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September 17, 2008
Toronto’s 10 women councillors united in new initiative to increase women’s presence in local politics
Mayor David Miller and the 10 women councillors today launched the Toronto Regional Champion Campaign: Increasing Women’s Participation in Municipal Government. All 10 women councillors will provide mentorship to 26 young women over a period of one year on the role of a municipal councillor. The councillors will also have speaking engagements at colleges, universities and community centres to promote municipal office as a career option.

"Other countries in the world are well ahead of Canada when it comes to women in politics and we need to change that, especially at the municipal level," said Mayor David Miller. "Women make up only about 22 per cent of elected officers in municipal council chambers across the country but they make up more than 50 per cent of the population. I believe initiatives like this one are important to correcting that imbalance."

Mayor Miller also launched a handbook that is a practical guide to the program. It provides structure, content, curriculum, guidelines and resources. It is a useful tool for the protégées as well as the councillors.

Most of 26 young women protégées are university and college students in Toronto, and they have a broad range of personal backgrounds, perspectives and ambitions. They are Canadians from 26 diverse communities, and many can speak languages in addition to English. One young woman is studying while running her own successful business. Each has an interesting personal story to tell.

“This program is designed to ensure that we leave a legacy that enables future women to take their rightful place in council chambers right across the country,” said Councillor Pam McConnell, Chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Committee on Women's Participation.

“Toronto’s innovative program will offer a useful example for other Canadian cities to emulate or adapt,” added Councillor McConnell, who chairs the Toronto Regional Champion Campaign.

Profiles of the protégées and councillors are available.

Fact Sheet

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 numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Councillor Pam McConnell, Chair, Toronto Regional Champion Campaign, 416-392-7916,
Cassandra Fernandes, staff lead, Consultant, Diversity Management and Community Engagement, 416-392-3834,
Bob Langmaid, Strategic Communications, 416-392-1165,



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