experience of people living in poverty to inform Calgary’s Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction strategy. Poverty Talks! also made a pre-budget submission to the provincial government that focused on a just recovery for all.

Indigenous Engagement

Calgary has the fifth largest population of urban Indigenous people in Canada, and while there are over 500 places in Calgary devoted to culture and spirituality, not one is specifically intended for Indigenous Peoples to gather. For the past four years, VCC has supported creating a space where Indigenous communities can share, connect and celebrate their culture.

In 2020 the Indigenous Gathering Place (IGP) Board continued formal conversations with Fort Calgary leadership and the City of Calgary administration to explore the possible co-location of the IGP at the site of Fort Calgary. Near the end of 2020 the Board made plans to solidify a partnership with the City of Calgary and Fort Calgary with a pipe ceremony scheduled in 2021.

VCC continued to work with Champions in 2020 to accompany them on their learning journeys to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into their work, and were pleased to see this come to life in many of our Champion organizations. VCC continues to be on the Board of the Indigenous Gathering Place.

VCC and our Champions have a shared commitment to ensuring that all Indigenous People are equal participants in Calgary’s future, and we are guided in this work by the Enough for All Indigenous Advisory Committee. At the beginning of 2020, VCC published the Indigenous Knowledge Circle for Champions and stakeholders to facilitate awareness about the Traditional Treaty 7 territory and Métis Region 3 in and around Calgary.

VCC joined the COVID-19 Indigenous Task Force, now called Is kitsii gome (Seven Brothers Circle), a community-driven collective of 25 different groups, to support the Indigenous community during the pandemic and forge a deeper journey to Reconciliation. VCC leads the facilitation on the Tech Circle of Is kitsii gome, which worked to get technological access (computers and support) into the hands of Elders and other Indigenous groups as soon as possible, and also sits on the Basic Needs Circle.

Policy, Advocacy & Research

2020 presented some opportunities in the areas of policy, advocacy and research. VCC published its response to Alberta Budget 2019 that was informed by our Champions, and also submitted a pre-budget submission at the end of 2020 that has been referenced several times by media in 2021.

In 2020 due to the economic effects of the pandemic and the rapid delivery of the Canadian Economic Recovery Benefit (CERB), a conversation about basic income was being advanced in households across Alberta. In order to leverage the window of opportunity, VCC, which has backboned Basic Income Calgary for several years, leveraged the work of this group to join forces with EndPovertyEdmonton to Co-Chair Basic Income Alberta (BIA). BIA has created widespread public awareness and policy traction over 2020.

VCC backbones and is Co-Chair of the Shared Policy Service group that created and advocated for the Social Policy Collaborative Income Support Policy Brief. VCC also contributed to several policy and advocacy formal submissions, requests for strategic support and input, and invitations to speak across all our levers of change in relation to policy and advocacy.

Did you know?


Calgarians on other forms of social assistance make less than 70% of the poverty line


Calgary’s rate of poverty has risen and fallen over the years, with no clear upward or downward trend since 2006


Research showed more cases of COVID-19 among low-income Canadians

Racism & Diversity

Racism is a root cause of poverty, and 2020 accelerated critical and long overdue conversations about racism in Calgary. VCC came into this conversation from both a place of seeking to be better allies, and by contributing ‘racism related to poverty’ explicit information into the conversation. For us, this meant co-convening and facilitating conversations with partner organizations, speaking to media about the link between racism and poverty in our city, joining action groups committed to tackling this issue at a systems level, contributing subject matter expertise where appropriate, and by changing our practice with Champions and stakeholders as an organization to ensure that we are the change we are seeking in this work.

Awareness of Poverty

Creating awareness of poverty in Calgary is a core part of our backbone work, and this year we dedicated most of our public platform to issues related to poverty, the pandemic and racism. Vibrant Communities Calgary has more than 15,000 subscribers and followers to our social media channels and newsletter.

Doing Business Differently

In 2020, VCC increased engagement with the business sector in policy and systemic change. In addition to co-hosting the 2020 Soul of the Next Economy forum, VCC also partnered with Momentum to lead an eight-week capacity building workshop series for Be Local members, to support businesses in how they can implement Enough for All. VCC also participated as facilitators on Be Local’s anti-racism task force.

VCC actively participated in the Alberta Living Wage Network in 2020. This collaboration is essential to calculating the Living Wage and supportive documents in 2021.

Read the full report

Download Vibrant Communities Calgary's 2020 Report to Community for a deeper dive, including reports from our Indigenous Advisory Committee and Poverty Talks!