Majority of the New Toronto City Council Commit to Reduce Poverty

Update (November 12, 2018): City Councillors Cynthia Lai and Jennifer McKelvie have recently endorsed the Prosperity Pledge, bringing the total number of Council members (including Mayor Tory) who have signed it to 19.

 

Of the 26 members of Council elected in Toronto on Monday night, 17 signed a “prosperity pledge,” committing to fully fund and implement the city’s first poverty reduction strategy, adopted unanimously by the previous Council in 2015.

The “Prosperity Platform” campaign, led by a community and faith coalition, demands that the new City Council take action and fully fund, implement, and monitor progress on the poverty reduction strategy. In the months leading up to the election, the campaign sought signed pledges from 239 candidates (for whom contact information was available) registered for election.

Over half of those contacted said yes — 133 all together. While re-elected Mayor John Tory was among the nine Mayoral candidates who signed the prosperity pledge, seven incumbent councillors who have been re-elected did not. Michael Ford, Stephen Holyday, Mark Grimes, Michael Thompson, and Jim Karygiannis did not respond to the request, while John Filion and Denzil Minnan-Wong refused to sign.

 

 

Disappointingly, no Etobicoke councillors signed the Prosperity Pledge

 

Despite these outliers, the election results bode well for Torontonians of all walks of life who want to see our city’s prosperity shared more equitably. The Mayor and a majority of Councillors have pledged to make real investments in fighting poverty — and Prosperity Platform campaigners say they will hold them accountable to this promise.

“One in four children live in poverty,” said Faith in the City Co-Chair Reverend Cameron Watts. “Families in every ward are struggling. That’s inexcusable. We cannot call ourselves an inclusive city until we are disturbed enough to address this injustice.”

“It’s not good enough to only symbolically adopt a poverty reduction strategy,” said Adina Lebo, Co-Chair of Commitment TO Community. “Voters wanted to know which candidates would commit to action on the City’s promise to ensure all residents have access to good jobs, housing, transit, and services. We will be watching those elected very closely over the next four years.” 

Over the 2018–2022 term, the campaign expects to see these already approved poverty reduction commitments funded and implemented:

  • 7,200 new supportive housing units, at least 8,000 new deeply affordable rental units, and 1,000 new shelter spaces built;
  • TTC fares for another 157,000 lower-income adults reduced by 30%;
  • 11,500 new child care spaces, including 5,000 subsidized spaces, added; and
  • 40,000 new recreation program spaces opened.

To see which candidates signed the “prosperity pledge,” check out prosperityplatform.ca.

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