Maximizing Community Use of School Space: Preparing for a New Normal

Now that a greater portion of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, some school boards are gradually allowing the community use of their facilities while following the Provincial and local public health units’ requirements. This document outlines the vision of the SPACE Coalition for enhancing and prioritizing community use as this is happening.

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How to Hub: Community Hub Development Toolkit

The “How to Hub: Community Hub Development Toolkit” is a practical guide to support residents, parents and community allies in advocating for a community hub in their neighbourhood. This toolkit offers introductory information on a range of topics relevant to groups that are in the initial stages of developing a community hub or who would like more information before beginning their journey.

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Community Hubs Influencer Series - Karen Pitre

Community hubs are the centre of public discourse around healthy and vibrant neighbourhoods. As suburban and rural neighbourhoods are challenged by a lack of local services, community hubs are growing in popularity as a way to provide a “one-stop shop” to address local needs. The Province, municipalities, community organizations and funders are taking innovative approaches to developing community hubs.

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Promising Practices for Schools Permitting Space

The SPACE Coalition has collated a list of promising practices in managing community use of school space that would support more equitable, accessible and efficient permitting system. This resource was developed from SPACE's many years of experience supporting community and resident-led groups operating out of schools. We hope to pave the way for on-going efforts to improve the permitting system currently in space in our schools. 

Read the list of promising practices.


It All Begins With SPACE: Maximizing Use of Public Assets for Engaged and Healthier Neighbourhoods in Toronto - 2013

Equitable access to affordable neighbourhood space has an enormous positive impact on health and wellness, learning and leadership, arts and culture, educational outcomes and sense of belonging. Public space is necessary for community engagement and participation by a full range of neighbours and supports for ongoing improvements to quality of life.

Read It All Begins With Space.


Public Space for Public Use: A Review of Community Access to School and Municipal Facilities in Ontario - 2013

In 1997 the Ontario government implemented a new funding formula as a means for distributing funds to school boards. This resulted in a dramatic increase in user fees for community access to schools. To help reduce these costs, in 2004 the government introduced the Community Use of Schools (CUS) program funding.

Read Public Space for Public Use.


Progress and Pitfalls: A Review of Community Use of Schools and Access to Municipal Spaces - 2009

The SPACE Coalition believes that community use of public space, including schools and municipal facilities, is a cornerstone of healthy neighbourhoods and communities, promoting affordable and equitable access for all residents. In 2009, SPACE and Social Planning Toronto conducted a follow-up survey to our 2005 and 2007 evaluations of the provincial CUS policy, program and funding. 

Read Progress and Pitfalls.


Top 10 Reasons to Support Affordable Community Access to School Space - 2008

Access to affordable community spaces benefits the community in several ways, such as improving student performance and promoting safer neighbourhoods.

In January 2008, the SPACE Coalition outlined the top 10 reasons to support affordable community access to school spaces. 

Read Top Ten Reasons to Support Better Community Access to Public Space

Read Les dix meilleures raisons de favoriser un meilleur accès public aux locaux scolaires


Another Winter, Another Spring: Toronto Youth Speak Out about Space - 2011

Public space is a social space and should be accessible to all, regardless of ethno racial background or cultural heritage, gender identity, ability/disability, sexual orientation, age or economic status. Creative use of public spaces strengthens neighbourhoods and brings people together. 

Read Another Winter, Another Spring.


Breaking Down Barriers: Opening up Ontario's Schools for Expanded Community Use - 2007

In 2007, SPACE followed up its initial survey to assess the changes to community groups’ ability to access schools, resulting from the $20 million annual provincial investment in Community Use of Schools. According to the survey results, it appears there has been some progress in improving access to school space for some communities as a result of this infusion of funding. However, it is clear that many community groups continue to be excluded from this benefit, including groups working with children, youth, newcomers and seniors.

Read Breaking Down Barriers.