Toronto City Council's modest actions "have hardly put a dent" in poverty reduction, say two former members of the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Advisory Committee.
In an op-ed in The Toronto Star, community advocates Michael Polanyi (a community worker at the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto) and Leila Sarangi (Executive Director of Springtide Resources), examine the City's record over the past four years to fund and implement TO Prosperity, the poverty reduction strategy it unanimously adopted in 2015.
The pair conclude that while the City has taken "several significant actions" — e.g., making transit more accessible for children and social assistance recipients, implementing a social procurement program, and expanding key services including child care, recreation programs, school nutrition programs, library services, youth hubs, and shelters — its completion of TO Prosperity tasks and its funding of the program have been limited.
Furthermore, they say, the “equity impact assessment” implemented in the budget planning process and the Lived Experience Advisory Group meant to influence planning processes haven't changed how decisions are made.
Polanyi and Sarangi urge Toronto voters to ask Mayor and Council candidates in the October 22 municipal election whether they will support the full funding and implementation of TO Prosperity.
That call to action is the foundation of the Prosperity Platform, a campaign by the Commitment TO Community and Faith in the City coalitions. Candidates' responses will be posted on the campaign website so that residents can vote to ensure that every Torontonian has access to good jobs, affordable housing, affordable transit, nutritious food, and support services such as child care and recreation.