Our History
Learn More About The Organization, Our People, And History.

Latest News

  • Seasonal Celebration - 2018

    Seasonal Celebration - 2018

    Our Board of Directors and Staff wish to extend an invitation to you to join us in celebrating the holidays at our office on December 6th, from 4:00PM to 6:00PM!     Please RSVP by November 26th to Justine Basilan at reception@edmontonsocialplanning .ca or call 780-423-2031.   The Edmonton Social Planning Council is located at: Bassani Building Suite 200, 10544 106 Read More
  • Lunch and Learn - November 21, 2018

    Lunch and Learn - November 21, 2018

    November 21, 2018  12:00 Noon - 1:00 PM Program Room - Stanley Milner Library (Enterprise Square Branch) 10212 Jasper Avenue Topic: JOURNEY THROUGH DOMESTIC ABUSE MAPS The "Journey Through Domestic Abuse Maps" was developed as a project of the City of Edmonton's Making Connection Model Phase III group in partnership with M.A.P.S. Alberta Capital Region and has become part of the Community Advocates Read More
  • Edmonton Vital Signs 2018

    Edmonton Vital Signs 2018

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, Vital Topics, that are timely and important to Edmonton - specifically Women, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Edmonton, Visible Minority Women, and Senior Women. Each of these topics appear in Read More
  • CBC News - Living wage in Edmonton is going up but that isn't good

    CBC News - Living wage in Edmonton is going up but that isn't good

    Radio Active with Adrienne Pan Interview with Sandra Ngo, Edmonton Social Planning Council. Click here to listen to the interview   Read More
  • Media Release: Edmonton Living Wage 2018 Update

    Media Release: Edmonton Living Wage 2018 Update

    June 21, 2018 For Immediate Release Edmonton Living Wage 2018 Update Contending with Costs For the first time in 2 years, the living wage for Edmonton has risen. For 2018, an income earner must make $16.48 per hour to support a family of four, an increase of $0.17 per hour from last year’s living wage. The living wage is intended Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

    2018 Vital Topics - Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton. Watch for these in each issue of Legacy in Action, and in the full issue Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - Visible Minority Women in Edmonton

    2018 Vital Topics - Visible Minority Women in Edmonton

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton. Watch for these in each issue of Legacy in Action, and in the full issue Read More
  • More Alberta families worked part-time, or part year, as the province’s oil economy took a downturn, Statistics Canada study shows

    More Alberta families worked part-time, or part year, as the province’s oil economy took a downturn, Statistics Canada study shows

     By Catherine GriwkowskyStarMetro Edmonton Thu., May 17, 2018 Original Article - click here EDMONTON—Pipeline inspector and project manager turned stay-at-home dad Chad Miller is pinning his family’s future on the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline as he searches for work to pay off debt. “I’ve got more qualifications than I know what to do with and I can’t even get Read More


    DATE: THURSDAY, MAY 24TH, 2018 TIME: 5:30 TO 6:15 P.M. The ANNEX-Edmonton Food Bank 11434 – 120th Street Edmonton, Alberta Please join the Board and staff of the Edmonton Social Planning Council to celebrate our accomplishments of the past year, and to hear about upcoming activities of the Council. Your membership must be current in order to vote. Membership may Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

The Edmonton Social Planning Council celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2015. Over the years, the Council has evolved, adapting its focus to meet the changing needs of Edmonton's population.

As part of addressing arising social needs, the ESPC has played a key role in starting a number of social organizations in Edmonton, including:

  • John Howard Society
  • ABC Head Start
  • Edmonton Community Legal Centre(formerly the Society for the Edmonton Centre for Equal Justice) 
  • Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton (formerly the Society for the Retired and Semi-Retired
  • Boyle Street Community Services Co-op

1939 (click here)

A survey of needs finds that public interest in social services has increased. The Council of Social Agencies is formed with four divisions: Family, Children, Health and Group Work.

1940's (click here)

  • 1941 - A resolution is passed, authorizing the Council to develop a constitution and elect a volunteer board for a community chest.
  • 1943 - A report on child welfare made to the government recommends that a survey of services be performed. When the government declines, the Council's Child and Family division undertakes the Whitton Study with the Canada Welfare Council. The results of the survey reveal adoption practices that horrify the public.
  • 1944 - The Council begins to add research studies to the major services it offers.
  • 1948 - The Council helps to form the John Howard Society.

1950's (click here)

  • 1950s, focusing on public education, the Council publishes a regular newsletter and becomes the central organization for resolving social crises, bringing diverse interest groups together and playing a liaison role between government and voluntary forces. The Council commits itself to being a voice for and with the whole community.
  • 1951 - Name changes to Edmonton Council of Community Services.
  • 1953 - The Council and Community Chest are combined.
  • 1954 - Work around mental health brings about the Edmonton Mental Health Association.
  • Brief on Foster Care; study on aging; directory of services for the elderly.
  • 1956 - Addition of Youth Division; three fall institutes on social welfare issues.
  • 1958 - Standing Committee on rehabilitation does extensive research on services, voting rights, employment and vocational training of the physically and mentally disabled.
  • 1959 - Recommendation that government set up a Welfare Information and Referral Service. (1960)

1960's (click here)

  • In the 1960s, the voices of the Council become more identified with the disadvantaged: the Boyle Street population, Aboriginal people, females and youth. A community development worker is hired by the Council. Physical planning issues such as urban renewal, parks planning and co-op housing become a focus, as well as unemployment.
  • 1960 - The Council develops a position to retain a separate identification as a social planning body with its own board and budget, but maintain a close working relationship with the United Community Fund (formerly the Community Chest; later to become the United Way in 1973), with whom it can interchange board members.
  • 1960 - Major study of juvenile court; study of services for youth in northeast area.
  • 1963 - Name changes to Edmonton Welfare Council.
  • 1964 - A Council study affirms need for central and suburban area child care after the Creche, a child care place for indigent women, folds. As a result, the City provides preventive social service funding for day care services in Edmonton.
  • The Council helps to develop the first Head Start program in the Norwood area.
  • 1967 - Name changes to Edmonton Social Planning Council.
  • 1968 - Helps teens lobby for teen centre; publishes Blue Book of legal rights addressing transient youth. This handbook is criticized as being "subversive."
  • Works with Indian and Metis organizations around foster care and adoptive homes.
  • Helps set up women's overnight shelter (now WIN House), with YMCA.

1970's (click here)

  • From 1968 to 1972, the Council aids in the development of the Society for the Retired and Semi-Retired, Humans on Welfare Society, Disabled Action group, Boyle Street Community Services Co-op.
  • The Council’s constitution is rewritten in 1972 and directions change. The result is a strong orientation toward urban issues and a research approach to social action and social change. Four citizen commissions are set up: 1) participatory democracy; 2) decent standard of living 3) human social controls; 4) human urban environment.
  • 1971 - "West 10," a community service centre project is started, ending three years later with the publication of Rape of the Block—a lay person's guide to neighbourhood defence.
  • 1972 - Decent Standard of Living, the first major Council document on poverty and social assistance, is published after the Progressive Conservative government is elected. Alternatives to Poverty and Welfare in Alberta is published, recommending a guaranteed annual income with work incentives. It becomes the basis for much of the Council's work.
  • 1973 - Urban Gladiators—a group operating at the centre of the information network in ESPC and the University, decide the only way to have success in achieving their vision of the City was to run for city Council. The United Community Fund changes its name to the United Way.
  • 1974 - The United Way undertakes a study of the ESPC, and recommends a return to a traditional board structure. The Council makes consultation with neighbourhood and women's groups their priority.
  • 1975 - Works with women's groups to begin Edmonton Rape Crisis Centre (Sexual Assault Centre); sets up workshops with Catalyst Theatre on issues of women and rape. Assists the City Planning Department in providing a public awareness campaign for Neighbourhood Improvement Program (NIP).
  • 1977 - Training volunteers as para-professional community workers becomes part of the Council's work. 

1980's (click here)

  • In the 1980s the ESPC changes from a predominantly community neighbourhood development agency to one concerned with broader issues of social policy. First Reading is published.
  • 1981 - Holds major conference on social policy analysis.
  • 1986 - Publishes Unemployment—Reaping the Costs, reporting on lost revenue through lost wages and the increase in stress-related illness, suicide and child abuse incidence.
  • 1987 - Organizes live, phone-in discussions with seniors on local cable channel.
  • Helps form the Edmonton Coalition for Quality Child Care.
  • 1989 - The Council coordinates Tracking the Trends a publication highlighting the trends in human services in Edmonton and area. 

1990's (click here)

The Council continues with its mandate for educating the public on issues of social justice, advocating for community well-being and supporting communities through research and coordination.

  • 1993 - Doing It Right (A Needs Assessment workbook)
  • Family Budgeting Guide
  • Get On Board (Board Development Workbook)
  • Choosing Quality Childcare
  • 1996 - Two Paycheques Away (Food Bank Study) is published in 1996 with the help of Edmonton's Food Bank. This study gets national coverage and results in talks with the Minister of Family and Social Services in an effort to amend policy.
  • 1997 - Edmonton LIFE Local Indicators For Excellence report is first published in 1997. This project was coordinated by the Council and it involved the University, the business community, municipal government and the social sector in reaching a shared definition of what constitutes quality of life in Edmonton.
  • 1999 - ESPC researched & developed the "Cost of Healthy Living", a guide to basic needs & their costs to Edmonton families. The guide shows that welfare can't cover the basics of a healthy life.

2000's (click here)

The beginning of the decade saw the focus remain on people living with low income.

  • 2000 A June symposium entitled Healthy Incomes – Healthy Outcomes was held, at which the Council began to focus attention on poverty as a determinant of health. That focus was picked up and advanced in 2005 with the publishing of newsletters, fact sheets and a major discussion paper on the social determinants of health. (See Fact Sheets, Newsletters and Publications for more).
  • 2001-2003 The Council housed the Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Centred Prairie Communities, and focused particularly on research around services for Aboriginal youth.
  • 2002 - In response to its own research around the legal needs of low-income Edmontonians, the Council and community partners formed the Edmonton Centre for Equal Justice (ECEJ). ECEJ was a project of the Council until the beginning of 2005 when it achieved independent status.

    ESPC spent a couple of years maintaining its commitment to supporting the social service sector by coordinating the Tap In project. This project places employees, volunteers and clients of not profit agencies into surplus training opportunities at various educational institutions. The training is provided at low cost and is tied to the belief that life long learning should be an option for everyone. The Council coordinated the first two years of the project until 2004 when it was handed over to another agency.

  • 2003 - The Council partnered with the Edmonton Food Bank to do a comprehensive study on why some people frequently access the food bank.

    The Council made a major move to new office space in a former inner city school building. The Council joined with a number of other community and social organizations to form the Sacred Heart Community Collective. We coordinate, in cooperation with Edmonton Catholic Schools, the use of the facility’s gymnasium, kitchen and some meeting rooms for non-profit and community groups.

  • 2004 - The Council joined a national project, Inclusive Cities Canada (ICC), a three-year initiative funded by HRDC that explored local and national dimensions of inclusion. Our understanding of inclusion in Edmonton was enhanced through research and ‘community soundings’ with local leaders; the findings were published in 2005 (see Publications page).
  • 2006 - The Council moves to the Trinity Building.
  • 2007 - The Council releases an updated Tracking the Trends, after a 5 year gap.

    Receives funding from the Edmonton Community Foundation to update its website and expand its services.