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May 11, 2004
United Way and City of Toronto Launch Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force
  
United Way of Greater Toronto and the City of Toronto, with the support of the
Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario, have launched a year-long
task force to build long-term, multi-pronged solutions for stronger
neighbourhoods in Toronto. The Task Force responds to the work of the Toronto
City Summit Alliance that identified the critical importance of strong and
healthy neighbourhoods in its report Enough Talk. It also builds on United
Way's recent report, Poverty by Postal Code that documents dramatic increases
in poverty in the city's inner suburbs.

The Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force will build an action plan for strong
neighbourhoods in Toronto, identify community investment models that will
leverage and coordinate resources from all three levels of government, and
advocate for change. It will develop tools to determine neighbourhood assets
and challenges to help neighbourhoods build on strengths and enhance quality of
life in the city.

The Task Force is a joint initiative of the City of Toronto and United Way of
Greater Toronto. The Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario are
providing funding and senior staff who will play key roles on the Task Force.
The Toronto City Summit Alliance will also be actively involved.

The Task Force is co-chaired by Eric Gam, Commissioner of Community and
Neighbourhood Services, City of Toronto; Robert Harding, Chairman, Brascan
Corporation; and Frances Lankin, President and CEO, United Way of Greater
Toronto. It consists of 22 diverse leaders from the government, community,
labour and corporate sectors.

The Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force will research the components of tripartite
agreements involving all levels of government to support community service
infrastructure in neighbourhoods across the city.

The announcement was made earlier today at Toronto City Hall at a news
conference attended by Mayor David Miller; The Honourable Minister Joe Volpe,
Minister of Human Resources Skills Development Canada; The Honourable Minister
Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Community and Social Services, Province of
Ontario; David Pecaut, Chair of the Toronto City Summit Alliance; Frances
Lankin; and the co-chairs, community representatives and Task Force
members.

"The Mayor's Community Safety Plan is focusing on the more immediate solutions
to address community safety issues while simultaneously developing longer-term
preventative measures that address the needs of at-risk youth," said Mayor
Miller. "The Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force will focus on broader
neighbourhood issues requiring sustainable multi-pronged solutions."

"I'm very pleased that the Government of Canada is supporting the Strong
Neighbourhoods initiative through a Local Labour Market Partnerships project,"
said Minister Volpe. "This initiative is about all of us working together.
That's the way we'll build better community services, that's the way we'll
combat poverty, and that's the way we'll make our neighbourhoods even better
places to live."

The Task Force will conduct research and build upon existing data from Toronto,
across Canada and internationally. United Way's new report, Poverty by Postal
Code: The Geography of Neighbourhood Poverty, released April 5 charting
neighbourhood economic and demographic changes from 1981 to 2001, will form a
piece of this research.

"Quality of life for all Ontarians can only be improved by strengthening the
communities and neighbourhoods in which we all work and live," said Minister
Pupatello. "This Task Force is going to be an excellent step in the work
towards developing new ways that we can grow and support those communities and
neighbourhoods."

"The Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force illustrates the new spirit in Toronto of
all three levels of government at the table with civil society leaders to map
the gaps in community services and create an action plan for filling them,"
said Pecaut.

"The Task Force links with a key priority area for United Way -
neighbourhoods," said Lankin. "We know there have been enormous changes in
Toronto neighbourhoods. Our challenge is to ensure that Toronto's
neighbourhoods, particularly in high needs areas, can build upon their
strengths to improve the quality of life for residents."

The Task Force will issue an interim report during the year-long process and
release an action plan in spring, 2005.

Visit http://www.strongneighbourhoods.ca for more information.

Media contacts:
Kim Barnhardt or Brian Hatchell, United Way of Greater Toronto,
416-777-2001
Andrea Addario, Mayor's Office, 416-338-7119
Fil Luters, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada,
416-952-1445
Sara Best, Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services,
416-325-5213
Sara Lyons, Toronto City Summit Alliance, 416-955-4233



 

 

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