TORONTO, Oct. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Toronto is getting some of the big things
right, highlights this year's Toronto's Vital Signs Report, an annual
Toronto Community Foundation publication. Yet, the Report warns,
Toronto's high rankings for prosperity, competitiveness and livability
are at risk from the effects of some alarming trend lines such as
rising youth unemployment and income inequality.
"If you judged Toronto only by the heated headlines we saw this year,
you would have a hard time finding the good news story. But in fact,
there are several," said Rahul K. Bhardwaj, President & CEO of the
Toronto Community Foundation. "Our Toronto's Vital Signs Report shows a
Toronto with some impressive assets that make this city appealing to
all. This is still a truly great city to live in."
"However, there are segments of the population - youth, newcomers, and
seniors - that are the most vulnerable to slipping through the cracks
that are forming in the foundation. The way forward requires a
fundamental shift in thinking, towards system wide innovations, in
order to address our growing challenges," said Bhardwaj.
The Toronto's Vital Signs Report will be launched today at The Canadian
Club of Toronto. Bhardwaj will give the keynote address titled, 'Are we analog players in a digital world?', provoking discussion about issues Torontonians should consider in the
lead up to the anticipated elections in 2014. The speech will take
place at 1 p.m. Among the Report's key findings:
Toronto is still one of the best places to live in the world. As in 2012, Toronto ranked 4th on The Economist's Liveability Ranking of 140 global cities. The annual ranking measures
liveability across: stability, healthcare, education, culture and
environment, and infrastructure.
And, we maintained impressive economic momentum through 2012. For the third straight year, the Toronto Region ranked first among
Canada's largest 25 metropolitan areas on the Canadian Metropolitan Economic Activity Index. Economic diversity, robust population growth (2% year-over-year) and an
active construction sector has kept the city in the top five for most
of the last 7 years.
Employment in the downtown core grew by 14.2% between 2006 and 2011, and
8.7% across the Toronto Region. This compares to a decline of 3.3% in the downtown, and 10.9% growth in
the Region over the previous five years.
But, youth face dismal job prospects. In 2012, the Toronto youth unemployment rate averaged 20.75%, and for
recent immigrant youth in Canada less than 5 years, it was 29%.
More than 1 million Torontonians live in low-income neighbourhoods (20%
or more below the city average) and the polarization of wealth and
poverty is deepening. Parts of Toronto experienced an even more pronounced shift. In 1970, 96%
of Scarborough neighbourhoods were middle-income. Today, they account
for only 13.6%.
1 in 8 households in the Toronto Region (12.5%) experienced food
insecurity in 2011. The growing problem of food insecurity - running out of food,
compromising quality or quantity or even going days without meals - has
complex causes, but is primarily rooted in lack of money to buy food.
Food insecurity remains a challenge as food bank usage in Toronto is
still close to a million visits this past year. There is a particular challenge in Toronto's inner suburbs where usage
increased 38% from 2008.
The Toronto Region still ranks as 'severely' unaffordable in a survey of 337 housing markets. A standard 2-storey house in the Toronto Region averaged $640,500 at the
end of 2012, requiring a qualifying household income of over $130,000.
62% of a median household income would need to be spent on housing
costs. 30% is considered affordable.
These changes are especially challenging for Toronto's population of
seniors (65 +). This population is projected to grow by 1/3 - from 376,570 in 2011
(14.4% of the total population) to almost half a million (17% of the
total population) by 2031.
The Toronto Community Foundation is one of 26 community foundations
across Canada launching a Vital Signs report today. Vital Signs was
first launched in Toronto in 2001.
Ways to get engaged with the Toronto's Vital Signs® Report 2013:
Download the Full Report, including a glossary of terms and list of
sources at https://www.tcf.ca/torontos-vital-signs.
Learn about and participate in solutions to issues identified in the
Toronto's Vital Signs Report on the Community Knowledge Centre, www.tcf.ca, an online showcase of more than 230 community organizations working to
improve quality of life in Toronto
About the Toronto Community Foundation
Our mission is to connect philanthropy with community needs and
opportunities all with a vision to make Toronto the best place to live,
work, learn and grow. As an independent public foundation we work with
donors to create endowments and invest in the city of Toronto through
philanthropy and our city building work.
Our unique position enables us to be a catalyst for change. We
facilitate dialogue on issues highlighted in the Report and mobilize
hundreds of individual and family donors, a vast array of high-impact
community organizations, and cross-sector leaders to tackle complex
quality of life issues in creative and inspiring ways. We collaborate
to develop and support innovative solutions through our grant programs
and special initiatives.
About the Toronto's Vital Signs® Report
The Community Foundation partners with many researchers to produce the
Toronto's Vital Signs Report. The Report identifies progress we should
be proud of and challenges that need to be addressed. It is a
consolidated snapshot of the trends and issues affecting the quality of
life in our city and each of the interconnected issue areas is critical
to the well-being of Toronto and its residents.
SOURCE: Toronto Community Foundation
For further information:
Simone Dalton, Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Toronto Community Foundation
O: 416-921-2035 ext. 218