50+ non-profits call for an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through submission to TORR
More than 50 non-profit organizations from across our city have come together to build a joint submission to the Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild (TORR), calling for an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The short-term (6 months) and long-term (12-18 months) solutions and inter-governmental advocacy priorities that we identified — covering Economic Prosperity, Resident Safety & Wellbeing, and Non-Profit Sector Resilience — should inform TORR's final recommendations to City Council.
We look forward to continuing to work collectively on this critically important initiative!
Read the full submission below, and contact the Mayor and your Councillor to voice your support.
Senior poverty in Toronto: Report finds troubling levels of senior poverty and deep inequities decades after Canada’s retirement income security programs implemented
The COVID-19 pandemic has focused public attention on the health, well-being, and increased vulnerability of seniors, but too many of Toronto’s seniors were already struggling before the pandemic due to income and housing challenges, says a report released today. The report’s authors call on all three levels of government to take urgent action against senior poverty.
Senior Poverty & Inequity: The Toronto Experience, co-authored by Social Planning Toronto and Well Living House, draws on data from the 2016 Census and the Indigenous-led Our Health Counts Toronto research study to paint a disturbing picture of senior poverty in our city, particularly among Indigenous, racialized, and immigrant seniors.
Social Planning Toronto is a non-profit, charitable community organization that works to advance social justice in Toronto to create an equitable and inclusive society for all residents. Our work involves community research and social reporting, sector capacity-building and convening, advocacy and supporting the community development efforts of frontline agencies and place-based grassroots groups.
Social Planning Toronto designed the COVIDhelpTO website to help front-line workers answer their clients’ most basic questions around financial and housing supports announced over the past few months — such as eligibility requirements for the CERB, what help is available for people having trouble paying their rent, support for those who’ve recently exhausted EI benefits, and more.
The English content has now been translated into 14 languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Farsi, French, Gujarati, Korean, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
Racism exists all over the world – Canada, Ontario, and Toronto are no exceptions. Canada’s economic foundations and societal fabric were built on a platform of brutal colonization of Indigenous peoples, Black enslavement, successive waves of exploitation of workers from newcomer communities, and systemic racism that is embedded in every institution today.
Social Planning Toronto acknowledges that police brutality is a devastating symptom of the long-standing and long-ignored reality of anti-Black racism, which has re-ignited deep trauma and suffering for Black people in our city. We completely support the statement issued by Black health leaders calling for the declaration of anti-Black racism as a public health crisis.
As the Mayor, Councillors and Toronto’s new Office of Recovery and Rebuild begin their work on Toronto’s recovery, local organizations representing tens of thousands of people from across the city, including Social Planning Toronto, submitted a letter to the Mayor and City Council that outlines 10 principles for a bold, green, and just recovery.
In a recent letter, Toronto City Councillor and Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy made clear the pivotal role of race-based, socioeconomic, and other social and demographic data in understanding COVID-19, its impact on marginalized groups, and the development of effective policy, programs, and practices that protect our communities. His letter confirmed the Board’s commitment to pursuing the collection and analysis of race-based and other social data and called on the provincial government to adopt similar measures across Ontario.
A Message From Our Executive Director
It has now been 33 days since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and I want to reach out to the SPT community to share some thoughts.
First, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. We are living in a scary and uncertain time, and it seems we have no choice but to take things day by day, moment by moment. It’s impossible not to feel anxiety about our loved ones, our communities, our country, and our world.
Second, this is a difficult time for our city, and the communities that we serve. Our non-profit sector is full of unsung heroes, with so many people risking their lives to continue serving vulnerable communities. There has been unbelievable collaboration and coordination between hundreds of agencies and funders who have stepped up with innovative rapid responses to all the new challenges that have been caused by this pandemic.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community, protect our most vulnerable citizens, and avoid overwhelming our health care system, we're closing our office and will be working from our homes for a few weeks, as of Monday, March 16.
We encourage other community sector organizations to do the same where possible, recognizing that this may be impossible for many organizations, especially those who directly serve our city's most vulnerable populations.
UPDATE (April 20, 2020):
With regret, due to the current COVID-19 crisis, we've decided to cancel this year's Frances Lankin Award presentation.
Nominations already submitted for the 2020 Award will be saved for 2021 (you will not have to resubmit a nomination).
We look forward to coming together in 2021 to celebrate two of our sector's most extraordinary leaders.