Champions of Change: The Broadbent Institute’s 2024 Awards

Each year, in partnership with the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, and Mayor of Toronto Olivia Chow, the Broadbent Institute has the honour of awarding the Jack Layton Progress Prize and Charles Taylor Prize for Excellence in Policy Research at the annual Progress Summit.

This year’s shortlist of Layton and Taylor Prize nominees represented an inspiring field of policy thinkers who have had a demonstrable impact on policy making, and activists who are organizing and achieving social change in Canada.

The Layton Prize is awarded annually to a Canadian individual or organization who has run a particularly noteworthy political or issue campaign, reflecting the ideals Jack Layton exemplified, including justice, sustainability and democracy.

The recipients of this year’s Layton Prize are AccessBC co-founders Devon Black and Teale Phelps Bondaroff.

As far as grassroots advocacy campaigns go, few success stories have seen the level of accomplishment reached by AccessBC. Launched by Teale Phelps Bondaroff and Devon Black in 2017, AccessBC set out to achieve free prescription contraception in British Columbia, a mandate that was achieved in April 2023.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow presents AccessBC co-founders Devon Black and Teale Phelps Bondaroff with this year’s Jack Layton Award at the 2024 Broadbent Institute Awards. | Photo courtesy of the Broadbent Institute.

Researcher, community organizer, and municipal councillor Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff served as the Chair of AccessBC since its inception, a role which has included managing day-to-day communications and administration, training new volunteers and coordinating a growing team, speaking to the press, researching and writing briefing papers, organizing meetings with MLAs, fundraising, and more. Lawyer and community organizer Devon Black has given critical communications support, drafting press releases and managing press relations, authoring messaging guides and other training materials, and mentoring new team members. As the campaign gained momentum, she also stepped into the role of National Liaison, where she helped support other nascent campaigns across the country.

The two campaigned tirelessly, enlisting the support of upwards of 80 volunteers over the years, until free prescription contraception was rolled out by the BC government in April 2023. In the first 7 months alone, nearly 200,000 BC residents were able to access prescription contraception, at no cost. Devon and Teale have also helped set up and support campaigns in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and they are working to help set up campaigns in Alberta and Quebec.

The Charles Taylor Prize was also awarded at this year’s Broadbent Institute Awards, with this year’s recipient being Sheila Block, a longtime economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, where her work applied an intersectional approach to labour markets, public finance, and inequality.

The Broadbent Institute, founded in 2011, is Canada’s leading progressive policy and training organization. With offices across the country, we champion change through excellent research and analysis, educating and supporting a new generation of leaders, and the publication of innovative journalism through our media division, PressProgress.

Our work is guided by the Broadbent Principles for Canadian Social Democracy – we believe all people have equal worth and equal rights, and that we all benefit from living in an increasingly equal society.

We are committed to realizing the promise of Canada as a diverse, just, and inclusive society. These values matter to us today and they matter to our future. The vast majority of Canadians share these progressive values.

Source: The Broadbent Institute

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