Recent News

If Diversity Is The Name of the Game, Toronto’s Not Playing Fair

TORONTO, November 3, 2017 – A new survey by the CivicAction Leadership Foundation and Environics Research finds that close to half of participants (45%) in a survey of emerging leaders in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area report they have experienced racism and/or discrimination in the past year. Close to half of respondents (45%) also felt they had to change something about their identity in order to fit in. This comes on the heels of new census data that says a majority of Toronto residents identify as visible minorities.

“In a region home to over 200 ethno-cultural backgrounds, these results come as a clear sign that we have more work to do to make this an inclusive region for all,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO, CivicAction.

The survey was done in advance of today’s conference ELNstudio 3D, designed for emerging leaders to discover, decode and drive an inclusive vision for the Greater Toronto Region. Hosted by the CivicAction Leadership Foundation, ELNstudio 3D is taking aim at the role inclusion plays in city-building through three key issues: affordable housing, economic opportunity, and the collection and sharing of information.

Other major findings from the survey that will inform the day include:

  • 70% of respondents agree they will never be able to buy a house within their city.
  • 54% of respondents agree they could sustain their livelihood for three months without full-time employment.
  • Only 37% of respondents agree that local media report accurately on their community.

“The survey highlighted general feelings of precarity and discrimination among young people, but it also showed that over 80% of respondents felt accountable for supporting communities other than their own, which is encouraging,” said Elisha Muskat, 2016-2017 ELN Co-Chair, and Executive Director, Peacebuilders International (Canada).

ELNstudio 3D attendees will hear from a diverse group of experts and bright minds, including:

  • Tim Hockey, President and CEO, TD Ameritrade; Board Chair, CivicAction Leadership Foundation
  • Zabeen Hirji, Chair of CivicAction’s Escalator: Jobs for Youth Facing Barriers.
  • Michael Bach, Founder and CEO, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Olivia Nuamah, Executive Director, Pride Toronto
  • Denise Balkissoon, Editor & Columnist, Globe and Mail
  • Daniele Zanotti, CEO United Way Toronto & York Region

“Events like ELNstudio 3D and the dialogue they create are few and far between despite the need for these conversations to take place. Today is about empowering emerging leaders to take the reins in shaping our future cities, and the communities they will inherit,” said Zabeen Hirji, Chair of CivicAction’s Escalator: Jobs for Youth Facing Barriers.


Our thanks to Cision for sponsoring this announcement.

Special thanks to ELNstudio 3D Event Host The Ismaili Centre of Toronto and Event Partners: Kilmer Group, Building & Constructions Trades Council of Ontario. 

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jeff Junke
Communications Manager
(647) 471-9957

About CivicAction: For over a decade, CivicAction has brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle some of the Greater Toronto Region’s toughest challenges. To find out more visit or follow @CivicActionGTHA. Building on a decade of high-impact and award-winning leadership programming, CivicAction launched the CivicAction Leadership Foundation to further elevate and catalyze our region’s leadership potential. With a focus on advancing education, the Foundation harnesses the power of diverse leaders and empowers and activates all voices to influence and shape our region. For more information visit

About The Emerging Leaders Network (ELN): Created in 2006, the ELN is a diverse network of more than 1500 emerging civic leaders and represents a wide range of ethno-cultural backgrounds, communities, and sectors throughout the GTHA. In addition to monthly events focused on networking and skill-building, the ELN hosts an annual conference for rising leaders to explore and develop action-oriented solutions to the some of the region’s most pressing civic issues. For more information visit

About Environics Research: Environics Research is a data consultancy, founded by Michael Adams in 1970. Our unique understanding of motivations, attitudes and behaviours allows us to work with clients and help them form solutions. Environics’ Corporate and Public Affairs practice provides research-based insights and advice to organizations on how to monitor and manage their environment. The practice uses public opinion, marketing research and engagement activities to support reputation management, government and/or stakeholder relations, public consultation, communications, policy development, issues management and corporate citizenship strategies.


The survey referenced in this release was completed by CivicAction and Environics Research to gain insight on our region’s levels of diversity and inclusion as well as ELNstudio 3D’s main focus topics: affordable housing, economic opportunity, and the collection and sharing of information. Survey results are based on an online sample of N=189 participants from CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network, which was fielded from September 14 to October 4, 2017. This sample cannot be considered to be representative of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. This is an online sample of convenience and therefore no margin of error can be assigned. See a summary of the data here

Share this page: