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A Social Sustainability Plan for Wood Buffalo

Supported by a community-based Project Advisory Committee and through financial support from the Canadian Red Cross, the Municipality is working on the development of a Social Sustainability Plan (SSP). The SSP will outline social sustainability priorities that each community partner and key stakeholder, including the Municipality, can use to align policies, strategies and actions to support decision-making and resource allocation in an effort to improve quality of life for current and future residents.

Community Involvement
Social sustainability for our community is a collaborative effort and strong partnerships are essential. The planning process and activities will establish the roles and responsibilities of the Municipality, organizations and agencies, and other key stakeholders so they can work together on this initiative. A fundamental component will be engagement and conversations with social profit, education, health, industry, government and Indigenous partners and organizations to share perspectives, knowledge and experience.


  • Increase the awareness and knowledge in the community about Social Sustainability and the Social Sustainability project.
  • Define social sustainability in a Wood Buffalo context.
  • Identify social sustainability priorities, strategies and actions that each community partner and key stakeholder, including the Municipality, can use to align policies, strategies and actions.
  • Identify partners and stakeholders that will address priority actions.
  • Identify high-level, meaningful community indicators that will help measure the success of implementation and inform ongoing decision-making.
  • Identify a process of ongoing engagement whereby the plan is revisited.

What is Social Sustainability?
Social sustainability focuses on ways to sustain priority programs and services that work towards an improved quality of life for current and future residents. Social sustainability considers the linkages and interdependencies between the social, environmental and economic dimensions that will make our community more sustainable.

A definition of Social Sustainability specific to Wood Buffalo will be developed through the engagement process of the project. Some examples of definitions of social sustainability include:

Community resilience is the capability to anticipate risk, limit impact, and bounce back rapidly through survival, adaptability, evolution, and growth in the face of turbulent change. Resilience as an attribute, with adaptability at its core can enable communities to determine how resilient they are and to take actions to improve their resilience.1

A social system's capacity to facilitate human efforts to deduce the trends of change, reduce vulnerabilities, and facilitate adaptation. The capacity of a [social-ecological system] to sustain preferred modes of economic activity.2

Community social resilience – The ability of community members to take meaningful, deliberate, collective action to remedy the impact of a problem, including the ability to interpret the environment, intervene, and move on.3

Project Updates

  • Consultants Moorhouse & Associates contracted
  • A community-based Project Advisory Committee has been established
  • Process interviews with some stakeholders
  • Document review completed
  • Agency and organization working group sessions held Dec. 4 – 6, 2017

For more information, please contact Caitlin Downie at or 780-788-1497.

1 A CARRI Report, Definitions of Community Resilience: An Analysis; 2013

2 Kofinas, Community social resilience; 2003,/p>

3 Pfefferbaum, 2005

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