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A City for All: Achieving More Inclusive Municipal Governance in Toronto
September 10, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Over the last several months, Toronto’s fissures and inequalities have been put on display. Protests against police brutality and anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism have once again highlighted the systemic racism that undergirds many of the city’s key institutions, all while COVID-19 has disproportionately affected areas of the city with large racialized and newcomer populations.
These events have sparked many important conversations about policy gaps, such as the need for more race-based data, and policy solutions, such as calls to defund the police. They have also underlined what Brittany Andrew-Amofah, Alexandra Flynn, and Patricia Wood have called “the democratic deficits in local decision-making” – the fact that, too often, those most affected by policy changes, most dependent on public services, or most vulnerable to abuse and racism, are those least heard when decisions get made.
What changes need to be made to ensure all Torontonians are meaningfully engaged in the City’s decision making? How can the voices of racialized, newcomer, and Indigenous residents be firmly integrated into the City’s governance structures? On September 10, this webinar explored these questions and examined how Toronto can begin to address its divisions and build toward a more inclusive future.
Heather Dorries is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto where she is cross-appointed to the Department of Geography and Planning and Centre for Indigenous Studies. Her research is focused on the relationship between urban planning and settler colonialism, as well as the application of Indigenous knowledge systems in planning contexts. She is currently revising her book manuscript Planning the End of the World: Indigenist Planning Theory and the Art of Refusal, and is co-editor of the collection Settler City Limits: Indigenous Resurgence and Settler Colonial Violence in the Urban Prairie West (University of Manitoba Press 2019).
Anthony Morgan is a lawyer and the Manager of the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) Unit. The CABR Unit is responsible for the implementation of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism. Prior to joining the City, Anthony was an Associate at Falconers LLP, specializing in the areas of civil, constitutional and criminal state accountability litigation. He has a special interest in anti-racist human rights advocacy, particularly in the area of anti-Black racism.
Devika Shah is passionate about building a civic society that is grounded in diversity, equity, social and economic justice, and active democratic engagement. Her interdisciplinary background and experience in the non-profit sector has strengthened her commitment to advancing grassroots, community-led, multi-stakeholder solutions, which she views as the most powerful lever for achieving systems change. Devika is currently Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto and has held past positions with the World Wildlife Fund Canada, Pembina Institute, York University, and KCI Philanthropy.
Patricia Wood is is Professor of Geography at York University and a co-founder of its City Institute. With Alexandra Flynn (Allard School of Law, UBC), she is conducting international comparative research into urban governance, and public consultation about the future of Toronto’s governance structures. She is the author of Citizenship, Activism and the City: the Invisible and the Impossible (Routledge 2017). She also writes an urban affairs column for Spacing.ca.
Brittany Andrew-Amofah is a public policy professional based in Toronto. She is currently the Senior Policy and Research Analyst at the Broadbent Institute, where she is responsible for assisting with setting the research and policy direction of the organization, and managing the Broadbent Institute’s Fellow Program. Prior to joining the Broadbent Institute, Brittany was on the policy team at the Maytree Foundation where her work focused on researching various poverty reduction strategies. She is also a former Program Manager at Harmony Movement, where she delivered diversity, equity and anti-racism training to students, educators and non-profits across Ontario.