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.
2019 Call for Nominations to the Social Planning Toronto Board of Directors to Fill One Vacancy
Social Planning Toronto (SPT) is a non-profit, charitable community organization that works to improve equity, social justice, and quality of life in Toronto through community capacity building, community education and advocacy, policy research and analysis, and social reporting.
SPT is governed by a 15-person volunteer Board of Directors who are committed to the purposes and mission of SPT and to the important role of independent community social planning in helping to shape the quality of life for all of Toronto’s residents. There is currently one vacancy on the Board of Directors and SPT is seeking nominations to fill that vacancy. The term runs until May 2020 with re-election at the 2020 AGM.
Today a coalition of more than 70 Toronto community leaders, groups, and organizations urged Mayor John Tory and City Council to demonstrate what it means to build a budget that is for all people, especially the most vulnerable among us.
Read the full text of their open letter below.
Did you know that major changes are happening to education in Ontario — including funding cuts, increased class sizes, and mandatory e-learning? Last week, Social Planning Toronto, the Coalition for Alternatives to Streaming in Education (CASE), and Working Women Community Centre hosted a panel to discuss how these changes might impact academic streaming, equity, and the state of public education in Ontario.
Toronto's neighbourhoods and communities are shaped by people who inspire and connect us. Every year, Social Planning Toronto honours extraordinary individuals with our Frances Lankin Community Service Award.
We are thrilled to announce this year's recipients!