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Let’s build a city that’s prosperous for all

Written by Jan De Silva, CivicAction Board Member 
Published in The Toronto Star

The needs of the middle class dominated much of the public discussion during the recent federal election campaign, particularly in the early days. But, lost amid that debate and the later discussion of niqabs and marijuana, was an issue deserving of more attention — the needs of our country’s least affluent.

It’s good to see that this issue is on city council’s radar. Mayor John Tory and Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell have given serious attention to this question through the City of Toronto’s recently published Poverty Reduction Strategy, which will be put before city council next Tuesday. Toronto Region Board of Trade and our members were proud to contribute to the development of this report.

The business community knows that for our region to be economically successful, it must be economically and socially inclusive. We have long believed in — and articulated a vision for — a city and region that is prosperous for everyone.

We know that the prosperity we enjoy today is not a guarantee for tomorrow.

Eighteen per cent of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are currently unemployed in our region. Even more concerning, as CivicAction finds, unemployment among recent immigrant youth is nearing 30 per cent. Overall, roughly 83,000 young people in the region are not in education, employment, or training.

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