Toronto Organizations Call for a Bold, Just and Green Recovery

As the City of Toronto begins work on recovery from COVID-19, over 20 local organizations have written a letter to city council, proposing ten principles for a bold, green, just recovery from COVID-19.

These organizations collectively represent tens of thousands of people across the city and include many Atkinson partners, including  Blue Green Canada, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre, Parkdale People’s Economy, Toronto Community Benefits Network, and the Toronto Environmental Alliance. Many of these organizations are also Power Lab partners.

They write, “We cannot return to what was normal in Toronto.” The  letter points out that city was already facing many crises related to affordability – housing, child care, transit, income inequality. Many services were underfunded and had inadequate access. They continue: “The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened these inequities, exposed them as public health risks, and shown that their burden is felt most acutely by people experiencing poverty, women, and Black, Indigenous, racialized, newcomer and LGBTQ2S+ communities, people with disabilities, and seniors – especially those who hold intersecting positions. Those who were already most vulnerable in Toronto are the very people most impacted by emergencies like COVID-19…. Toronto’s financial sustainability was precarious prior to COVID-19, but now, more than ever, the status and work of our city must be re-imagined so that we can proudly and urgently build a Toronto that works for everyone.”

The ten principles they propose are:

  1. For best results, ensure the recovery and rebuilding process is transparent and community-led
  2. Make evidence-based decisions, informed by disaggregated race-based and sociodemographic data collection
  3. Advocate immediately and powerfully to secure a New Deal for Toronto from our Federal and Provincial Governments
  4. Fast-track and improve Toronto’s existing strategies, plans, and commitments in Toronto’s recovery and rebuilding plans, in order to build a more equitable, healthy and climate-resilient city
  5. Invest in, protect, and centre workers in recovery and rebuilding plans
  6. Prioritize low-carbon infrastructure, social procurement, and equitable local job creation in recovery and rebuilding
  7. Invest in public and community ownership of land and housing to ensure everyone is permanently housed, local food production is increased, and jobs are created
  8. Support and sustain the community infrastructure that has developed in response to COVID-19 for ongoing response and recovery work
  9. Encourage and prioritize community support and discontinue programs that increase surveillance and harm social cohesion and solidarity
  10. Make permanent and expand the public supports and services that have been put in place to respond to this pandemic, rather than cutting services

Read the full letter here.