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CivicAction Bootcamp: Q&A with the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Mary Lou O’Reilly

Written by Lauren Pelley
Published in the Toronto Star 

Every four years, CivicAction holds a summit to discuss the biggest issues facing the Toronto region. This year, it’s called the Better City Bootcamp, and the goal is improving the prosperity of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

A wide range of voices and experiences will be on hand at the April 28 event, thanks to the collective contributions of more than 600 civic leaders. They’ll be discussing some of the main challenges facing the region based on five themes: housing affordability and the growing need to match seniors’ health care to housing options; mental health and the workplace; childhood health and the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life; public spaces, physical activity and health; and increased density/weather intensity and the infrastructure needs of tomorrow.

The Star spoke with panellists representing these five themes to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing the GTHA in the years ahead.

Infrastructure needs of tomorrow

Mary Lou O’Reilly, senior vice-president, Issues Management and Communications, Insurance Bureau of Canada

What do you see being the biggest challenge facing the GTHA over the next decade?

From the perspective of Canada’s home, car and business insurers, we have a real focus on the severe weather that’s linked in climate change. We can see devastating losses in our urban centres and we think it warrants civic action.

What are the infrastructure issues that stem from a growing population?

Sewer and waste-water systems. More people burdening those systems that are antiquated and out-of-date and need many billions of dollars to restore to their appropriate service levels. The more people living in a denser community, the more difficult a problem it becomes. No one wants raw sewage in their basements and, regrettably, it’s commonplace.

Read the full article here.