Prominent Toronto Residents call for 1000 shelter beds in 2018

January 23, 2018


Dear Mayor Tory and Toronto City Council,

We are writing to you as a group of Torontonians who love our city and want the best for it.

To begin, we would like to thank the Mayor for opening the Moss Park Armoury this winter, and also for his personal support of the introduction of 1000 new permanent shelter beds. We recognize the belated but important actions that have been taken to deal with this crisis thus far.  We also recognize the excellent people who are working on the front lines to help people who are homeless.

However we need more proactive and permanent solutions. We are writing to ask that city council take five urgent steps:

  1. Fund and open a minimum of 1000 new shelter beds in 2018.
  2. Keep the Moss Park Armoury open until the beds can be replaced with permanent shelter beds.
  3. Honour the 90 percent occupancy cap on shelters.
  4. Make long term advancements in wrap around care such as getting more mental health, addiction and harm reduction supports to those who need it.
  5. Establish new standards and invest in improving overall drop-in and shelter conditions.
Read more →

Smart Cities Challenge: Innovation and the Indigenous District


Infrastructure Canada has announced a $50 million prize for Smart Cities Initiatives that will improve the liveability of cities.

We think that Indigenous District is the ideal, made-in-Toronto submission for this exciting competition. With one of the largest and fastest growing Indigenous populations in Canada, right here in Toronto, we have the opportunity to dramatically shift the urban conversation as it relates to reconciliation, entrepreneurship and social inclusion. We are currently developing a 16,000 square feet Indigenous business incubator in the Downtown East. This extraordinary initiative will be the catalyst for a future Indigenous District, soon to be an international visitor destination anchored with Indigenous cultural and entrepreneurial ingenuity both traditional and contemporary‎ in its pursuits. We will leverage and utilize data, technology and community strengths to uplift and bring Toronto another step closer to being a truly inclusive Smart City.

Supported by The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, the Indigenous Placemaking Council, and the Toronto Aboriginal Social Services Council.

We want your feedback and hope you can join us for a special presentation on January 25, 2018 from 2-4pm at MaRS Discovery District, Room CR3 to learn more about the Indigenous District and #SmartCityTO.



Councillors Wong-Tam, Cressy and Fletcher to host media availability on shelter crisis

January 16 2018

TORONTO – On Wednesday morning Councillors Joe Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina), Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale), and Paula Fletcher (Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth) will host a joint media availability to comment on the recently released open letter to City Councillors on the shelter crisis.

The Councillors will also speak specifically to the motions they are planning to move at that day's Community Development and Recreation Committee.

What: Media availability on shelter crisis open letter
Date: Wednesday January 17, 2018, 8:45am
Location: Outside Committee Room 1, Toronto City Hall (100 Queen Street West)
Who: Councillors Joe Cressy, Kristyn Wong-Tam and Paula Fletcher




Open Letter to Address Toronto's Shelter Crisis

I have been working with Councillors Cressy and Fletcher on finding a way forward to address the Toronto shelter crisis. Today we are pleased to announce that the support of key supporters including Mayor Tory, we will be advancing critical measures needed to stem the growing shelter demand. 

At the January 17, 2018 meeting of the Community Development and Recreation Committee, I will table a motion that will ask City Council to introduce many immediate actions including the creation of 1000 plus new permanent shelter beds into the system by the end of 2018 and to extend the winter emergency measures beyond their original closing of April 15 until these beds are officially in operation.

The shelter crisis has shown City Council that it is imperative that we work together to ensure that our shelter system provides a safe, stable place that all residents can access when needed.

Read more →

Join me for my Budget Town Hall on Gender Responsive Budgeting

Join us on January 18, 2018 for Councillor Wong-Tam's Town Hall on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB). The evening will feature a fireside chat with Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau, expert panelists and facilitated round-table discussions on how Toronto can improve programs and services needed to build a more inclusive city. Please RSVP here.

Childminding and ASL interpretation will be available. If you expect to need childminding, please email Councillor Wong-Tam's office at councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca.

In 2017, Councillor Wong-Tam hosted Toronto's first public forum on Gender-Responsive Budgeting (GRB). We discussed the many benefits of incorporating an intersectional gender equity lens when developing city budgets.

By placing a gender equity lens over the city budgets, we can ensure resources are more fairly allocated to serve ALL residents. Better budgets equal better services.

The truth is, despite the many commitments to equity, Toronto City Council has never adopted a woman-friendly budget. The waitlists for accessible childcare, recreation services, shelter supports, affordable housing and other essential services continue to grow.

C2kpUHPWQAIFTY3.jpgCommunity members gather for Councillor Wong-Tam's first ever Town Hall on Gender Responsive Budgeting in 2017. 

Cities across the world have created different forms of gender-responsive budgeting with the purpose of advancing gender equity. Even the 2016 federal budget contained a historic Gender Statement outlining the main challenges and economic inequalities facing Canadian women.

It's time for Toronto City Council to put talk into action.

Councillor Wong-Tam is working closely with diverse community advocates from across Toronto to ensure the city incorporates an intersectional gender equity framework over its budgets. This framework analyses the social, cultural and economic identities different women and men face and seek to redress disparities through careful allocation of public resources.

Gender-responsive budgeting encourage decision-makers to think about the multiple ways both men and women experience city services, which include municipal policy areas such as transit, housing, capital spending on roads and infrastructure, taxes and user fees.

It is important that we have fair access to the city budgets. Let's work together to build a Toronto where everyone can prosper and thrive.