Celebrating the Layton Legacy Awards and Upcoming Training

Olivia Chow














We were delighted that so many members of the ICL community were able to attend the third annual Layton Legacy Awards in person and online.

We were honoured to co-host the ceremony again with the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation to celebrate the achievements of this year’s outstanding award winners and honourable mentions. There was a special resonance for us all this year, as our special guest was our founder, Olivia Chow, who established the awards three years ago as a lasting, living legacy to her late husband, Jack Layton.

Now building on her own legacy and leading change as Mayor of Toronto, Olivia brought us all together, reinforced our sense of community in activism and encouraged us all to continue to lead progressive change in the spirit of Jack – with love, hope and optimism. Her words went to the heart of everything we do at ICL, and that spirit is fully and brilliantly reflected in this year’s award winners and honourable mentions.



ICL’s Acting Executive Director Amrit Parhar with our Founder Olivia Chow, Mayor of Toronto.


LLA Panel 2023


A key feature of the Awards Ceremony was a powerful and moving discussion with Jack Layton’s former Chief of Staff and Deputy Chairman of ICL, Bob Gallagher, former Toronto City Councillor Joe Mihevc, and Jack’s former Principal Secretary, Brad Lavigne, who is Vice President of the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation. 

They shared their experiences of their years with Jack,  focusing on the formative early days when he began to make his mark as an activist. Touching, nostalgic and inspiring,  the stories the panellists shared truly celebrated Jack’s life, legacy and ability to empower.



Rabble’s Editorial Producer, Breanne Doyle, presented the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship, annually supporting an outstanding aspiring journalist, specifically in stories centred on social justice and positive social change. You can find further information on this exciting opportunity's 2023-24 application process in this newsletter.


And Now - Our Award Winners and Honourable Mentions! 


This year’s recipients have built on Jack’s legacy of activism while demonstrating exceptional leadership – advancing vital change that has helped transform their communities.


Layton Activism Award Winner: Assembly of Seven Generations



The Assembly of Seven Generations has demonstrated the importance of a national Indigenous youth voice in contributing to the healing and unity of young people across Turtle Island. They have relentlessly continued to expand their daily networks and capacity to progress Indigenous youth's needs and aspirations, and we were happy to welcome them from their base in the unceded Algonquin territory.

As a group, their focus has been on seasonally focused, youth-led gatherings, including ceremonies and workshops on land-based learning, language revitalization, COVID-19 and mental health assistance. In addition, they’ve hosted a support circle for young men, male-identifying, and gender-diverse folks for healing, thereby widening their reach and empowering members of their community even further.


Indigenous Leadership Award Winner: OAHAS - Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy



Working in parallel with federal and provincial initiatives in combating HIV/AIDS,  the OAHAS - Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy has emerged as a central pillar of knowledge, resources and empowerment for Indigenous communities in Ontario.

By hosting workshops and seminars, conducting outreach, and offering round-the-clock support through community networks, OAHAS provides Indigenous individuals living with HIV/AIDS the power of information and communication within their own culture. This organization helps Indigenous individuals have control over their lives and this crucial aspect of their health.


Honourable Mention for the Indigenous Leadership Award: ENAGB - Eshkiniigjik Naandwechigegamig Aabiish Gaa Binjibaaying Youth Agency



The ENAGB Youth Agency has sparked a fire among Indigenous young people - reaching more than 1,800 across Toronto in the last four years alone.

They have empowered youth to build confidence in their identity, personality and potential through training programs centred on employment, housing support, education, culture and language. Their outreach has spanned from babies taking their first steps to twenty-somethings taking theirs and has encouraged a strong sense of emotional, spiritual and mental well-being for young people seeking an intrinsic connection to their culture.


Honourable Mention for the Layton Activism Award: Munch Cafe



Munch Cafe has empowered individuals by placing them at the heart of their community, offering employment and professional development to local residents with cognitive disabilities. 

The group has opened a window to a new, inclusive, and brighter future while redefining the local catering industry and creating a sense of belonging and chosen family through their work. They have demonstrated that everyone deserves an opportunity and can produce great food as a team! Their work has helped transform the lives of those living with a cognitive disability in Regina.

Stay tuned for the video of this Layton Legacy Awards! –  We will post it on the ICL website and circulate it in our next newsletter!



Rabble is looking for new and emerging writers passionate about social justice reporting. Does this sound like you? If so, read on!

The Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship supports emerging journalists engaged in social justice reporting. 

Applicants will pitch a feature story, which they would have a chance to work on in the final month of their four-month fellowship if selected. In the first three months, fellows will work on weekly news hits and stories from the editor.

This is a part-time position, and applications are due Friday, September 22, 2023. Fellows must be based in Canada. To learn more, visit Rabble's website here.


Do you have a desire to step up and fight for a better, fairer, more just world? And do you live in South Markham or Cooksville? This course is for you.

ICL invites you to join People, Power, Change, our flagship training we're teaching in the Cooksville and South Markham areas this fall with the support of United Way Greater Toronto. We're opening registration to local residents who live specifically in these neighbourhoods. The aim is to give you the fundamentals of making real and meaningful systemic change at the grassroots level.

Participation is free of charge, occurring every Wednesday on Zoom from 6 pm-8 pm EST starting September 27 for eight weeks. We pace the schedule to allow for pauses, recaps, and questions. Over the 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 engaged
  • Choose a strategy and tactics that move decision-makers

Our instructors have been mentored through Marshall Ganz's courses taught at the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Leadership Program. After completing the course, you will receive a certificate from the Institute for Change Leaders.

Please register here to receive the Zoom link. If you have any questions, please contact JP at [email protected]. And please pass the information on to anyone you know in Cooksville or South Markham who would benefit from this amazing program!

The deadline to sign up is Friday, September 15. We look forward to seeing you online for People, Power, Change!


On Friday, September 15, from 6-8 PM, join us for our ICL Network Night! It will be a fun night and an opportunity to meet other change leaders, share your stories, and get support. RSVP to [email protected] to secure your spot.

See you soon!

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The Institute for Change Leaders is a Canadian registered charity that can issue official donation receipts (no. 763310679 RR 0001). ICL is brought to you by the Faculty of Community Services at Toronto Metropolitan University.

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