Former city councillor Catherine McKenney launches new national non-profit organization

By CityNews Ottawa

Former Ottawa city councillor Catherine McKenney revealed their new venture. 

McKenney announced on Jan. 19 their new national non-profit organization called CitySHAPES which will lead groundbreaking advocacy, policy, and community engagement work to spark change and build better cities in Canada. CitySHAPES’ key priorities include advocating for climate action, active transportation and transit, and housing and homelessness. 

“At CitySHAPES, we will help engaged residents and cities spark and implement the change they need to become healthier, greener, and more vibrant cities where everyone can thrive,” said McKenney. “Through drawing on my years of experience in municipal government, we will engage communities, and build better cities across Canada.”

Neil Saravanamuttoo, former chief economist of the G20 Global Infrastructure Hub and Finance Canada executive, helped co-found the organization. 

CitySHAPES’ expert team of advisers include: 

  • Tyler Meredith, founder of Meredith Boessenkool Policy Advisors and former senior economic advisor to the Prime Minister and two Ministers of Finance
  • Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah, activist and executive director of the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity 
  • Simone Thibault, former nonprofit executive director in health and social services organizations

“From climate, to transit, to homelessness and municipal governance, there is much work to be done in Canadian cities,” said Neil Saravanamuttoo, who is a co-founder of CitySHAPES. “Canadian cities are collectively responsible for about $200 billion in spending every year, which is half of the federal budget. More attention should be paid to cities, including how they are governed, how they manage their budgets, and how they strive for social change.”



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