City of Toronto

"Building an Equitable City Together"

Collaborative Leadership – Working Group

The City of Toronto's Working Group on City Funding Support for Toronto's Community-Based Anti-Discrimination Infrastructure (the Working Group) was established in the late fall of 2012 on the direction of Toronto City Council. The Working Group's role is to provide advice on ways in which the City's support for Toronto's community-based anti-discrimination infrastructure could be strengthened.

The Working Group, co-led by the Equity, Diversity and Human Rights (EDHR) Division of the City Manager's Office and the Social Development, Finance and Administration Division (SDFA), includes representatives from:

  • community organizations and funders,
  • planning organizations and networks,
  • research institutions,
  • other City divisions.

Since late fall (2012), members of the Working Group have been engaged in an emergent learning process in which members shared their experiences in equity work, identified lessons learned from previous actions and generated new ideas on how to strengthen the community-based anti-discrimination infrastructure.

Building an Equitable City Together Symposium

On March 28th, 2013, the Working Group hosted the Building an Equitable City Together Symposium to seek the input and advice from the broader community. Attended by nearly 150 members of Toronto's equity-seeking community and staff from across the City, the Symposium provided the opportunity for participants to help shape the City's future as it relates to equity and diversity issues.

City staff and community representatives discussed the City of Toronto's current initiatives on equity and diversity and provided advice on important elements that would support a healthy, inclusive and engaged community infrastructure.

The Symposium included:

  • presentations from senior City staff on a wide variety of City portfolios in the context of equity and diversity issues – from purchasing/procurement to 311 service, facilities management and environment; from Urban Design and Planning to Accountability offices
  • table discussions designed to elicit input on an Equity, Diversity & Human Rights Corporate Framework and a related Equity Lens Tool for City staff
  • table discussions where participants provided advice on developing on-going mechanisms to engage the wider community in equity, diversity and human rights issues
  • a panel discussion on ways to measure the impact of the equity work being done across the City

A survey was circulated for participants to evaluate the Symposium and provided another opportunity for input.

Moving Ahead

Members of the Working Group will continue to support initiatives and strategies related to:

  1. Increasing participation of Aboriginal groups in its equity work, including funding strategies
  2. Developing ongoing mechanisms for community engagement
  3. Developing an Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Framework and a Youth Outcomes Framework for the City of Toronto
  4. Funding strategies that support capacity building and access, equity and anti-discrimination work

SDFA and the EDHR Divisions will prepare a report back to Council in October 2013.

On behalf of the Working Group, thank you to all Symposium participants for sharing your experience and helping us build a vision for a strong anti-discrimination infrastructure in the City of Toronto and thus an equitable City.

Working Group Composition

The following are members of the City of Toronto's Working Group on City Funding Support for Toronto's Community-Based Anti-Discrimination Infrastructure:


Denise Campbell, Social Development Finance and Administration, City of Toronto Uzma Shakir, Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Office, City of Toronto


  • Safia Ahmed, Rexdale Community Health Centre
  • Yvette Bailey, Lawrence Heights Inter-Organizational Network
  • Carrie Butcher/Brian Conway, Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • Nation Cheong, Youth Challenge Fund/United Way Toronto
  • Meely Chan, City of Toronto
  • Herbert Co, City of Toronto
  • Debbie Douglas, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
  • Barbara Finlay, City of Toronto
  • Sonja Grekol, Toronto Women's City Alliance
  • Sally Han, City of Toronto
  • Violetta Ilkiw, Laidlaw Foundation
  • Joanne Kviring, City of Toronto
  • Maura Lawless, 519 Church Street Community Centre
  • May Lui, Canadian Chinese National Council Toronto Chapter
  • Janet MaWhinney, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
  • Crystal Melin, Native Women's Resource Centre
  • Anthony Mohamed, St. Michael's Hospital
  • Wangari Muriuki, African Canadian Social Development Council
  • Ayshia Musleh, Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario (ERDCO)
  • Chi Nguyen/Debra Shime, United Way Toronto
  • Rebecca Price, Catholic Crosscultural Services
  • Duberlis Ramos, Hispanic Development Council
  • Kenn Richard, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
  • Neethan Shan, Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA)

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