Systems Change

Community Development

Systems Change

Systems Change brings communities together by taking action to solve the root causes of complex social problems. This means challenging ideas, beliefs, and behaviours of individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions. Through Systems Change, neighbours have the power to advocate and lead justice in the communities and places they care about and live in. We accomplish this through initiatives focused on anti-racism, equity, and justice. 

For more information or to get involved, email Emily Rees at

What is a system?

A system is a set of things — people, organizations, the environment or whatever — that works together in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behaviour over time. The system works to achieve an objective. For example, we can think of the way that we access food in Vancouver as a food system. We can think of the way that people attend school as an education system. The city government that makes our laws is a government system. Systems are part of our everyday lives and make important decisions on how we live. 


Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network Spoke

In July, 2020 CNH was designated as a spoke in the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network. We are supporting anti-racism and anti-hate work throughout Vancouver.

Scale Your Impact: Systems Change Certificate

This community-based certificate brings together community partners, volunteer leaders and artists in a classroom setting. In this nine-month program, participants learn about the concept of systems change. They work with a cohort to learn how to address complex societal problems and create lasting change in their communities. This program runs annually from September to June. Click here to learn more about the program.

The Vancouver Plan

CNH is collaborating with a network of neighbourhood houses to engage in the Vancouver Plan of the City of Vancouver. Across neighbourhoods, we are connecting with equity-seeking groups to have conversations about the future of the city where we live. We are collecting community members feedback to inform municipal policy. Our goal is to work with the City and neighbourhood houses to plan and co-create an anti-racist city. 

Healing Circles

This past year Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH), in collaboration with Community Engager, Carmel Tanaka, invited anyone identifying as Asian Canadian and people of Asian descent to participate in a sharing and healing circle, developed by Elimin8Hate, to explore the story of their name — all versions of it. This was space to reflect on the pressure many Asian people feel to westernize our names to be accepted, and the growing movement to reclaim our birth or ethnic names. Stay tuned as we will be organizing future healing circles.  

Black healing circles are run in partnership with Nadine Tilma, registered clinical councillor, specializing in queer, feminist, anti-oppressive and trauma-informed approaches. 

The upcoming healing circle is for Black girls (trans and non-binary inclusive) and will focus on collective care, mental health, ancestry, joy, creativity and community. Priority will be given to folks with disabilities and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. 

Program runs Mondays starting October 25, 2021 through November 15, 2021 6 pm to 8 pm (event online, must register). Contact Nadine:

Anti-Racism Resource List

Interested to learn more about anti-racism and what you can do? No matter where you are in your journey, we have collected online, free anti-racism resources to support your learning. View the list at

The Systems Change Initiative is funded by the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Foundation and the Province of BC.