For Immediate Release | Check Against Delivery
May 4th, 2018

Mayor Crombie’s Speech: United Way of Greater Toronto’s “Ontario for All” Event

Mayor Crombie delivered the following speech in her capacity as Chair, United Way Greater Toronto Mayors and Chair Council at today’s “Ontario for All” event to kick-off their provincial election campaign. Mayor Crombie spoke on behalf of her fellow GTA and Ontario mayors in calling on all parties and candidates to deliver platforms that make investments in social services a priority and directly address the growing inequality in our region. 

“Thank you for inviting me to join you today.

“I’m pleased to be here to represent my mayoral colleagues from across the GTA.

“And I’m proud to be championing the campaign of the United Way.

“Their work on the cause of equality in Greater Toronto Area is something we all can and should get behind.

“I was asked here today by United Way to give the municipal perspective to the provincial party leaders.

“Local governments are not responsible for social services by and large, yet we continue to feel the impact of their underfunding in our communities

” We are the front lines and closest to the people, and therefore we are directly impacted on a daily basis by the funding decisions of the province

“I join the United Way and my fellow municipal leaders in calling on all parties to commit to playing an active role in the funding and provision of  social services in our communities to help us address some fundamental issues that continue to persist in our cities and regions:

  • Poverty and homelessness
  • Income inequality and polarization
  • Precarious employment
  • Insufficient mental health services and supports
  • Substance abuse services and supports
  • Access to quality health care locally
  • Access to quality education for everyone and;
  • Reliable and affordable public transit

“I’m sure you’ve all had a chance to read the “Opportunity Equation” report.

“The findings are as startling as they are concerning. We are witnessing a hollowing out of the middle class and an increase in income polarization between rich and poor.

“We’re also seeing exponential growth in low-income neighbourhoods across all our communities.
“Mississauga has long held the image of the suburban dream; but today we see that low to very low-income neighbourhoods now make up 52% of our city compared to just over 20 per cent in 2000.

“The same trend toward growing inequality and poverty can be found in every municipality across the GTA.

“At the same time, income polarization is growing. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening, wearing away the middle class.

“These trends are concerning because they create unsustainable local economies and hold us back as a region from competing internationally

“These trends also underscore that too many in our communities are being left behind, don’t have access to the same opportunities as others, and are   not fulfilling their potential.

“Local governments alone cannot address this crisis. It will require an ongoing commitment from the provincial government to address these issues and ensure our communities are properly resourced to fund vital social services

“The United Way and its member agencies witness first hand every day the consequences of underfunding critical social services. They see the impact  of growing income polarization, precarious employment, and they do their best to help those who are being left behind.

“We can do better. We must do better.

“I join my fellow GTA and Ontario mayors in calling on all parties and candidates to deliver platforms that make investments in social services a priority and directly address the growing inequality in our region.

“Downloading these costs to municipalities will not solve the problem. We simply do not have the means or the tools to address these issues.

“In Peel Region, on almost every measure, we’re underfunded per capita compared to every other municipality.

“We have one of the longest wait lists for subsidized housing in province and we continue to do our best to address a growing mental health and substance abuse crisis, with limited resources and tools.

“We need the provincial government on board in a meaningful way to help us help the residents we all serve.

“Every day, hard-working Ontarians are the ones experiencing this inequality – the very people we have all said we want to help.

“This is not a partisan issue, but a human issue, the results of which impact everyone.

“A shrinking middle class, decreasing opportunity, combined with increased income polarization is a recipe for disaster socially and economically.

“Whether you’re left, right or in the centre, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

“Thank you for your time and for being here today. Your presence and attention to these issues are critical to our future success as a province.

“I stand here today, ready to answer the United Way call.

“Ontario should be fair for all!

“Thank you”