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Windsor and the Post-Pandemic Healthy City: A Community Conversation

June 26, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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View the recording of the event here.

Windsor, like the rest of Ontario, has just passed 100 days of COVID-19 shutdown. The pandemic has deepened inequality in most Canadian cities; caused financial crises for families, businesses, organizations and governments alike; and heightened social challenges including mental health, domestic violence, addictions and homelessness.  Events of recent weeks have also exposed the extent to which systemic racism persists towards in particular Black and Indigenous communities. The global climate crisis, and the leading role that cities have been called on to play in responding to it, risks being ignored in the face of COVID-19 responses.  Across the country there are calls for a just, equitable and sustainable recovery from the pandemic.

In the need to address these challenges, Windsor is no different than any city. However, ongoing and increasing economic challenges mean the impacts of the global pandemic are particularly deeply felt here. There is no “normal” to which Windsor can return following the pandemic. Significantly more than a crisis management response is required to ensure that the social, environmental and economic health of the community is protected for decades to come.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a Healthy City as one that: “is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources which enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and developing to their maximum potential”. This provides a potential lens through which to consider the actions necessary in this city as we emerge from COVID-19.

The Windsor Law Centre for Cities, with the generous support of sponsors including the Canadian Urban Institute, the University of Windsor School of Creative Arts (SOCA), the City of Windsor (through Councillor Rino Bortolin’s ward funds), Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, the Downtown Windsor BIA, the University of Windsor WE-SPARK Health Institute, WorkForce WindsorEssex, Windsor Law’s Law, Disability and Social Change, Mean Studio, and Border City Living (, invites you to tune in on Friday for a Healthy Cities conversation led by a panel of members of the Windsor community.

Panelists will have a strict 4 minutes each to make their submissions focussed on one main theme: What should the City of Windsor be doing now to ensure a recovery in Windsor that is just, equitable, inclusive and sustainable for all?

Questions to guide the discussion include:

-what should we be doing now to address the systemic exclusion of many in our city? How do we ensure that the voices of traditionally marginalized groups such as Black and Indigenous communities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ and other equity-seeking groups are heard when important decisions are being made?

-what do small businesses need to ensure they can survive and thrive as we emerge from shutdown?

-how can we ensure climate action remains a priority while addressing COVID-19?

-what should we be doing from a public health or urban planning perspective to respond to the mental and physical health challenges of several months of isolation?

-how can we best support the arts community during this time?

-how do we ensure resiliency to a second wave of COVID-19 or a new pandemic?

A Q&A and discussion period will follow.


Mita Williams (University of Windsor, Leddy Library)

Speakers in order of appearance:  (Speaker Bios)

Hugo Vega (YMCA of Southwest Ontario)

Jeremiah Bowers (National Black Students’ Caucus)

Janice Kaffer (Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare)

Sarah Woodruff Atkinson (University of Windsor, Faculty of Human Kinetics/Community Health, Environment and Wellness Lab)

Judene McCalla (See You There Invitations)

Bryan Datoc (Craft Heads Brewing Co.)

Vincent Georgie (UWindsor SOCA and WIFF)

Yousef Wahb (Windsor Islamic Association)

Laverne Jacobs (Windsor Law/Law, Disability and Social Change)

Lyra Sheldon (student, École Sécondaire Catholique E.J. Lajeunesse)

Edwin Tam (University of Windsor, Faculty of Engineering)

Elayne Isaacs (Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre)

Deidre Ritsche (Border City Living)

Julian Villafuerte (WorkForce WindsorEssex)

Supplementary Resources/Background Reading


Thank you to our sponsors:

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June 26, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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