2017-2018 Program Highlights

Putting Toronto’s deepening inequality on the agenda

Our multiple reports on inequality and child poverty continued to detail the deepening divide in our city. Our research has helped articulate the disparities in housing, education, transit, childcare, and recreation for too many Toronto families.

Social Planning Toronto worked with an incredible network of community partners and agencies including Children’s Aid Society, Family Service Toronto/Ontario Campaign 2000, Colour of Poverty — Colour of Change, OCASI, and Well Living House to produce a report which found Toronto’s child poverty rate is double for children from racialized families.

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Supporting game-changing affordable housing policies

With community partners, we have helped push for affordable housing, fending off the developer-backed lobby to undo the Province’s commitments. With our agency allies, we have been relentless at pushing for wealthy developers to pay for affordable housing, through Inclusionary Zoning legislation.

Social Planning Toronto also hosted over eight housing forums with sector nonprofits and service providers. Our work has helped to ensure our City’s housing policies are informed by the best possible input and evidence from the community sector

Supporting Toronto’s communities through partnership

Social Planning Toronto staff have provided ongoing support to the Toronto South Local Immigration Partnership and Toronto West Local Immigration Partnership through research and community engagement.

Our work in immigration and settlement has helped to build a coalition of frontline workers, managers, government workers, and service providers to address the issues of mental health and accreditation and licensing issues for newcomers in Toronto. Our support has helped to identify emerging trends for newcomers including labour market access, social integration, housing, language proficiency, and access to services.

We also have helped to support a new training program that all Toronto Local Immigration Partnerships are delivering to frontline staff on a wide range of topics including cultural sensitivity towards various migrant groups, mental health awareness, and crisis intervention.

Social Planning Toronto has supported research, planning, and communication through our work with Action for Neighbourhood Change. This partnership has helped to help advance pop-up infrastructure, local community-based communication projects, and innovative community animation projects. We have also helped to study and build support for a new community hub in central Etobicoke.

Tackling inequality in our schools and affecting Toronto’s youth

Ontario’s Auditor General echoed Social Planning Toronto’s earlier call to start spending the province’s $61 million for low-income students as intended. We also showed how students from racialized communities face an uphill battle when selecting courses, research which has resulted in the Toronto District School Board changing its policies to better serve students.

Social Planning Toronto also helped to organize a Newcomer Youth Recreation Forum, which attracted over 120 service providers, youth, decision makers, and parents. The forum was successful in initiating action between the Parks and Recreation department and the City’s Newcomer Office.

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Working with communities for a stronger nonprofit sector

Toronto City Council approved a policy forging a new relationship with its community nonprofit sector. This was thanks to the incredible work of the Toronto Nonprofit Network and many Social Planning Toronto member organizations. Our ongoing work to support the Toronto Nonprofit Network continues to shape the City-Sector relationships as we build a stronger role for nonprofits in our city.

Our work this year has also helped to kick-start the Neighbourhood Grant Program, which allows resident-led groups to make changes they want to see in their communities. This program will support hundreds of residents to get involved in their local communities, plan events, and take action with their neighbours.

Making an impact at City Hall

With our volunteers and community allies, we were able to secure an additional $41 million in service improvements that were unfunded at the beginning of the 2018 budget process. Meanwhile, our ground-breaking research uncovered an additional $36 million in promised spending that was completely left out of the budget.

Social Planning Toronto has also supported Commitment TO Community and the Toronto Can Do Better Campaign. With community supporters, we organized the ‘Tired of Waiting’ rally to communicate to City Council the urgency of investments in transit, housing, and good jobs. Our work with Faith in the City has also helped to mobilize faith leaders from across the city to get involved in the Toronto City Budget process.

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Building a strong and growing movement for a better Toronto

Our progress this year was coupled with our growth as an organization. Celebrating 60 years with an energized and dynamic event, we also welcomed new staff members as we grew our team to take on the tough challenges our city faces.

Social Planning Toronto was also honoured to be recognized as runner-up in NOW magazine’s Readers’ Choice "Best Social Justice Group" and to be second to Black Lives - Toronto. Thank you to all our supporters who believe in the work we do.

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