Since launching in 2015:

Supporting people taking action
For healthy immigrants families

I recommend this training to everyone who wants to take action to speak out against the injustice they are facing.

~ Rebiya, Newcomer Women’s Services

Newcomer Women Services
Rwandan Canadian Healing Centre
Toronto Ward Museum

Supporting people taking action
For empowered working people

With Olivia’s energy and expertise, we trained and launched teams of early childhood educators who have in turn engaged thousands of childcare workers and reached tens of thousands of parents and voters.

~ Lyndsay Macdonald, Early Childhood Educator

Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario

Supporting people taking action
For thriving Indigenous communities

I learned so much, and I will utilize my newly acquired knowledge to create change in my home community.

~ Andrew, Aboriginal Health Initiative

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
We Matter

Supporting people taking action
For a strong democracy

A great experience to be able to engage in thoughtful, skill-building training and get to hear the inspiring stories of badass change leaders.

~ Emily, Young Women’s Leadership Network

Fair Vote Canada
Toronto Youth Cabinet
Young Women's Leadership Network
Meet this month's Featured Facilitator, Brian Chang!

We spoke to Brian about being involved with ICL since the very BEGINNING, as well as his advocacy work, Animal Crossing, and what matters most to him! Read all about it today in this facilitator spotlight!

Join the ICL Alumni Association Executive Committee!

Joining the executive is a great way to continue developing your organizing and leadership skills.

Layton Legacy Project Marks Tenth Anniversary of Jack Layton’s Passing

August 22, 2021 will mark the tenth anniversary of NDP leader Jack Layton’s untimely death. Jack believed change is possible when we all come together - so that’s exactly what we’re doing.


Upcoming Courses and Events

Community Action Research - an X University Course, Open to All
Sep 8, 2021 at 6:00pm Dec 7, 2021 at 8:00pm EDT

Here is an incredible opportunity for anyone committed to acting against social injustice and deepening their leadership skills.

This fall Olivia Chow will be teaching SSH502: Community Action Research, a 3-month credit course at X University on community leadership, organizing and action. This course teaches hands-on organizing skills so you can inspire your community to take action for social change. This course will be supported by a team of experienced organizers who will provide small group and one-to-one coaching.

If you feel strongly about social justice and want to make a difference, SSH 502: Community Action Research is the course for you.


Time: 6:00PM to 9:00PM ET
Dates: Every Wednesday, Sep 08, 2021 to Dec 08, 2021
Who: Open to everyone, including those not currently registered at X University.
Fees: Domestic Fee $579.33; International Fee $1,681.31

During the course, you will learn the five critical leadership practices:

  1. How to articulate a story of why you were called to lead, a story of those whom you hope to mobilize, and a story of action: self, us, and now.
  2. How to build intentional relationships as the foundation of purposeful collective actions, including how to recruit and retain volunteers.
  3. How to structure your team with shared purpose, ground rules and roles for effective leadership.
  4. How to strategize and turn your resources into the power you need to achieve clear goals.
  5. How to translate strategy into measurable, motivational, and effective action.

This course connects the classroom with the community to explore questions at the forefront of social action. Students will be introduced to ways of thinking and scholarship that will cut across disciplines, combine theory and practice, encourage collaboration, and work with the ambiguities of the real world. Students will strengthen their self-awareness, leadership skills, and capacities to research and communicate effectively about complex social issues.

This training has given me the opportunity to meet like-minded people to network and put my plans into action. Expect some change Toronto.
-Eric Rogers

This course is intended for students interested in learning how to lead social change through collective action. Students with a strong commitment to the community, organization, or goals on behalf of which they are working will be most successful. All class members will be asked to work with either an existing project or develop a conceptual yet practical project for future implementation. The project does not have to exist outside of the classroom, however, we expect this project to stem from an area of personal connection or passion.

Building Skills for Change - Fall 2021
Oct 4, 2021 at 6:30pm Nov 22, 2021 at 7:30pm EDT
Online, Toronto, ON

Please note, this course takes place each Monday from 6:30-8:30pm EST, beginning October 4th and ending November 22nd. Optional office hours will be held on Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30pm EST. 

Building Skills for Change

"This was the best training I have completed in many years. The instructors were knowledgeable and the feedback from them has helped me in addressing the challenges in my advocacy campaigns. I highly recommend this training to anyone who is thinking of changing our world for the better."

- 2021 spring program graduate

Do you have a desire to step up and fight for a better, fairer, more just world? This course is for you.

This workshop series is designed to help anyone learn how to make a difference in their community through the basics of strategizing, organizing, telling your own story, and taking effective action.

During this eight week, sixteen-session online course you will learn how to:

  • Tell your story to motivate others to take action.
  • Design a strategy that gets the change you want
  • Structure your team to avoid burnout and facilitate growth
  • Recruit and keep volunteers
  • Choose a strategy and tactics that move decision-makers

After completing the course you will receive a certificate in Organizing for Social Change from the Institute for Change Leaders.

The curriculum is based on the teachings of Harvard University Professor Marshall Ganz, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and an adviser to President Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign.

You will learn through lectures and small group activities that will allow you to practice the skills we teach.

You will work with an experienced organizer, who will facilitate your group and help you plan your organizing project. You will finish the course ready to tell your story, with a developed organizing statement, and tools to plan your organizing project's strategy and tactics.

Dates and times

Monday and Wednesday evening sessions, starting October 4th, 2021. The Monday sessions will run 6:30pm - 8:30pm EST, and will include lectures and facilitator-led breakout groups with the opportunity to practice that week's material. The Wednesday sessions will run 6:30pm - 7:30pm EST, and will function as 'office hours' for participants to ask questions, practice their skills, and receive coaching.


The regular price ticket is $499.00. We offer a discounted rate if you are registering as a group. Participants can be from different organizations. Please email [email protected] for details.

ICL will be offering a limited number of scholarships to individuals and groups working or volunteering with a non-profit, charity, labour union or social movement. Please complete this form to apply.

Teaching Team

Rizwan Tufail is a member of ICL's Board of Directors and a former fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, where he studied with Marshall Ganz. Rizwan is the Managing Partner of Innovonomics Inc – a strategy consulting firm that works on strategies, policies, and skills required to accelerate the move towards a global innovation economy.

Duncan photoDuncan Pike is a union activist, campaigner, and social movement trainer with a passion for supporting people who are organizing for a more just, fair, and equitable society. As a facilitator and Communications Lead with the Institute for Change Leaders in Toronto, Duncan has trained hundreds of new activists and union members on organizing and campaign strategy and tactics, public narrative, and campaign messaging.

ICL Organizer Lunch: Serving Your Community
Oct 21, 2021 at 12:00pm 1:00pm EDT
Online course

Will you join us for a virtual lunch with the Institute for Change Leaders Alumni Association? A group of organizers and activists will be getting together to socialize and strategize. 

Whether you need some tips on how to better organize, or just want to share some of your recent successes with a group of like-minded organizers, we’re looking forward to chatting! Set aside a small part of your day to reconnect with old friends - and make some new ones.

We look forward to seeing you there!

ICL's Fifth Anniversary Celebration!
Nov 16, 2021 at 6:00pm 7:30pm EST

ICL's Fifth Anniversary Celebration!

Can you believe it? We're five years old already!

We're gearing up to celebrate the Institute for Change Leaders' Fifth Anniversary on November 16, 2021 and it wouldn't be a party without YOU!

Admission is free! Register today to join us. Attendees are eligible to win one FREE session to our Building Skills for Change workshop (valued at $325)!

Since launching in 2016 we have been hard at work equipping organizers with the skills they need to make social change. Despite the ongoing pandemic, 2021 has been a busy year: we’ve trained over 2,000 new activists and formed partnerships with 25 new organizations across Canada and the United States. 

Join us to celebrate these accomplishments, get inspired, and have some fun!


We're so grateful for the support of our generous sponsors!



We've trained dozens of organizations, including:

United Way
Get Trained
Contact Us

The Institute for Change Leaders is brought to you by the Faculty of Community Services at X University.

Ryerson University