About Us

The Just Recovery Simcoe initiative was started in response to the effects of COVID-19 on our communities, families and our economy. 
 
This collective effort between many groups across Simcoe County was intended to create a vision and provide guidance about how we can heal and move forward in a way that is sustainable, equitable, and just. 
 
Our goal is to provide proven ideas to communities and politicians that use tax dollars efficiently with a high return on investment. 
 
Further, in light of climate change and systemic racism and marginalization, these ideas can help provide structural changes which support climate action and equity.
 
If you’d like to get further involved in your community about the Just Recovery Simcoe effort, we suggest you reach out to one of the groups listed below. 
 
We can make these changes and we can build a better world, but it must be done together.
 

Our Principles

We, the undersigned, residents and community members of Simcoe County, are calling on local leaders to implement a sustainable, just recovery from the COVID crisis. We must make our communities more resilient, equitable and better prepared to withstand future crises, including the emerging impacts of the climate crisis.

People’s health and wellbeing must be the central focus in all of our current and future decisions and planning. We require more than investment in a robust healthcare infrastructure since only 20% of health outcomes are related to it. The other 80% of our health outcomes result from the social, economic, and natural environments in which we live and work. These conditions can absolutely be changed by our policy and planning choices.

In light of this, we ask that three principles – Invest in People, Invest in Nature, and Invest in Communities – be applied to municipal decision making. Specifically, we request that council direct staff to ensure that any recovery plans, related committee work and community improvement projects reflect these principles. We outline the principles and provide suggestions for achieving each below.

Invest in People

Create conditions to generate and support local, sustainable, secure jobs:
  • Focus on and support local entrepreneurs as they adapt and innovate in this post-Covid economy;
  • Invest in our existing economic strengths including local agriculture, eco-tourism and our low carbon economy;
  • Decrease wage gaps and promote a living wage to address precarious employment.
  • Build for equity, safety and accessibility to meet the needs of people based on differing age, stage, ability, gender, race, and religion:
  • Provide better design of public spaces so they are more safe, accessible, inviting, and can continue to enable safe physical distancing.
  • Recognize and incorporate the right to housing into local policies:
  • Provide more housing options within existing built up areas and discontinue large-scale, unsustainable sprawl development;
  • Require more from developers, both in terms of the amount of affordable housing built, and in terms of the type and location of housing built;
  • Advocate for proper funding to achieve housing as a right for all.
  • Ensure that Indigenous rights are upheld in a nation-to-nation relationship.
    Move toward an Index of Wellbeing to measure our communities’ prosperity.

    Invest in Nature

    Recognize the role that ecosystems play in supporting our health:
  • Protect our ecosystems as part of a natural solution to climate change;
  • Utilize green infrastructure to a far greater extent to help address issues of stormwater absorption and runoff, urban heat island effects, carbon absorption, and water and air pollution. Access expertise from non-profits, such as the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition, to help plan and implement plans;
  • Request that green spaces, including greenlands and agricultural lands, be given stronger protection by inclusion in Ontario’s Greenbelt;
  • Identify and safeguard natural assets, such as wetlands and wildlife corridors to enhance biodiversity and environmental resilience;
  • Permanently protect all Highly Vulnerable Aquifers (HVA) and Significant Groundwater Recharge Areas (SGRA) from development and mining for aggregate to ensure clean and plentiful water into the future;
  • Adjust growth patterns to recognize that natural resources of the planet cannot support endless growth or even the current rate of consumption.
  • Declare a climate emergency and commit to strong action plans.
    Increase access, where appropriate, to natural areas to foster a deeper connection with nature and encourage the mental health benefits nature provides:
  • Provide opportunities for eco-tourism, recreation and outdoor education.
  • Invest in Communities

    Seek and facilitate community engagement and give a greater voice to marginalized and racialized people:
  • Encourage input from residents, non-profits, faith-based groups, Indigenous leaders and other community groups to access their knowledge and expertise about what their community needs.
  • Increase community food security and access to healthy food:
  • Support backyard gardening and community gardens as a means to enhance food security;
  • Establish or strengthen partnerships with the local agriculture community, supporting farmers markets with useful space and promotion;
  • Remove local land use policies that stymie growing food and individual food sovereignty.
  • Support creative connections and collaborations among diverse groups within the community.
    Create communities that are equitable by design:
  • Support active living and active transportation, such as walking and cycling;
  • Improve existing communities so basic amenities can be safely and easily accessed without the need to own a car;
  • Do not drain municipal finances with costly sprawl; save money through gentle density and use savings to invest in existing communities;
  • Ensure transit is reliable and meets the needs of the communities most vulnerable and under-resourced.
  • We all want to live in healthy, prosperous communities. We believe that the aforementioned principles provide a clear path towards this goal for the residents in Simcoe County. In the coming months, we will continue to engage with our respective partners to further identify and refine these recommendations.

    We look forward to communicating with you further to improve our community’s equity, safety, inclusivity, and sustainability which increases our collective health and wellbeing.

    Local Signatories

    AWARE Simcoe

    Barrie and District Association of Singer-Songwriters

    Barrie and District Labour Council

    Barrie DOCS

    Barrie Families Unite

    Bradford Women’s+ Group

    Collingwood Climate Action Team

    Concerned Citizens of Ramara

    CONTACT Community Services

    Couchiching Conservancy

    Engage Barrie

    $15 and Fairness Barrie

    Firebird Community Cycle

    FridaysForFuture Simcoe

    Friends of Simcoe Forests

    Friends of Strawberry Island

    Grace United Church

    Grilled Cheese Social Eatery

    Hope Cafe Records

    Huronia Meditation Group

    Innisfil District Association

    Katie Project

    Leap Barrie

    Living Green Barrie

    New Tecumseth Climate Action

    Redwood Park Communities

    Red Scarf Equestrian Inc.

    Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition

    Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness (SCATEH)

    Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition

    Sustainable Orillia

    Take Note! Promotion

    Thomson Architecture, Inc.

    Urban Pantry

    York Simcoe Nature Club

    Provincial and National Signatories

    Climate Strike Canada

    Council of Canadians

    Ontario Headwaters Institute

    Ontario Nature

    RAVEN – Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs

    Wellington Water Watchers

    Individual Signatories

    Adam Ballah
    Turner Bogoslowksi
    Laura Brown
    Kathleen Caswell
    Ed Evans
    Nancy Fyles
    Barbara Sternberg
    Claire Walker
    Violet Majpruz
    Lee Kelly
    Charlene Strudwick
    S J Lenko
    Marilyn Green
    Claire Malcolmson
    W Lowry
    Catherine Jones
    Niall Lawlor
    Linda Laforge
    Catherine Krever
    Rebecca Bray
    Kristin Reid
    Ghisele Maurice
    Alyssa Wright
    Marie-Josee Yelle
    Geoffrey Reaume
    Marian Parrott
    Helene Van Houten
    Nicholas Clayton
    Tanya Clark
    Evelyn Perdue
    Kendra Marr
    Lee Miller
    Ann Orr
    Laurel Hood
    Mary Jane McIntyre
    Joyce Ward
    Beth Theis
    Catherine Huycke
    Annette Snowdon
    Donna Deneault
    Kelly Bradley
    JoAnne Fleming
    Kristina Smith
    Ann Orr
    Robert Wilkinson
    Nick Laferriere
    John Capon
    Ray Mueller
    Taylor Willenborg
    Jeanne Beneteau
    Peter Monahan
    Kate Harries
    Ann Truyens
    Susan Cadogan
    Kelly Patterson McGrath
    Riley Williamson
    Scott McCrindle
    Melody Clarke
    Christine Kelsey
    Louise Mallows
    Victoria kirst
    Manasse van Rooij
    Lyndsay Ayliffe
    Courtney Baker
    Lynette and Dave Mader
    Roz Campbell
    Susan Miller
    Laura Wilson
    Susan Watson
    Ginny Kaner
    Nick Clayton
    Steve McDonald
    Anne Kelliher
    Deb Woods
    Pam Mitchell
    John Mitchell was
    Niall Lawlor