July 2022 issue: What's going on at Social Planning Toronto?
It’s hard not to feel right now like we are caught in some kind of “in between.”
We are entering a new phase of the pandemic even though most of us are “done” with it. So many of us are struggling or burnt out, but haven’t figured out what to do about it. In June we saw record-low voter turnout for the provincial election and record-high food bank usage. We are fed up with ongoing systemic racism from the Toronto Police (which activists have been sounding the alarm on for decades) and with community and gender-based violence. We are exhausted by the slow pace of reconciliation and action on homelessness, housing affordability, poverty, equity, and climate change. Billionaires fly to the moon while workers and low-income folks struggle to make ends meet.
Leading up to the provincial election, many spoke of the inevitability of a Conservative win, resulting in low civic engagement and voter turnout. The advocacy chill created by Bill 307 didn't help either.
As of July 14, prominent urbanist Gil Penalosa, best known for founding nonprofit 8 80 Cities, is now the highest profile challenger to Mayor John Tory.
The City of Toronto is prepared to launch its first-ever Gender Equity Strategy. The strategy will not be tabled at this month’s City Council meeting, but the City’s Gender Equity Unit will move forward with its launch later this month.
As you read in our last newsletter, we're partnering with the Community Development Unit at the City of Toronto to help renew the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy. Throughout May we received over 100 applications from powerful resident leaders across Toronto who were eager to join a new Advisory Group.
We're looking for a full-time Community Planner (for a one-year, contract position) with expertise in community organizing, civic engagement, and community capacity building.
We've usually held our Annual General Meeting by this time of year, but we've decided to postpone until fall in the hope that we can meet in person again for the first time in a few years. Please save September 20 on your calendars for our AGM!
In case you missed it:
- Toronto's Ombudsman has released an interim report on the investigation into the City's process for clearing homeless encampments in 2021. The report focusses on protocol rather than the militarized nature of the by-law enforcement, its violation of human rights, and its high cost (nearly $2 million).
As part of an 18-month review of its public engagement methods, the City of Toronto is inviting the public to provide feedback on your experiences.