Diane Dyson is a social researcher, activist, and blogger working for the past two decades on issues addressing neighbourhoods, schooling, and poverty. She is currently on leave as Director, Research & Public Policy at WoodGreen Community Services, a large neighbourhood-based multiservice agency in east end Toronto.
While at WoodGreen, Diane has focused on issues that help communities thrive. Diane led research and program development on access to employment, community services, housing programs, settlement and integration, and community economic development. She also was a core member of Community Assets for Everyone, who successfully put community hubs on the provincial government's agenda. She was the policy lead and supervisor for the DECA/WoodGreen Pop-Up Shop project which successfully pushed for the elimination of the vacant storefront tax rebate.
At the municipal level, Diane has successfully pushed for fairer taxes , the poverty reduction strategy, community hubs, tenant rights, and funding for vulnerable people facing bed bugs. Well-travelled in the City Hall's corridors, she sits on numerous municipal committees including at the Toronto Newcomer Leadership Table, Wellbeing Toronto, Urban Heart, Poverty Reduction Advisory Committee, Children’s Wellbeing, Child and Youth Action Committee and, most recently, the Seniors Strategy Accountability Table.
Prior to this, Diane worked at United Way of Greater Toronto, where she co-authored studies on poverty and stronger neighbourhoods. Diane managed United Way’s Social Research Grants, funding efforts by communities to develop new solutions to challenging problems. As part of the civic response to the Summer of the Gun, she supported the development of the Strong Neighbourhood Strategy.
Diane has also has been Assistant Ombudsperson at Ryerson University, Research Director at People for Education, and was president of Canadian University Press in her youth.
Diane's community volunteer contributions include work with the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, Social Planning Toronto, Distress Centre of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board's Equity Policy Advisory Committee and Inner City Advisory Committee, the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives, the Toronto Neighbourhood Research Network, and Civic Action GTA (as a mentor).
Diane speaks a few languages badly. She holds a B.A., Political Science, from Concordia University in Montreal, and an M.Ed., Higher Education, from OISE/UofT. Her doctoral studies were interrupted by motherhood and her advocacy work with People for Education.
Diane makes her home in the Danforth & Dawes neighbourhood and is a member of the Danforth Village Community Association, the East York Garden Club, and the East York Historical Society.
Her two children are now grown to full height.