Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing

The evidence of families and individuals in need of affordable housing in the Toronto region surrounds us - growing numbers of homeless people, crowded hostels and long waiting lists for social housing. Some 260,000 households in the GTA pay more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, which is considered to be the maximum that a low-income family should pay given their needs for food, clothing and other necessities. The waiting list for social housing in the GTA is about 71,000 households. In Toronto alone, some 30,000 homeless individuals pass through the emergency shelter system every year. The...
Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

"The ability to attract creative people in arts and culture fields and to be open to diverse groups of people of different ethnic, racial and lifestyle groups provides distinct advantages to regions in generating innovations, growing and attracting high-technology industries, and spurring economic growth."- Meric Gertler and Richard Florida The arts are central to a healthy and vibrant community. They educate, inform and reflect who and what we are as a community. They are part of the very fabric that binds us together. They are also a key employment sector in the region with over 190,000 culture jobs in Toronto...
Community Services

Community Services

The Toronto region's community services infrastructure is a complex system of facilities, programs and social networks that include neighbourhood libraries, day care centres, schools, social and supportive housing projects, community centres, parks and playgrounds, group homes, emergency shelters and drop-ins. Growing poverty and demographic changes are driving increased demand for services in the GTA. However, in their attempt to reduce deficits and taxes over the past decade, all levels of government reduced funding for a variety of social programs, and in some cases eliminated them entirely. This has spawned community "hot spots"- neighbourhoods where residents lack even the most basic...
Early Childhood Development

Early Childhood Development

Many studies and task forces have clearly demonstrated the importance of the early years in establishing the foundation for children's later success. The most notable are the McCain-Mustard reports "The Early Years" (1999) and "The Early Years Three Years Later" (2002), and the Coffey-McCain report "The Commission on Early Learning and Child Care for the City of Toronto." These studies have shown that a child's cognitive, social and physical development by age six is a powerful predictor of his or her future school performance and adult well-being. Because most of the women in our region work outside the home, over...
Economic Integration of Immigrants

Economic Integration of Immigrants

Every year, the Toronto region welcomes half of all immigrants who arrive in Canada. As a city, we are home to the second highest proportion of immigrants worldwide, surpassing Sydney, Los Angeles and New York, and trailing only Miami. Nearly 44 per cent of the GTA's population and 47 per cent of the City of Toronto is foreign-born. The majority of newcomers to Toronto are skilled workers. More than 60 per cent of people who immigrate to the GTA are specifically selected for their skills, and more than half have some form of post-secondary education. In addition to job-specific skills,...
Income Security

Income Security

Income security is a critical part of our social safety net. It directly affects the living standards and labour market prospects of a great many of our citizens. Our income security system for working age adults faces several important problems: Minimum wage no longer pays enough to live and work at a level above the poverty line, especially in urban Canada.Existing programs make it difficult to escape the poverty trap especially when the penalties for earning other income are such that it is often better to choose welfare over working.There is little public or political pressure to change the situation....

New Fiscal Deals for Cities

Despite the strength of the Toronto region's economy and the wealth it produces, we have witnessed a growing gap between the public investments required in the region and the financial capacity of our local governments to fund those investments. Regional municipalities face escalating costs but have limited abilities to raise revenues. This is forcing tough choices on the city-region - choices between building roads or paying the police, supporting public health programs or digging sewers, reducing homelessness or supporting the arts. We are home to the second highest proportion of immigrants amongst worldwide cities, surpassing Sydney, Los Angeles and New...

Post Secondary Education

Post-secondary education plays a critical role in preparing people for active participation in the social, economic and cultural life of their communities, and in building the highly skilled labour force necessary to compete in today's knowledge economy. The GTA is home to four universities: the University of Toronto, York University, and Ryerson University and the Ontario Institute of Technology. We also have six excellent colleges of applied arts and technology: Centennial College, Durham College, George Brown, Humber College, Seneca College and Sheridan College. There are many more excellent post-secondary institutions in the wider region. Ontario's post-secondary institutions are doing a...

Public Education

The importance of a strong and effective public education system that is responsive to the needs of our students cannot be overemphasized. All students, no matter where they come from or what their needs, are entitled to the best education in core curriculum subjects, as well as in the arts, music and physical education. A high quality public education system educates the 'whole child.' It aims to foster excellence and achievement and to ensure that all children have the best opportunity to develop their intellectual, social and physical capacities to their full potential. Public education is essential to ensuring that...

Regional Transportation and Planning

Growing and maintaining vibrant and prosperous city regions doesn't just happen. Successful regional planning means making taking steps such as identifying urban centres where population growth should and should not occur, solidifying transportation linkages, protecting and managing green space and investing in infrastructure such as roads and information technology. As a fast-growing region and the economic engine of Ontario and Canada, the GTA must be clear and confident in its strategic planning. We must approach our decisions in a way that supports: Clean waterClean airGreen spaceSafetyAccess to facilities such as schools, recreations centres and health-care facilitiesAdequate and flexible transportation choicesCompact...