CITY Institute summit seeks to reimagine the Canadian city


Roger Keil, director of The City Institute at York University, and Beaches-East York NDP Member of Parliament Matthew Kellway, will host a summit today to discuss solutions for the social, infrastructural and economic challenges facing Toronto and Southern Ontario.

The summit will bring together policy makers, urban experts, municipal and federal politicians, activists and academics to develop a strategy for Ontario’s urban economies.

Taking place at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon in the Toronto Reference Library, from 8am to 6:30pm, this event will examine the social, political and urban economies of the Canadian city and its suburbs.

Roger KeilLeft: Roger Keil

Setting the stage for the summit is the latest federal budget, which focuses heavily on resource extraction, but has no plan for Canada’s urban centres, where some 80 per cent of Canadians live.

Keil says that while other G8 countries have become major players in the financial, economic and cultural life of their cities, the Canadian government has opted to leave cities to fend for themselves.

“Canada is still struggling to accept being an urban nation,” said Keil. “We are missing the specific strategic initiatives other nations have for their cities. The current federal budget provides no perspective on that important national priority.”

“That approach doesn’t work for urban Canada – where 80 percent of Canadians actually live. Cities need investment in knowledge, better, greener infrastructure and a strategy to reinvigorate our manufacturing sector,” said Kellway.

 Matthew KellwayRight: Matthew Kellway

The summit begins with three keynote speakers who will establish a common context for the day’s discussions. Delegates will then break into smaller working groups to explore strategies and solutions for the social, infrastructural and economic challenges facing Toronto and Southern Ontario.

The opening keynote presentations will be made by David A. Wolfe, Armine Yalnizyan and Mario Lefebvre.

Wolfe is professor of political science at the University of Toronto Mississauga and co-director of the Program on Globalization & Regional Innovation Systems (PROGRIS) at the Munk School for Global Affairs. He is also the Royal Bank Chair in Public and Economic Policy at the University of Toronto. He will speak on the topic of political economy.

Yalnizyan, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, has written about labour markets and public finance for more than 20 years. She is the author of two reports on income inequality in Canada, The Growing Gap (1998) and The Rich and the Rest of Us (2007). Yalnizyan will address challenges facing the social economy.

Lefebvre is the director of Quebec Affairs and the Centre for Municipal Studies at the Conference Board of Canada.  He was also a senior research associate in the Economic Services Group the Conference Board. Lefebvre’s keynote will examine the urban economy.

For more information, visit the CITY Institute website.