Toronto Foundation's Toronto's Vital Signs® Report 2014 highlights need for civic engagement and leadership across the city to maintain Toronto's "world-class" status
TORONTO, Oct. 7, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Toronto Foundation released its Toronto's Vital Signs Report 2014. "It's about time," the executive message from John Barford, Chair, Board of Directors, and Rahul K. Bhardwaj, President & CEO, is a rallying cry to all residents to get more civically engaged with their city to maintain its momentum and liveability.
"Toronto's on a roll, but all of our momentum and liveability will be lost unless we act now and act together. It's about time for us to push back on some of our aggressive problems. As our 'opportunity gap' continues to widen, not enough Torontonians are experiencing the fourth most liveable city on the planet, as a result of unacceptably high levels of youth unemployment, housing unaffordability, income inequality, and poor public transit," said Bhardwaj.
"As a Community Foundation we bring the private, public and philanthropic sectors together to tackle serious city problems through grants and programs. This is part of the vision, collaboration, and leadership that is needed to propel Toronto towards the future."
The Foundation is one of 28 Community Foundations across Canada releasing a Vital Signs report this year.
The Toronto's Vital Signs Report 2014 will be launched today at The Canadian Club of Toronto. The speech will take place at 12:40 p.m. A live webcast of the speech will be available on The Canadian Club's website.
Visit www.torontofoundation.ca to access the full Report, as well as specially designed condensed versions in the Toronto Star and Metro News. Among the Report's key findings:
Toronto is near the top of the class. According to numerous studies, ranking global metropolitan regions on measures such as prosperity, economic strength, competitiveness and liveability, Toronto scores very highly in 2013 and 2014. The Economist declared Toronto the fourth most liveable city in the world for the sixth year in a row.
We were also named the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Community Forum and recognized as the Youthful City of the Year on the YouthfulCities Index.
This is a city where people want to live and do business. Toronto is one of the least expensive places in the world (out of 107 global cities) to do business and most tax competitive of 51 international cities. The level of new construction projects continues to soar; there were 147 high- and mid-rise buildings under construction in the spring alone – more than in any other North American city.
Our cultural economy and healthy environment contribute to Toronto's attractiveness. Toronto's creative workforce has grown 34% since 2001 – more than twice the rate of the overall labour force. Arts and culture contribute $11.3 billion annually to the city's GDP. Do you remember how many smog alerts the city faced this past summer? Zero. Not only does Toronto have 1,600 parks, but our air is cleaner than it was 10 years ago.
And, we're safe. For the 7th straight year, the Toronto Region had the lowest rate of police-reported crime of the 33 metropolitan areas. It dropped by 7% in 2013 over 2012, 42% since 2003.
Unfortunately, Toronto's high rankings for prosperity, competitiveness, and liveability are at risk from the effects of some alarming trend lines such as youth unemployment and income inequality.
"The big four" – transit, unaffordable housing, income inequality, rising youth unemployment – are our city's and Region's biggest challenges.
- The average commute time is longer in the Toronto Region than anywhere in North America except New York City.
- The Toronto Region remains the second most unaffordable housing market in Canada (behind Vancouver). At the end of 2013, over 77,000 households in our city were on active wait lists for affordable housing.
- Toronto's child poverty rates are on the rise after a six-year decline. In 2012, 29% of children were living in poverty – in 14 Toronto neighbourhoods, the rate was over 40%.
- The issue of youth unemployment is particularly troubling: the 2013 average was 17.6%.
Ways to get engaged with the Toronto's Vital Signs® Report 2014:
- Download the full Report, including a glossary of terms and list of sources at www.torontofoundation.ca.
- Learn about and participate in solutions to issues identified in the Toronto's Vital Signs Report on the Community Knowledge Centre, http://ckc.torontofoundation.ca/, an online showcase of more than 250 community organizations working to improve quality of life in Toronto.
- Discuss the issues "on the table" with 1000 Dinners TO. Host a dinner, using the Report to frame the discussion.
About Toronto Foundation
Established in 1981, the Toronto Foundation is one of 191 Community Foundations in Canada. We are a leading independent charitable foundation that connects philanthropy to community needs and opportunities. Our individual and family Fundholders support causes they care about in Toronto and across Canada, through grants to any registered Canadian charity. We currently have more than 500 active Funds, including endowments and assets under administration of more than $300 million. A growing number of Torontonians support the Vital Toronto Fund, our community endowment that helps mobilize people and resources to tackle community challenges in innovative and inspiring ways. To find out more, please visit www.torontofoundation.ca.
About the Toronto's Vital Signs® Report
The Toronto Foundation's Toronto's Vital Signs Report is an annual consolidated snapshot identifying the trends and issues affecting the quality of life in our city – progress we should be proud of and challenges that need to be addressed. It aims to inspire civic engagement and provide focus for public debate. It is used by residents, businesses, community organizations, universities and colleges, high schools, and government departments. In addition, the Report is being replicated by cities around the world.
The Foundation partners with many researchers to produce the Toronto's Vital Signs Report, including George Brown College, our Lead Research Partner.
SOURCE: Toronto Foundation
For further information: Simone Dalton, Manager, Media Relations & Communications, Toronto Foundation, [email protected], O: 416-921-2035 ext. 218, C: 416-809-5036