Leadership from our CEO during COVID-19

Leadership from our CEO during COVID-19

Posted On

Mar 18, 2020

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CSI was created to build social cohesion – we have been carefully designed to facilitate human-to-human connections. You can just imagine what the idea of social distancing does to us – it pretty much breaks our hearts. Today I am writing to you to announce that we have decided to close our spaces and move our love and belonging into the cloud where we will continue to foster community and social innovation together.

For the last week, CSI has been implementing increasing levels of social distancing and now, with Ontario’s Emergency shut down, we have made the difficult but responsible decision to close our buildings effective Wednesday, March 18 at 4pm. We have made this choice because we believe that a community-wide effort is needed as we work together to #flattenthecurve and protect our vulnerable populations.

What does this mean for you, our community?

  • Our buildings are closed to the community and public at this time. No public events will be permitted in the space. All common areas will be closed. Tenants and members will still be able to access their own spaces and are strongly encouraged to stay home in solidarity with those most at risk.
  • We will also be closing our event spaces and asking for planned events to be postponed effective tomorrow in order to adhere to the call to action from Canada’s top health officer, from Toronto Public Health, and the Premier to cancel all gatherings of 10 people or more.
  • We will not be postponing any meeting room bookings at this time but we do strongly recommend to members that they consider moving their meetings online or postponing them as a way to maintain the two metres of distance recommended by our health officials to combat COVID-19 transmission.
Just as fast as we are closing our spaces, we are also opening up new online convenings and ramping up our news and information about local solutions and strategies to help us all through this extremely challenging time. Watch our daily online newsletter – CLICK – for all of the latest from around the world and right here at home. We are also organizing a major online convening on how COVID-19 may be a catapult to the Next Economy and devising a Universal Basic Income advocacy strategy. Ironically, we were already implementing a digital transformation – talk about an impetus to make that happen faster than ever. Suffice it to say that we expect to be very busy in the coming weeks as we work to feel a little less isolated and a little more socially connected.

We have no idea how long this will last but we will be reviewing this position on a daily basis. I think it is fair to say that we expect to be out for at least as long as the schools are out and are looking to the province and Toronto Public Health for their best advice.

Strangely, when you step back, it is kind of amazing that the world is demonstrating its capacity to act at a global level to address a global threat. Never in the history of the world have we ever seen such clear alignment and demonstration of what we are capable of. This gives me profound hope and maybe, just maybe, we will see that this capacity can be applied to many of the other global threats that we face. The one thing I know is that we are being forever changed.

With so much solidarity and love in my heart, please take care, reach out if you need something, use this moment to breathe, appreciate what we do have, and act with patience and love.

In peace,

Tonya Surman
CEO, Centre for Social Innovation

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