Updates

Another Attack on Local Democracy: Province Moves to Repeal Ranked Ballots

The Ontario government has undertaken an attack on local democracy once again, and this time the target is changing the rules for municipal elections.

Hidden in Bill 218, Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act, 2020, a bill focused largely on COVID-19 recovery, the Ford government is attempting to revoke powers from municipalities across Ontario. If passed, municipalities will no longer have the option to use ranked ballot voting.

More than 1,400 Torontonians Tell City Council What They Want to See in Our City’s Pandemic Recovery

More than 1,400 Torontonians whose voices are not usually heard at City Hall took part in consultations to tell the City what they need as we recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. Their opinions and ideas are shared in our new report, Community Voices Pave the Road to Recovery.

The City of Toronto partnered with us to design and deliver a city-wide consultation process—led by residents, grassroots groups, and community organizations—to engage residents from Indigenous populations, equity-seeking groups, vulnerable populations, and neighbourhoods with disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 cases. 

Welcome to Caryl Arundel, SPT's New Interim Executive Director

The board of directors and staff are pleased to welcome Caryl Arundel as the Interim Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto. Beginning October 5, 2020, Caryl will provide direction and support to SPT and continue our important relationships with community partners while we look for a permanent leader for the organization. As excited as we are for the future of the organization, it is nonetheless a bittersweet moment as we say goodbye to our outgoing Executive Director, Devika Shah. She has been a strong and visible voice for SPT and social justice in the city. Please join us in recognizing Devika's contributions and wishing her all the best for the future.

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.

 

Q&A on COVID-19 Income & Housing Supports—Now in 15 Languages!

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.

SPT Statement on Systemic Racism

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.

Toronto Organizations Call for A Bold, Green, and Just Recovery from COVID-19

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.

View a PDF of the letter here »

Read the Toronto Star's coverage here »

We Support Collecting Race-Based and Socio-Economic Data to Fight COVID-19

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.

Message from Our ED: Responding to COVID-19

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.

Our office is closing to help #FlattenTheCurve!

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.

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