Community Development and Social Innovation

Program: CDSI
Credential: Ontario College Diploma
Delivery: Full-time
Work Integrated Learning: 2 Field Placements
Length: 4 Semesters
Duration: 2 Years
Effective: Fall 2017
Location: Orillia


Social challenges require collaboration from multiple sectors to make a difference in our world. The program provides students with an interdisciplinary, systems approach to making transformative changes to our communities. The program combines social justice and social change principles with strategic skills and knowledge from the non profit, government and business sectors. Curriculum includes study in the following areas: social challenges, community development, social entrepreneurship, business, fundraising, and event planning, human resources and leadership development.

Through experiential learning, students participate in the community building process and become facilitators of social change. By engaging directly with communities, students learn to appreciate and build upon the strengths of the community and utilize multiple perspectives to effectively make a difference.

Career Opportunities

Many employment opportunities in this field may be found in the nonprofit and government sectors in areas such as community development, program and event planning, and in the newly emerging field of social entrepreneurship and innovation.

The primary career categories include:

  • Community Development Worker
  • Community Outreach Worker
  • Community Economic Development Worker
  • Community Event Planner
  • Community Project Manager
  • Social Entrepreneur
  • Social Innovator

Program Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  • build relationships with individuals concerned with community work to promote awareness and understanding of the community sector;
  • appraise strengths, resources, and assets of individuals, groups and communities to assist in the promotion of social change;
  • serve in a variety of grassroots organizations to develop a variety of non-profit business skills;
  • use creativity in the development of new, socially innovative services and programs that reflect current community needs;
  • integrate social entrepreneurship skills and approaches within existing services and community resources to foster positive change in the community;
  • conduct one’s self professionally, adhere to relevant legislation, and consider the political, social, environmental and/or economic implications when fostering social change;
  • identify the importance of environmentally sustainable practices within the community sector;
  • align leadership strategies to manage relationships, resolve conflict and respond to issues that arise when doing community development work.

The Program Progression

Fall Intake

  • Sem 1: Fall 2017
  • Sem 2: Winter 2018
  • Sem 3: Fall 2018
  • Sem 4: Winter 2019

Admission Requirements

OSSD or equivalent with

  • Grade 12 English (C or U)

Mature students, non-secondary school applicants (19 years or older), and home school applicants may also be considered for admission. Eligibility may be met by applicants who have taken equivalent courses, upgrading, completed their GED, and equivalency testing. For complete details refer to:

Applicants who have taken courses from a recognized and accredited post-secondary institution and/or have relevant life/learning experience may also be considered for admission; refer to the Credit Transfer Centre website for details:

Criminal Reference/Vulnerable Sector Check

Placement agencies require an up-to-date clear criminal reference check and vulnerable sector check prior to going out on placement. Students should obtain their criminal reference three months prior to placement; checks conducted earlier may not be considered current. As some jurisdictions require longer lead-time for processing, please check with the program coordinator to ensure you allow for sufficient turn-around time. It is the student's responsibility to provide the completed document prior to placement start.

NOTE: A record of criminal offences, for which a pardon has not been granted, may prevent students from completing their placements, thereby affecting their ability to graduate.

Additional Information

Applicants must have an up-to-date immunization record, Standard First Aid and CPR certification before proceeding on field placement. It is recommended that First Aid training is completed prior to program entry.

Graduation Requirements

17 Mandatory Courses
2 Communications Courses
3 General Education Courses
2 Field Placements

Graduation Eligibility

To graduate from this program, the passing weighted average for promotion through each semester, from year to year, and to graduate is 60%. Additionally, a student must attain a minimum of 50% or a letter grade of P (Pass) or S (Satisfactory) in each course in each semester unless otherwise stated on the course outline.


Mandatory Courses
CDSI 1000Introduction to Community Development and Social Innovation
CDSI 1001Financial Accountability and Resource Development in the Community Sector
CDSI 1002Community Service Learning and Contemporary Social Issues
CDSI 2001Community Impact and Evaluation Methodologies
ENTR 1004Social Entrepreneurship
FNCE 2015Social Finance
GNED 1011Developing Leadership
HUMN 1007Information Ecosystems for Human Services
HUMN 1008Success in Human Services and Beyond
HURM 2006Human Resource Practices in the Community Sector
MGMT 1003Event Planning and Project Management
MKTG 2037Public Relations and Marketing in the Community Sector
SSWK 1013Social Welfare and Political Ideologies
SSWK 2006Community Development: Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice
SSWK 2009Field Placement Seminar 1
SSWK 2010Field Placement Seminar 2
SSWK 2014Community Practice in Social Service Work
Communications Courses
Select 2 courses from the communications list during registration.
General Education Courses
Select 3 courses from the general education list during registration.
Field Placements
CDSI 2000Field Placement 1
CDSI 2002Field Placement 2

Information contained in College documents respecting programs is correct at the time of publication. Academic content of programs and courses is revised on an ongoing basis to ensure relevance to changing educational objectives and employment market needs. The college reserves the right to add or delete programs, options, courses, timetables or campus locations subject to sufficient enrolment, and the availability of courses.