October 26, 2009
Toronto Regional Champion Campaign to help increase women’s presence in local politics

Toronto Mayor David Miller and all of the City’s 10 women councillors launched the second annual Toronto Regional Champion Campaign today to help boost women’s participation in local government. The Campaign teams up 16 young women with the City’s women councillors for eight months in order to enhance their commitment and participation in City government and to provide them with hands on experience.

“There is a serious deficit in our democratic society and that is the lack of women’s participation in government whether it’s municipal, provincial or federal,” said Mayor Miller. “It is essential that we help increase the opportunities for women and representation of women’s interests and I am proud to say that the City of Toronto is firmly on this path.”

This campaign is a result of a national initiative spearheaded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)to boost women’s presence in governance. The 16 young women participating in this project have varied backgrounds, credentials and ambitions, and have become interested in local politics through their educational studies and volunteer positions.

“I am proud that our innovative campaign is continuing to engage young women in actively participating in local government,” said Councillor Pam McConnell, Chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Committee on Women’s Participation. “We are working to ensure that more women take their rightful place in the seat of government, both in Toronto and across the country.”

FCM statistics show that Canada's international ranking on women in national parliaments is at 47th out of 187 countries. At the municipal order of government, Canada is at 23 per cent - 5,533 women out of 24,432 mayors and councillors in municipal government.

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. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

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Media contacts:
Glenn Gustafson, Executive Assistant to Councillor Pam McConnell, 416-338-5158, ggustaf@toronto.ca
Cassandra Fernandes, Diversity Management & Community Engagement, 416-392-3834, cfernan1@toronto.ca
Anne McLaughlin, Strategic Communications, 416-397-5707, amclaug@toronto.ca

Fact Sheet

October 26, 2009

Facts and figures - women’s participation in government

Canadian and local perspectives
• As per the Inter Parliamentary Union Canada's international ranking on women in national parliaments has moved from 51st place to 47th out of 187 countries. Despite enjoying economic prosperity and political stability, Canada has 22.1% of women elected to federal parliament holding 68 of 308 seats. The top four countries are Rwanda (56.3%), Sweden (47%), Cuba (43.2%), and South Africa (44.5%).

• At the municipal level, Canada is at 23 per cent - 5,533 women out of 24,432 mayors and councillors in municipal government.

• In order to reach the minimum of 30 per cent female representation required for public policy to realistically reflect women’s concerns, as defined by the United Nations, Canadian municipalities need at least 2,000 more women in elected office.

• In 2005, Toronto Mayor David Miller and Councillor Pam McConnell launched the first Mobilization Tour and Media Event, to build support using national media and women’s networks to raise awareness and to brainstorm ideas. More than 300 women leaders in Toronto were consulted.

• In 2008, Toronto Mayor David Miller and women Councillors launched the 1st ever Toronto Regional Champion Campaign where 26 young women were mentored by women councillors.

• Other countries and cities have shown great interest in this program. Equal Voice has developed a similar program based on the Toronto model.

• The FCM developed an Election Toolkit and the Regional Champion Campaign encouraging “champions” in local municipalities across Canada to recruit and help organize women to run for municipal office.

Snapshot of Toronto
• In Toronto, of the 44 councillors, 10 or 22 per cent are women (2006-2010 term).

• In order to reach a 30 per cent or higher representation of women on Toronto City Council, at least 13 women would need to be elected to Council.

• In order to reflect the 52 per cent of the overall population that consists of women, at least 24 women would need to be elected to Council in Toronto.

Toronto Regional Champion Campaign - how it works
This is an eight month, part-time mentoring, job shadowing and education program in which young women are matched with Toronto women councillors. The councillor mentors and shares their knowledge of, and experience in, municipal politics.

• Mentoring Components:
The program provides face-to-face interaction between the participant and her paired Toronto woman councillor and staff, in order to give the participants insight into the challenges, responsibilities and rewards of working in municipal elected office.

• The councillor will mentor the participant to undertake an area of research covering current municipal affairs.

• The participant will be provided an opportunity to make a deputation to a standing committee of council.

Job Shadowing
The participant accompanies her paired councillor to ward meetings, committee meetings and council meetings to learn about city governance. The participant will write a summary of what she has learned.

• Seminars
The councillors will present at least three seminars on city governance to all applicants who applied to the program in 2008 and 2009. This opens up doors and learning opportunities to, not only these 16 participants, but to at least 150 other young women.

• Education component:
Each participant will arrange for at least one presentation to be made by a woman councillor to groups of women at colleges, universities and/or community centres to encourage them to consider running for election locally in the future, describing their own experiences and offering advice.

• The young participant writes and publishes an article in electronic or print media regarding her participation in the program in order to encourage other young women to participate in municipal politics.

Media contacts:
Glenn Gustafson, Executive Assistant to Councillor Pam McConnell, Chair, Regional Champion Campaign, 416-338-5158, ggustaf@toronto.ca
Cassandra Fernandes, Program Lead, Consultant, Diversity Management and Community Engagement, 416-392-3834, cfernan1@toronto.ca
Anne McLaughlin, Strategic Communications, 416-397-5707, amclaug@toronto.ca