Invest in People

Prioritize the health and wellbeing of people, ensuring that government, whether municipal, provincial, or federal, acts on behalf of the public interest. 

Government needs to re-establish its role as guarantor of the public interest. This means advancing the interests to benefit the public good when dealing with private interests, and actively promoting transparency and accountability in all decision making.

Recommendations

Enable small business and start-ups to experiment and iterate by helping to make commercial space more accessible and affordable. This may include making it easier for entrepreneurs to operate food trucks and stalls, for open air markets, including farmers markets to operate, for business to be more flexible in how they utilize space.

Focus on promoting a local economy that keeps as much money circulating within the community as possible, helping to ensure better paying jobs for residents near to where they live.

More info:

How to Encourage Entrepreneurship in Your Town

Simcoe County has numerous assets, including local farms and food producers, as well as lakes, rivers, forests and hills. These assets should be safeguarded and highlighted as key components of our communities.

Fostering communities that are more equitable benefits us all.

We have seen with COVID-19 how important it is to ensure that people have a buffer in the event of an emergency. So long as workers are paid the absolute minimum, this buffer is gone.

Ensuring that people are paid more not only helps provide this buffer, but it also stimulate the economy.

More info:

Living Wage Canada

A living wage benefits both the employee and the employer

Global supply chains broke quickly in the new reality of COVID-19.

Establishing and supporting supply chains that are local removes many of the links in the chain, ensuring, to continue the metaphor, that there are fewer links that can break in the event of an emergency.

Further, this helps the local economy, including workers and their families.

More info:

A New Food Economy Post-Covid: Building More Regional Supply Networks

A post COVID-19 outlook: the future of the supply chain

COVID-19 – Managing supply chain risk and disruption

Have your say on what is important to you as we build a fair and just recovery from COVID-19 in Simcoe County.

How we design streets, neighbourhoods, sidewalks, walking trails, transit and communities determines how safe, supported and connected people are.

For example, narrow sidewalks make it difficult for pedestrians to share with children on tricycles, people in wheelchairs or those elderly who require walkers. This either forces them to use the street (not safe) or reduces their willingness/ability to use the streets safely.

Similarly, bike lanes that only connect richer, greener neighbourhoods, means lower income neighbourhoods, who likely need bike lanes as a cheaper alternative to owning a car, are limited to how they can get around and with financial difficulties may have fewer options to begin with.

More info:

Vision Zero Canada

People need to be able find a home that is affordable to them. We also need to provide housing where jobs, roads and services exist.

But most of the housing we provide in Simcoe County is large single detached homes.

This type of housing does little for people need rentals, seniors who would like to downsize or those who need affordable housing.

We can choose to build more rentals, smaller houses, seniors apartments, townhouses and duplexes so that people have a choice about the type of housing they can afford and prefer. This is called providing the “missing middle” of housing and that is where we need to focus our building efforts.

More info:

What is Missing Middle Housing and why should you care?

Where we build and how much of it has to be affordable or rental is a policy choice. If we want more rentals and affordable housing units included in subdivision plans, then we need to increase the required percentage.

Municipalities could also offer incentives to developers to ensure that they build more of the housing that we need.

Finally, municipalities can choose to locate more of their new housing into existing communties where businesses would benefit from more customers, more taxes could be collected to put towards community services and amenities.

Choosing to build new communities where roads, jobs, infrastructure and services don’t currently exist takes money away from improving the lives and neighbourhoods of those already here.

More info:

Canada has ratified several international agreements that speak to housing as a right for all people.

However, there is a lot of work left to do to actually meet these obligations and none of these agreements are binding.

Canada implemented its first national housing strategy in 2017. It does set goals and some funding, but still over 200,000 people every year in Canada are without housing.

Most of the work to provide housing is left to Canada’s municipalities and they need more money to solve local housing issues.

More info:

Canada’s National Housing Strategy

UN – Housing as a Right

To ensure that all people are involved in decisions and how we can strengthen our world together, our governments must respect the rights of Indigenous people as a self-determining, sovereign nation with governments and decision making process that is unique to their community.

Having a nation to nation relationship means that municipalities can no longer assume full autonomy over what happens to the lands that they occupy and, in fact, must ensure local Indigenous governments are involved in decisions with free, informed and prior consent.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples outlines further these rights that Canada has ratified but has yet to implement.

More info:

AMO – Municipal – Indigenous Relations

OPPI – Indigenous Perspectives on Planning

Evergreen – Indigenous – Municipal Relations: Beyond consultation

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

Currently, we use the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to determine the success and strength of our communities.

But GDP does not tell us anything about how well or poorly we are doing in a wide variety of other economic, social, health, and environmental determinants that shape our country, our communities, and our everyday lives.

In short, GDP tells us nothing about the kind of world we are creating for ourselves and future generations, and whether we are progressing forward or moving back.

We are calling on our municipalities as well as other levels of government to consider measuring using the Canadian Index of Wellbeing.

The City of Guelph has been already implementing the CIW which shows us other cities and municipalities can too.

More info:

Wellbeing as the lens for decision-making in Canada

Alliance for Healthy Community – Measuring What Matters

Help create a just and sustainable future.

If you’d like to be a part of this initiative, or have comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.