Lucie Chagnon

Ashoka Fellow
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Fellow Since 2009


This profile was prepared when Lucie Chagnon was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Balancing work and family responsibilities is an increasingly difficult challenge for individuals to tackle, particularly when employers treat employees’ personal and family problems as obstacles to productive work. Lucie is working to resolve this issue by inviting employers to dedicate resources to help employees manage their personal responsibilities. In offering a wide range of ethical services that employees can access easily through the web, Lucie helps employers’ aid employees in addressing their own personal needs in a way that does not interfere with company performance, but rather harmonizes working relationships.

Within her program, Lucie works to link the most ethical and high standard service providers in a point-based system. The employees exchange the points their employers purchased and access a comprehensive range of services, including family support, home services, courier and brokerage services, transportation, health services, and food. For the most part, these services are provided by citizen organizations (COs) with social missions that agree to comply with a high ethical standards agreement. The use of these points reinforces the loyalty of employees and motivates the employers to become more compassionate and develop a real understanding of the employees’ daily life responsibilities.

To make this system accessible to all, Lucie has also developed an online market where employees can identify and select from a wide array of services those that will be best help them deal with their day-to-day responsibilities at home. Through her work, Lucie aims to help build healthier families, dedicated employers and, ultimately, a socially sustainable economy.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person


I was elected for Commodus, the first online work-life balance service harmonizing employee-employer relationships. I have since returned to the field of community relations, and am currently engaged in a neighbourhood capacity-building strategy at Montreal’s Centre Bon Courage. My work at the Centre supports strategies to reach out to over 360 families in the surrounding apartment buildings, mostly of African, Asian, and Latino immigrants. These families share common space as they struggle to settle with difficult life conditions. The neighbourhood is unfortunately characterised by poverty, isolation, language difficulties, unemployment, and episodes of tension and delinquency.
From a food bank to a day camp, and language courses to library and computer access, the Centre fosters community and increases neighbourhood participation. The Centre also proudly owns a web radio with a very large audience where men and women of all ages and nationalities share their stories. As many residents are also volunteers, it reflects cooperation, mutual assistance, and reciprocity. The Centre has been honored several times by the city of Montreal. Bon Courage could be translated with different sense: wishing you well, hang in there, or good luck. In terms of marketing, this name is not a seller; yet it is significant because it was chosen by the residents. There is a strong message inresidents stating that they are here to build a better life and seek solutions when times are hard.  As people have the opportunity to meet, talk, play, and support each other, they learn to fight together to build better lives.

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