Our Mission

The SPCO illuminates the realities of poverty and marginalization to shift understanding and inspire collaborative action for positive change.

Our Vision

Every resident in Oxford County experiences well-being and a sense of belonging.

Our Values

Respectful collaboration.
Excellence in the quality of our work.
Inclusive community engagement.
Increased community capacity and resilience.

Social Planning

Council News

& Announcements

You're Invited: SPCO AGM Thriving in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous World


Monday, June 3, 2019 5:30PM 

South Gate Centre, 191 Old Wellington Street South, Woodstock

If you are an employee, volunteer, elected official or community leader involved with the social sector, we invite you to attend a Social Planning Council Oxford event where leaders come together to grapple with the current issue:

How do our organizations survive/thrive in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous “VUCA” world?

  • How do we move forward when we feel we have little or control (over funding, policy etc)?
  • How do we avoid getting stuck in the waiting place and building silos out of fear?
  • How do we refrain from common pitfalls of becoming defenders of the status quo, losing confidence or vision or going quiet?

The current context will be set briefly and then the guest speaker, Bruce MacDonald from Imagine Canada, will provide positive solutions to not only survive the current climate/context but thrive.  The free evening will include refreshments, SPCO brief agm, keynote address, table conversations.

Register at eventbrite for this limited seating event.  If you have any questions, contact Stephanie at: stephanie.ellens-clark@spcoxford.ca or 226-228-0539. 

Join our Board of Directors!

We are seeking up to 6 new board members.  Check out the volunteer board member posting and apply by May 17, 2019.

VOTE! Municipal Election 2018-Put Poverty on the Agenda

What are you doing Monday, October 22?  What candidate(s) will you vote for in our upcoming municipal election? Your vote can impact who makes decisions about the services and policies that impact your daily life.  We asked candidates across the County about social issues related to poverty, affordable housing and transportation.  Check out your municipality below for the candidates responses:

City of Woodstock

Town of Tillsonburg

Town of Ingersoll

Township of Zorra

Township of Blandford-Blenheim

Township of South-West Oxford

Township of East Zorra-Tavistock

Township of Norwich


SPCO Welcomes New Executive Director-Stephanie Ellens-Clark

Social Planning Council Oxford is pleased to welcome Stephanie Ellens-Clark to the organization as our new Executive Director.  Stephanie grew up in Oxford and is happy to be coming back to the community to work and act together on important social issues.

Stephanie is a social worker by trade who specialized in her Bachelor and Master of Social Work in macro level practice-policy, social planning, community development.  She has spent her career doing various types of system level planning, community facilitation, evaluation and research and actually started her career at the Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries.

She then worked at Region of Waterloo Public Health as a Planner for 9 years and then moved to the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) as Manager of Planning where she collaborated with community partners to improve the health system by leading the health equity portfolio, planning an older adult strategy and dementia capacity plan and supporting mental health and addictions planning.  Volunteering is also a big part of Stephanie’s life as she recently wrapped up an 8 year term on the board of directors of a non-profit that serves older adults.

Stephanie works hard to balance all this with her family life – being a wife and mom of a 5 year old and twin 2 year olds.  Her family lives out on a rural property where they are attempting to have a hobby farm with fish, maple syrup, ducks, chickens and soon to arrive lambs.  She is very excited to be joining and leading this amazing organization that aligns with her passion and values.

Stephanie can be reached at stephanie.ellens-clark@spcoxford.ca .

Fact Sheet on Predatory Lending

The Social Planning Council – Oxford is committed to providing the citizens of Oxford County information and education to improve the wellbeing of all members of our community, as in this case, about income inequality. Alternative financial institutions, often called payday loans, engage in predatory lending practices. This report is designed to provide information about predatory lending and the effects of alternative financial institutions on vulnerable populations in Oxford County.

The full report can be accessed here:

Fact Sheet on Predatory Lending

Living Wage Campaign 2017

A Living Wage is Not Minimum Wage

A living wage is not the same as the minimum wage, which is the legal minimum all employers must pay. The living wage reflects what earners need to have a basic but acceptable standard of living, based on the actual costs of living in a specific community. The living wage is calculated as the hourly rate at which a household can meet its basic needs, once government transfers have been added to the family’s income and deductions have been subtracted.

The full report can be accessed here:

Living Wage Campaign 2017

Living Wage Report Dec. 2017

Wellbeing Defined

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing defines wellbeing as “the presence of the highest possibility of quality of life in its full breadth of expression focused on but not necessarily exclusive to: good living standards, robust health, a sustainable environment, vital communities, an educated populace, balanced time use, high levels of democratic participation, and access to and participation in leisure and culture” – (Canadian Index of Wellbeing, 2016).

The full report can be accessed here:

Living Wage Report Dec. 2017

Youth Voice Report: Mental Health & Suicide

Released in September 2016 by the Social Planning Council Oxford, and funded partly by the Time 2 Change Minds (T2CM) Fund through the Canadian Mental Health Association Oxford County Branch and Woodstock Hospital. The Youth Voice Report: Mental Health & Suicide thematically outlines the issues that have come to the surface in the ways suicide, mental health, and related topics are confronted by our youth. The full report can be accessed here:

Youth Voice Report: Mental Health & Suicide

A summary fact sheet of this report can be found below:


Challenging the myths: Refugees in Canada
What is myth and what is fact? Our new publication separates it out for you: Challenging the myths: Refugees in Canada
Food for Change
Have you ever wondered why Food Banks, created as a temporary measure, are still going strong today? Simply put, because while they put food in bellies, they do not eliminate food insecurity (otherwise known as lack of adequate access to healthy, culturally appropriate, affordable food). How can we move the mark from charity to dignity? Our new publication, Food for Change: From Charity to Dignity, gives some ideas.
Oxford County is ready for change. There are many groups working towards making the shift from charity to dignity. Will you join us?
Social Planning Council Oxford

447 Hunter Street Woodstock, ON Canada N4S 4G7 phone: (226) 228-0539 email: info@spcoxford.ca

About Us

The goal of the Social Planning Council Oxford is to bring people together to actively participate in social development to improve the quality of life of Oxford County residents.


spcoxford Funders