We still have limited understanding of many issues regarding asset–building policies. What is the role of asset–based approaches in addressing poverty and social exclusion? What does the evidence tell us regarding the advantages and limitations of asset–based policies? What are the implications of adding an asset–building dimension to social policy in Canada? What issues and challenges need to be addressed, and what research is needed to build on existing knowledge and experience? In December 2003, the Policy Research Initiative (PRI), with support from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Human Resources Development Canada, and the National Secretariat on Homelessness, organized a conference to address these questions. The conference, an integral part of the PRI project on New Approaches to Poverty and Exclusion, brought together about 125 senior government representatives, scholars, social policy experts, and community representatives from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, to learn from existing research, policy, and practice in this area, and to assess critically the appropriateness, merit, and applicability of an asset–based approach to social policy in Canada.