Public Interest has developed effective strategies for working at the local level to engage distressed communities, multilingual groups and individuals who have traditionally been marginalized. We specialize in utilizing engagement as part of community-based research initiatives that support community-based organizations in their efforts to better serve their communities. Our work is nationally recognized for its inclusive processes and positive outcomes; our approach to community engagement is now being used in communities by other not-for-profits and organizations in Canada.

We specialize in:

  • Conducting research and needs assessments within communities.
  • Designing and carrying out extensive public consultations that consistently engage large numbers of people in speaking out about their communities.

Public Interest helps stimulate community engagement by:

  • Providing coaching in engagement techniques to build the effectiveness of community groups and other organizations.
  • Helping to build long-term partnerships and promote collaboration between diverse groups within communities.
  • Creating a space and process for dialogue among different groups within the community.
  • Training local residents as community animators who encourage discussion and action on issues.
  • Working to implement community-based responses to local problems.

The case studies below describe some of the projects we have worked on in this dynamic area.

Rooming House Review

Client: City of Toronto

Regent-Park-PicThe City of Toronto wanted to hear from residents, tenants, and neighbourhoods about the benefits, challenges, and solutions associated with both licensed and unlicensed rooming houses in Toronto. Due to the extensive experience of Public Interest in community engagement with diverse communities, the City contracted us to conduct community-based research exploring needs and priorities the City had to focus on.

Regent Park

Client: Toronto Community Housing

Regent-Park-PicIn 2001, Toronto Community Housing, Toronto's newly amalgamated public housing authority, embarked on the dramatic redevelopment of Regent Park, one of the world’s largest and Canada’s first public housing communities. To ensure that they built a new, positive, and trusting relationship with Regent Park’s residents from the very start, Toronto Community Housing engaged Public Interest to carry out a number of public consultations and research studies.

Opening Doors: Economic Opportunities For Immigrant Women

Client: Brampton Multicultural Centre (BMC)

Opening-Doors-PicPublic Interest partnered with Brampton Multicultural Centre on their Opening Doors project, an unique project funded by Status of Women Canada, which focused on better understanding barriers for immigrant women finding meaningful employment. Immigrant women were engaged as both project participants and stakeholders, with many opportunities to contribute their thoughts and ideas. This project hopes to encourage local public policy changes in encouraging economic prosperity for immigrant women.

Energy Conservation Campaign – Social Housing Provider

Client: Toronto Community Housing Corporation


Building on Toronto Community Housing’s Green Plan, Public Interest and Toronto Environmental Alliance united on an innovative pilot project to educate tenants of two social housing high-rise apartment buildings on Brahms Avenue about the need to conserve energy. This program, Brahms Energy Saving Team (BEST), has used approaches such as incentives, reinforcing energy-efficient behaviour, and installing energy-saving equipment to reduce energy consumption within the buildings.

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