City of Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy

Dear Scarborough-Guildwood Residents

In the spring of 2016, City Council supported my motion on Data regarding deaths in Toronto’s Homeless Community. This motion recommended the following:

  • That appropriate staff collect all relevant data related to deaths within and outside of the City’s homeless shelters;
  • That this data be shared publicly to City divisions, agencies and Provincial ministries; and
  • To introduce and gain support of a provincial mandate to track all homeless deaths for further policy and legislation purposes

More information on this item can be found here.

At the November 14th Executive Committee meeting, recommendations for City Council to adopt a 2019-2022 Poverty Reduction Strategy Term Action Plan was approved, to be considered at the November 26th City Council meeting. This item is in part to follow the adoption of a 20-year (2015-2035) Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy which was approved by City Council in November 2015.

The 2019-2022 Term Action Plan recommends to include a series of actions and activities aligned with the strategy’s original recommendations which focus on housing stability, service access, transportation equity, food access, quality jobs and livable incomes, and systematic change. More information on this item can be found here.

Moreover, the Executive Committee supported my motions requesting appropriate staff to create Open Data datasets on the following areas:

  • Tracking information on homeless deaths, including medical cause of death, date, gender, Indigenous status and location of death;
  • Information in individuals and families placed in time limited emergency housing during crisis or illness; and
  • Outlines on unsheltered street homeless to general population ratio for Toronto and other major Canadian cities, after each Street Needs Assessment.

The absence of data on the number of homeless individuals that pass outside the boundaries of the City’s shelter systems provide a false account of the true circumstances facing those who live on the streets of Toronto.

People in the City and in Canada should not be dying on our streets. If they do, we should understand why, so that it never happens again. Every person counts. Every person has a right to live with dignity, and unfortunately, if they pass away, to pass with dignity as well.

All my Best,

Paul W. Ainslie