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Project type: Coalition
Best practices: Specialized supports
Activity type: Intervention
Population served: People in crisis

Cristina Timony
Manager / Gestionnaire
(705) 885-1628 ext. 241
[email protected]


    Community Mobilization Sudbury (CMS) is a community partnership representing 32 agencies from across community sectors (including education, health, emergency services, policing, mental health and addictions, child welfare, aboriginal, francophone, LGBT, municipal social services, housing and justice sector organizations). Launched in May 2014, the CMS model was driven by partner desires to prevent harm rather than respond to crises once they occurred. The Community Mobilization Sudbury model is based upon a well-established, evidence-informed and evaluated model that originated in Scotland and has since been successfully replicated across Saskatchewan. This risk-driven, collaborative model of community safety and well-being is now gaining support and traction in communities across Ontario and Canada.

    In Ontario, over 50 similar models are currently operating including Toronto, Waterloo and North Bay, and Guelph.

    Goals and objectives

    It is recognized that the CMS model is an investment of resources upstream in the coordinated prevention of negative outcomes, rather than a downstream response to harmful incidents once they have occurred. Community Mobilization Sudbury discussions and collaborations result in coordinated interventions to reduce acutely elevated risk. These early interventions have demonstrated their potential to reduce the need for more intensive and enforcement-based responses such as hospitalizations, arrests and apprehensions.

    Community Mobilization Sudbury has identified three priority goals:

    1. Individuals and families at acutely elevated risk are connected to timely and appropriate supports.
    2. Human service agencies have greater capacity to respond to situations of acutely elevated risk and prevent negative outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
    3. CMS partners and products influence positive change to improve the conditions that influence community safety and well-being.


    Since May 2014, representatives from CMS partner agencies have met twice a week at the Rapid Mobilization Table (RMT). The RMT is a focused, disciplined discussion where participants collaboratively identify situations of acutely elevated risk. Once a situation is identified, all necessary agency partners participate in a coordinated, joint response – ensuring that those at risk are connected to appropriate, timely, effective and caring supports. Examples of RMT responses have included: the collaborative development of treatment and safety plans, successful connections to housing and other underlying determinants of health and the provision of creative and culturally appropriate supports (e.g. healing circles).

    In addition to the immediate responses to risk undertaken by the CMS Rapid Mobilization Table, data is collected and analyzed in order to identify trends, common risk factors and underlying conditions and contributors to situations of acutely elevated risk. CMS knowledge products are shared widely with community decision-makers and have informed planning activities including the development of a local Managed Alcohol Program/Harm Reduction Home, supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities and broader, multi-sectoral community safety and well-being planning.

    Advantages and challenges


    • Trusting relationships among partners – this is critical to ensuring appropriate sharing of information and engaging in collaborative and creative responses to risk.
    • Taking time to establish a shared vision and values among CMS partners. The CMS values of Honesty, Respect, Collaboration, Courage, Humility and Caring guide how partners work with each other and with those they serve.
    • Leadership support and commitment from partner agencies across community sectors.


    The CMS partnership represents a new and innovative model of collaboration. It requires every partner agency to establish their own processes for identifying situations of acutely elevated risk. It further requires demonstrated agency support for responding to situations of risk in creative and coordinated ways. This type of change takes time and requires ongoing support from CMS staff and steering committee members.


    Celebrate your successes and use multiple approaches for measuring your impact. CMS relies on both qualitative and quantitative information to inform our progress including frequency data, partner interviews, case studies and individual level impact/outcome monitoring.


    Demonstrated impact: 1) individuals are receiving timely connections to community supports and services; 2) partner agencies have increased capacity and a new tool in their toolkit to respond to complex situations of risk.