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April 3, 2007
Community Development and Recreation Committee discusses social inclusion - building a ‘Toronto for All’
The City of Toronto’s Community Development and Recreation Committee heard from a panel of six local experts yesterday on how to address the social challenges facing a large, diverse city like Toronto.

The panel, moderated by the Committee Chair, Councillor Joe Mihevc, featured: Ted Richmond, Program Coordinator, Inclusive Communities for Children, Youth and Families, Laidlaw Foundation; Uzma Shakir, Executive Director, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO); Susan Pigott, Executive Lead for Citizen Engagement, Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform; Debbie Douglas, Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI); Michael Mendelson, Senior Scholar, Caledon Institute of Social Policy; and Axelle Janczur, Executive Director, Access Alliance Multicultural Community Health Centre.

The panellists provided insight on a range of topics including the impact of new federal and provincial income security measures; benefits of investing in the city’s social and community infrastructure to meet resident’s needs; the challenges facing newcomers and refugees to Toronto; the importance of social inclusion to the health of the population; and strategies for engaging citizens in government decision-making.

“Today’s session has provided valuable insight and strategic advice to the City on how to further advance a social inclusion agenda and build a ‘Toronto for All’”, said Councillor Joe Mihevc, Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee. “The next step is action.”

Councillor Mihevc announced there will be a public hearing at a special Committee meeting on May 3, 7 p.m., at the North York Civic Centre. This session will provide an opportunity to hear directly from the public on issues related to income security - impact of new measures such as the Ontario Child Benefit, the National Child Benefit, increases to the minimum wage in Ontario, social assistance, and the federal employment insurance program.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and livability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Councillor Joe Mihevc, Chair Community Development and Recreation Committee, 416-392-0208
Cheryl MacDonald, Social Development, Finance & Administration Division, 416-397-4494



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