The Bottom Line
The City of Toronto's 2022 municipal election is an opportunity to #HitGo on mission-critical projects central to moving our economy ahead.
As a region, we face pressing issues that threaten our quality of life such as a climate crisis, housing affordability and labour shortages.
In the face of ongoing recovery, rising inflation and tight budgets, we need to consider the actions we can take at the municipal level to bolster economic growth and keep our cities moving forward through uncertain times.
We can’t afford to lose the sense of urgency and ‘can-do’ attitude that carried us through the pandemic. We have the solutions at hand - now it’s time to implement them.
Our municipal platform asks incoming councillors to “hit go” on five key areas today, that will unleash growth and competitiveness tomorrow.
Here are five things Toronto can #HitGo on today:
Today's economy is regional. A manufacturer’s supply chain rarely operates within a single municipality. Online shoppers in one end of a region can get same-day delivery from a business in another. People live in one city and work or study in another.
Unlike in other major regions, Toronto area municipalities work in silos instead of working together on borderless issues that are best coordinated strategically at a regional level. These issues include economic development, transit and land use planning, climate goals and attracting investment.
This fragmentation comes at a high cost to our economy and quality of life.
Read more about this issue with thought leadership from Board President & CEO Jan De Silva and Don Iveson, Canadian Urban Leader at the University of Toronto's Schools of Cities and Former Mayor of Edmonton.
Learn about the actions municipalities need to take maintain our growth and competitiveness. READ: "Think Like a Region: Strengthening the Toronto Region's Talent Advantage".
It's time to #HitGo On:
Championing the formalization of the GTHA Mayors and Chairs group which met regularly during the pandemic to discuss shared challenges facing municipalities and common asks for help from the provincial and federal government.
Engaging with municipalities in the region to develop a common approach for a regional economic strategy.
"Driving the large metropolitan areas of Canada to perform better is good for our whole country. Better commutes, efficient growth, more confident investors, functioning housing markets, clean air and water and climate resilience are borderless issues best coordinated strategically at the regional level. Mayors and councils need stronger tools (and mandates) to get over our urban/suburban and rural/urban divides, look past turf and work together for all our mutual benefit."
Don Iveson – Canadian Urban Leader at the University of Toronto’s Schools of Cities; Former Mayor of Edmonton
As the realities of climate change become increasingly dire, we need to make it easier for people to get out of gas-powered cars and onto transit or into electric vehicles.
While many projects are underway, the Toronto region’s under-built and fragmented transit system continues to impact the quality of service for riders. At the same time, decarbonizing all forms of transportation is critical to achieving Toronto’s Net-Zero goals by 2040.
Read more about this issue with thought leadership from Board President & CEO Jan De Silva and Leslie Woo, CEO of CivicAction.
It's time to #HitGo on:
Integrating fare systems between GO Transit, the TTC and neighbouring transit agencies that encourages seamless travel and doesn’t penalise riders.
Accelerating construction of public EV chargers across the region and giving residents the power to request new stations in their neighbourhoods.
Accelerating TTC’s fleet decarbonization plans for buses and service vehicles.
“Now more than ever, cities need leaders who will build bridge across society’s widening divides. In this municipal election the needs of all equity deserving communities need to be elevated. In particular, the push for mobility has never been more relevant. The acceleration of all modes of transportation is the acceleration of our economy’s ability to be inclusive.
As our economy recovers from the events of the past few years, we can afford to leave no one behind, literally. At CivicAction, we are calling for an inclusive economic recovery where transportation investments benefit equity deserving communities in order to ensure a more prosperous city region for everyone.”
Leslie Woo, CEO, CivicAction
“Helping high-utilization rideshare drivers make a fair transition to EVs can support the City of Toronto meet its economic, climate, and electrification goals. We are partnering across the ecosystem - government, industry, ridesharing companies and NGOs - to make progress towards a fully electric platform.”
– Laura Miller, Head of Public Policy & Communications (Canada), Uber
"Buses and streetcars are the workhorses of the transit network across the GTHA. Regional collaboration and efforts focused on improving dwell times through better use of signal prioritization, bus bulbs, and dedicated lanes, increases the speed and reliability of transit and reduces the cost of delivering service."
Matthew McDonagh – Senior Director of Business Development, Cubic Transportation Systems
Our region faces a housing crisis. We don’t have enough homes to meet our city’s current and projected growth.
Talent shortages are already at a critical level and negatively impacting businesses. We need housing for workers urgently.
At the same time, 70% of Toronto neighbourhoods have antiquated zoning laws that prohibit modest density like apartments or multiplexes in favour of single, detached homes. If you added just one home to every hectare of land in these neighbourhoods, 45,000 new homes would be created for workers.
- Read more about this issue with thought leadership from Board President & CEO Jan De Silva and Kevin Crigger, President of TRREB.
- Listen to TRBOT Senior Director of Policy Craig Ruttan appear on the TRREB Podcast.
It's time to #HitGo on:
Doubling the rate of housing units developed in Toronto by 2030, targeting 40,000 completions annually.
Changing zoning regulations to allow "Missing Middle" homes (up to 4 units) in all residential neighbourhoods and mid-rise housing (up to 12 storeys) along avenues and major streets.
Building to the density a site could support on city-owned sites, rather than eliminating potential homes to placate neighbours.
"Housing is the key to the labour shortage Toronto is facing. By removing outdated zoning laws, we can increase housing affordability and bring more workers to business. "
– Kevin Crigger, President, Toronto Regional Real Estate Board
The Toronto Region is a global leader in advanced technology and innovation, but our homegrown businesses face significant barriers to growth because their technology is not commercialized in Canada.
There is an immediate risk that our home-grown investments will move to other, more favourable jurisdictions unless we ensure Canadian businesses stop falling behind competitors in their ability to scale up and grow.
Read more about this issue with thought leadership from TRBOT President & CEO Jan De Silva and Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS Discovery District and Chair of TRBOT's Board of Directors.
It's time to #HitGo on:
Turbo-charge support for local innovation through the City of Toronto’s procurement process.
Working together with other municipalities, innovation hubs and accelerators, and all levels of government to develop incentive packages that attract new investment in industries like manufacturing, technology and life sciences.
"It is crucial for our region to accelerate the path towards adopting new technologies considering the unprecedented transitions happening in the mobility and energy sectors – while also ensuring the privacy and safety of its residents. Adopting modern policies with the right balance between risk management and innovation will attract further investments, allowing Toronto to lead the way into the future."
– Rafael Antiquera, Director of Business Development, Bosch Canada
The economic engine of Ontario, Toronto is globally recognized as an attractive place to do business. However, many business owners across the Toronto Region spend too much time dealing with red tape instead of growing their companies.
After years of economic uncertainty due to the pandemic, Toronto needs to make it as easy as possible for businesses to start and scale by removing unnecessary red tape.
Read more about this issue with thought leadership from TRBOT President & CEO Jan De Silva and John Kiru, Executive Director of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas.
It's time to #HitGo on:
Creating a Toronto-led red tape reduction panel that accelerates business growth and commits to concrete action to implement its recommendations.
Removing unnecessary or duplicate provincial-municipal approvals to open and expand space for new businesses.
Approving permits on a strict timeline so businesses aren't impacted by delays.
Creating a comprehensive list of all municipal and provincial permits required for each type of business.