Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction, made the following comments today after the release of the 2014 Ontario budget:
TORONTO – May 1, 2014 – “As an organization that tackles some of our region’s toughest social, economic, and environmental challenges, CivicAction is encouraged by a number of commitments introduced in the 2014 Provincial Budget.
Accelerating Regional Transportation:
CivicAction and its partners have engaged millions of residents and civic leaders in calling for new, dedicated revenue sources to fully fund and implement a seamless transportation network across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Half of all GTHA politicians have added their voices to this call by signing CivicAction’s Pledge to Get a Move On at your32.com.
The Budget signals an historic next step toward this vision by proposing a dedicated fund for long-term transportation priorities. This responds to people’s pent-up desire for our political leaders to tackle the crushing gridlock that is affecting our daily quality of life.
There are some question marks, however, around whether the sources outlined will collectively cover the costs. In particular, it is unclear how much can be raised through one-time asset sales and high-occupancy toll lanes, and when those dollars will start to flow.
We recognize there are many views on how to raise the money we need, and with a minority government there will be discussions about the budget and its outcome. We will be following the debate between party leaders on transportation investment closely and how they respond to public demand for action.
Should there be an election, we will look to all party leaders to be clear in their platforms on how they will invest in the next wave of transportation improvements for the region.
We are at a critical moment: we can choose to lead our region through the 21st century or continue to pass the buck to the next generation. The need is there. The support is there. The time is now for transportation investment.
Being able to move across the region is one thing. Having a job to go to is another key to our region’s success.
Our long-term prosperity depends on youth thriving in our region, and right now, too many young people are struggling to get that first critical job.
Our youth are experiencing double-digit unemployment numbers that outweigh the overall unemployment rate by more than two to one. The situation is even worse for newcomers, visible minorities and Aboriginal youth.
We are pleased to see the government’s commitment to move forward with a better integrated employment and training system. Essential to the success of this is a clear understanding of where the skills gaps are, and ensuring current and future generations of employees have what they need to fill them. One of the ways government can move the needle is by further opening up data that will help reveal current and future trends in the labour market.
Government alone can’t deliver the jobs for youth. CivicAction has partnered with the government and the region’s employers to identify key actions the private sector can take to support more employment opportunities for youth – in particular, youth facing multiple barriers including poverty.
By working together, with a multi-sector commitment to tackle the unemployment of these youth, we can all help to achieve a more promising future for our youth, our employers, and our society.
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About CivicAction’s Your32 campaign – CivicAction and its 50+ team of civic Champions and Regional Co-Captains have built support for a better regional transportation system and new sustainable ways to pay for it. For more information, visit www.your32.com.
For the past 10 years, the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance (CivicAction) has brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle some of our region’s toughest social, economic, and environmental challenges. For more information, visit: www.civicaction.ca, @CivicActionGTA
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