Our campaign VoteToronto2010
ignited discussion and encouraged debate on crucial issues leading up to the 2010 civic election. The campaign focused on four themes that our Members believed would define the future of the Toronto region:
1. Fixing the City of Toronto's finances
- Fixing the City of Toronto’s finances;
- Growing the regional economy;
- Promoting social cohesion and economic inclusion;
- Improving civic democracy.
Our campaign was credited with defining what became the key issue of the election in the City of Toronto: addressing the "growing chasm" caused by lax fiscal policies leading to an unsustainable structural deficit that threatened our economic prosperity.
Bridging the Chasm
highlighted three "must-do" actions to get back to good fiscal health:
- Reform the city's labour model;
- Reduce and eliminate debt;
- Implement multi-year operating budgets.
For nearly a decade, the City of Toronto faced a significant structural deficit on its operating budget. Our thought leadership documents --The Growing Chasm: An Analysis and Forecast of the City of Toronto's Finances
and Bridging the Chasm: Fixing the City's Finances
– outlined the problem and offered solutions to fix the City's strained finances and implement sustainable fiscal practices. Our research showed that the deficit could balloon to over $1 billion by 2019 unless there was a viable plan to return to a balanced budget.
Read the op-ed by Carol Wilding and Don Drummond in the Toronto Star (January 9, 2010): “Your Day of Financial Reckoning is Nigh, Toronto.”
2. Growing the city and regional economy
Members have told us that they view gridlock as the No. 1 barrier to improving competitiveness and driving productivity. They also clearly told us they see funding an effective regional solution as a top priority for their business and their city. This is why discussions about funding for The Big Move were a key component of our second VoteToronto2010.com campaign. The Move Ahead: Funding "The Big Move"
outlines 16 revenue tools and one cost-saving mechanism that could be implemented to fund Metrolinx's bold regional transportation plan, The Big Move.
Read the op-ed by Carol Wilding in the Toronto Star (May 16, 2010): "Funding crunch could get GTA moving."
Better Together: Driving Regional Economic Co-operation and Development
examined the importance of co-ordinated approaches to regional economic development, and the potential benefits of creating a single regional investment-promotion agency. While this initiative does not point to a single "right" model, it looks at several examples of jurisdictions where a regional approach to economic development is producing remarkable results. The paper also studies how regions with a single investment-promotion agency (IPA) are attracting unprecedented levels of investment.
3. Promoting social cohesion and economic inclusion
Lifting All Boats: Promoting Social Cohesion and Economic Inclusion in the Toronto Region
examined the hard costs we all must pay for inequitable access to affordable housing, community services, public transit and employment. It also explores the economic advantages of creating cohesive, inclusive communities to effectively leverage the talents of new Canadians.
4. Improving civic democracy
Improving Civic Democracy
, our 2010 public opinion survey, was designed and analyzed for the Board by University of Toronto professor Peter Loewen and conducted by Innovative Research Group Inc. It concluded that if residents do not feel they have a stake in our region’s growth and prosperity, they will not take part in the civic electoral process. Voter turnouts of only 39.3 per cent in 2006 and 38 per cent in 2003 prove voters are disengaged from municipal debates. Our Members concluded that candidates should be prepared to face a more engaged electorate in the future.
Pushing the Boundaries
As the 2010 municipal election neared, the Toronto Region Board of Trade issued a challenge to all candidates to address in their platform the issues we raised during our VoteToronto2010 campaign. Many took up the challenge, and successful candidates have pursued these policies at City Hall.
This portion of the campaign received considerable media attention and was endorsed by top civic leaders and opinion makers.
|Toronto Board of Trade forecasts growing chasm for city's financial future
David Nickle, Inside Toronto
Failure to tap into immigrants' skills costs billions
Anna Mehler Paperny, Globe and Mail
We need to talk about traffic now
Toronto Sun Editorial
Report: Toronto Board of Trade encourages road tolls, congestion charges and paid parking
Natalie Alcoba, National Post
Torontonians put economy ahead of cutting taxes: poll
Kelly Grant, Globe and Mail
Toronto Board of Trade lays out 12-point plan
David Nickle, Inside Toronto
Details please, board of trade demands
Paul Moloney, Toronto Star
||"With VoteToronto2010.com, the Toronto Region Board of Trade is playing a dynamic role by bringing together voices from diverse sectors to gain an understanding of the different perspectives and advance potential solutions to build a strong Toronto region. By working together, we can tackle growing economic disparities and the issue of social exclusion in the Toronto region — and create a community where people have equal access to opportunities for building a better life."
Frances Lankin, former President and CEO,
United Way Toronto
"The Toronto Region Board of Trade has shown real leadership in framing the challenges that constrain Toronto's full potential. Addressing the City's troubling fiscal situation requires a comprehensive and aggressive approach. Serious consideration of the Board's recommendations is a must for any candidate committed to doing what's best for Toronto."
David Soknacki, former councillor and budget chief,
City of Toronto
"The Board of Trade's commitment to leading the discussion on municipal issues that matter not just to their members, but all Torontonians, is laudable. The VoteToronto2010.com discussion papers have broken through sector divides and inspired Torontonians to engage in debate about the future of their city and their region. Whether you agree with the Board's perspective or not, use these discussion papers and the recommendations in “Pushing the Boundaries” to make an informed decision at the ballot box on October 25."
David Crombie, former mayor of Toronto