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June 9, 1998
Mayor Lastman and Councillor Mihevc announce consultations on access and equity issues
Today, Mayor Mel Lastman and Councillor Joe Mihevc (York-Eglinton), chair of
the Task Force on Community Access and Equity, launched the consultation
process to consider the roles and responsibilities of the City of Toronto for
the implementation of access and equity policies and programs.

"In Toronto, diversity is our strength. We are the most diverse city in the
world," says Lastman. "If we provide opportunities for everyone to participate
in our great city, our economic health improves, our communities interact and
foster mutual understanding and everyone is a winner."

The City of Toronto and its agencies play a multiple role: they are employers
of a diverse workforce, they are providers of services to clients from a wide
variety of backgrounds, they are major purchasers of goods and services, and as
a government, the City plays an important leadership role to the community as a

"If diversity is to be inclusive and about everyone, it is unlikely to be
attained unless concerned citizens and the communities themselves are able to
take action," says Mihevc. "Community issues have been supported by the City to
enable communities to work together to address diversity issues, to monitor
institutional policies and ensure their implementation."

"The ability of community residents - particularly the participation of
marginalized groups - to effectively address discrimination and disadvantage is
a program priority for the City of Toronto," says Lastman.

The Task Force consultations will be held on a sectoral basis with specific
sessions focussing on women, Aboriginal people, people with disabilities,
lesbians/gays/bisexual and transgendered communities, racial minorities,
immigrants and refugees. Consultations will focus on solutions, which preserve
and enhance community access to programs, services and decision-making with the
City Council, and within the broader Toronto community.

"Our stakeholders believe that access and equity must be a core feature of the
City of Toronto, that City Council must play a clear, visible and high profile
role in supporting access and equity," says Sylvia Maracle, co-chair of the
Task Force. "The communities have an opportunity to make a difference, to voice
their concerns, suggest solutions and make Toronto a model community of the
21st century."

For more information please contact Access Toronto at (416) 338-0338, or the
TTY line at (416) 338-0089.

Media Contact
Charles Smith
Access & Equity Centre
(416) 392-5581



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