The report shows how focusing on five key areas in particular – employment, income support, housing/shelter, community services and support programs, and public transit - would go a long way in turning the corner on poverty in Toronto. Among key action priorities identified are a comprehensive job creation strategy that integrates federal, provincial and City of Toronto initiatives and includes a commitment by all orders of government to employment that provides a living wage for workers. The strategy similarly highlights the importance of providing adequate income supports - indexed to inflation - for people unable to work, including persons with disabilities. It calls for sustained, results-focused action, with investments in infrastructure – including housing and transportation – and concrete measures to promote equitable and fair employment practices and appropriate enforcement of employment standards. All orders of government are challenged to demonstrate their commitment to addressing poverty by ensuring that a poverty impact assessment is routinely applied before final decisions are made on budget allocations, new legislation and regulations.
As the report indicates, the City of Toronto has a real opportunity to lead in taking action on this pivotal issue that has left too many children, individual residents and families behind and held back the economic growth of the city. Taking action now would bring huge benefits to the entire city. The good news is we have the capacity to do so – we now only need to add commitment.