New Member: Wilfrid Laurier University

Updated: Sep 18

Wilfrid Laurier University is a multi-campus, comprehensive university whose community of researchers and scholars engage with the world through community citizenship, respectful relationships, openness to change, and environmental and social responsibility. Laurier hopes to share our community-based research expertise within and beyond the CBR Canada network, as part of our on-going commitment to co-creating dynamic community-based research programs and projects.

A Community-Based Focus

Many of Laurier’s research centres bring together community members, researchers and students to co-create solutions to urgent issues. Research centres active in community-based research include:

· Cold Regions Research Centre

· Centre for Research on Security Practices

· International Migration Research Centre

· Laurier Centre for Music in The Community

· Laurier Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action (CCRLA)

· Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (LCSFS)

· Laurier Centre for Women in Science (WinS)

· Manulife Centre for Community Health Research

· Sun Life Financial Centre for Physically Active Communities

· Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa

· Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability (VERiS)

Northern Community-Based Research

For more than 30 years, Laurier has been working alongside Northern governments and Indigenous communities to answer urgent questions posed by rapid climate change and anthropogenic pressures. Studies have focused on community-identified issues around how changes to permafrost thaw, land cover, fire, and snow cover threaten the quantity, quality and rates of flow of northern water systems. Laurier researchers are also facilitating the exchange of information between elders and youth, as well as contributing to local capacity building for land and water monitoring throughout Northwestern Canada. Over the next 10 years, Laurier’s extended research Partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories aims to expand the breadth and depth of our northern research initiatives to address additional community-identified research priorities related to health and social services, tourism and trade, and municipal affairs.

Community-Based Research Projects

Laurier researchers are currently engaged in exceptional community-based and initiated research projects, locally and internationally. Some examples of these projects include:

  • The ACTIVE Integration Partnership which works closely with community partners and community-university alliances to foster social integration of newcomers to Canada through physical activity.

  • The African, Caribbean and Black Research Protocol Project is establishing guidelines for ethical research with Black-embodied people in Canada, assisting ACB communities and allied researchers in thinking through conducting ethical and beneficial research with and for Black communities.

  • Working with the Brantford Downtown Outreach Project to evaluate the effectiveness of outreach with people in the downtown core who may be experiencing addiction, mental health or housing challenges.

  • Various projects working with Brant County and community agencies to collect data that informs community policies and practices related to rural safety, sexual assault and downtown.

  • The Everybody Dies Project explores how the Hospice of Waterloo Region can recruit and retain volunteers amidst social, ethnic and demographic changes in the region.

  • The From NIMBY to Neighbour Project which is brokering a dialogue about homelessness among rough-living folk, businesses, and law enforcement in multiple communities.

  • The FLEdGE: Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged Partnership explores the current and potential role of community food initiatives to create regional, sustainable transformation.

  • The UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies works closely with community partners to examine how food systems can support biodiversity, enhanced community resilience and improved food security and well-being. The Chair prioritizes education and knowledge sharing and will support ongoing community-based learning as well cultivate the interface between science and traditional knowledge.

  • The Making The Shift Project on conduct a multi-site, multi-year community-engaged research demonstration project examining the effectiveness of a Housing First and integrated mental health and addiction service model for youth experiencing homelessness, mental health and substance use problems.

  • The NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering will employ an ARC approach (action, research and communication) to build evidence-based equity, diversity and inclusion programs in science with community partners.

  • The OutLook Study survey of the LGBTQ2S+ community in Waterloo Region has led to the creation of intersectoral health-equity interventions for marginalized groups.

  • The Private Sponsorship of Refugees Project works with Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program participants to create recommendations on how to improve Canada's PSR program.

  • The Proclaiming Our Roots Project uses digital storytelling, community sharing circles, community mapping and interviews to explore the intersectional forms of personal, institutional and structural violence, and the erasure Aboriginal and Black peoples face, and how this relates to service access.

Read more examples of Laurier's community engagement through research


Facing COVID-19 in our Communities

Laurier researchers are engaged with community partners to create a new post-COVID world and investigate emerging community needs. Examples include:

· The Building Back Better: Post COVID-19 Task Force, led by the UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies at Laurier.

· The Hungry Cities Partnership, an international network that is working directly with residents in China to co-create improved food access during the pandemic.

· The Migrant Worker Health Project, a task force of experts working directly with migrant workers to facilitate collaborative strategies to increase migrant workers' access to healthcare services and workers' compensation.

Integrated Community-based Research Training Programs

Laurier offers many unique opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to engage directly in community-based research in the Waterloo Region, Brantford and beyond. Examples of innovative programs and experiential learning options include the community psychology doctoral program, partnering with the United Way to offer a Program Evaluation Certificate, social work practicums, and experiential learning options like the student-community research partnership for social justice and well-being internship.

Future Plans

Through CBR Canada, Laurier hopes to:

· Access resources to support best practices in community-based research programs and knowledge mobilization.

· Invite participation in ‘The Community Hub’, including Waterloo Region’s first community-based research media lab located at Laurier.

· Deepen relationships with communities, researchers and students across Canada working in community-based research fields and methods.

· Collaboratively build strong community-based research practices using research evidence.

· Continue to share Laurier’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as part of university-community relationship building.

· Grow the impact of Laurier’s community-based research within the broader public domain.

Contact Us

To engage with our researchers, research centres and projects, please visit wlu.ca/research or email us directly at sreibling@wlu.ca. We look forward to engaging with the CBRC network.

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Advancing community-based research excellence in Canada

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Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G5