The Toronto City Summit Alliance is a coalition of civic leaders from the private, labour, voluntary and public sectors in the Toronto region, and includes a network of hundreds of volunteers.
We formed this alliance because we care about the future of the Toronto region. In June of 2002, many of us participated in the Toronto City Summit – a conference of leaders representing the city’s diverse communities – to assess our urban region’s strengths and challenges, and to shape a framework for action that could move us forward over the next five to ten years.
We heard that our economy had been performing well: growth in employment and output were strong. But we were disturbed by evidence of threats to our prosperity, including growing income disparity, the deterioration of our inner city, a drop in tourism, our decaying infrastructure, and the weakening of our public services. We heard about a once-great city on the verge of decline. This was not cause for despair but a call to action. We were emboldened by the need to rebuild the city region and determined to get on with the job. There had been enough talk and hand-wringing. We knew that there were problems, and we also knew that solutions could be found. It was time to act.
The Toronto City Summit Alliance was formed in 2002 to address the challenges the Summit had identified as critical to our shared future – finance, infrastructure, education, immigration and the underlying health of our regional economy. The TCSA laid out its assessment and recommendations in a 2003 report, Enough Talk: An Action Plan for the Toronto Region. Enough Talk was initially aimed at all levels of government – municipal, provincial and federal – as well as the private sector, voluntary organizations and citizens at large and it has since functioned as the TCSA’s guiding action plan.
Over the last three years, the TCSA has not tried to address all of the issues facing the region, but has instead picked a limited number of areas in which there has been a clear consensus for action and where progress could be made quickly. While we continue to urge all governments, political parties and candidates to endorse our recommendations, governments alone cannot address the challenges we face. Strong partnerships in civil society are necessary to the well being of our city region.
The members of the Toronto City Summit Alliance are personally dedicated to bringing the Enough Talk action plan to life. Since 2003, we have worked with community groups, voluntary organizations, business community members, organized labour as well as citizens of the city region to initiate and support a variety of initiatives, including:
- The Toront03 Alliance, which helped to revitalize Toronto’s tourist industry and regional economy in post-SARS;
- The Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force, which galvanized efforts to address social and community infrastructure;
- The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, which works to facilitate the economic integration of immigrants;
- The Toronto Region Research Alliance, which works to advance the research and innovation agenda of the Golden Horseshoe;
- The Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults (MISWAA), which released its report Time for a Fair Deal, in May 2006;
- Luminato, a new international festival of arts and creativity that will premiere in June 2007.