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.
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.
Last week, Mayor John Tory proposed increasing property taxes for affordable housing and transit investments. Today, Social Planning Toronto sent a thank you letter to Mayor John Tory (full text below).
Call your Councillor and let them know you want them to do the right thing by voting in favour of this investment in our collective well-being at Council's meeting next week!
Toronto’s governance challenges have existed for many years and the reduction in our Council size has only deepened these challenges. The city is due for a review of its governance model given innovations in municipal engagement practices, new research on electoral reform, and changes in provincial and federal approaches to areas such as housing and transit. As such, the Special Committee’s work is both urgent and overdue.
The City should develop a full and proper response to Bill 5. This requires a review of formal governance and of practices of public engagement. In our view, the Special Committee work plan should be extended for two years, giving it time to put forward robust and impactful recommendations to City Council. See the full letter to the Special Committee on Governance below:
Women, girls, and trans and non-binary people represent more than half of Toronto’s population. Yet they face higher rates of violence and poverty, and are underrepresented in leadership positions. A Gender Equality Office is an important step towards addressing inequality, and cities including New York, Los Angeles, Vienna, Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa are already taking this step.
Thanks to years of work from advocates across Toronto, City staff have proposed the creation of Toronto's own Gender Equality Office, as well as an intersectional gender equity strategy!
The topic is on the agenda for the Executive Committee meeting taking place tomorrow, September 18. We've sent the following letter to Mayor Tory and Members of the Executive Committee to let them know they have our support in joining these cities on this important journey.