Position Primer: How we did it


Once a week from mid-July to mid-September, Women in Toronto Politics sent an online survey to every Toronto City Council candidate whose contact info we could find. The survey requested candidates’ positions on 10 issues in 500 characters or less. Our team also followed up with candidates by phone and Twitter, and encouraged our Twitter and Facebook followers to ask their candidates to do the Position Primer.

The Position Primer features answers from all candidates who completed the survey. Women in Toronto Politics did not edit the answers in any way - we present candidates’ views to you exactly as they were presented to us. Think of it like a megaphone for candidates’ voices!

WARD 3 | Etobicoke Centre

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Click for candidates who did not complete the survey

Candidate ↓ Childcare Transportation Employment Affordable Housing Newcomers
Peter Fenech
Website
Email
Toronto needs to protect non-profit childcare from closing. As seen with a great facility being shut down after free childcare space given in exchange for density after 25 year agreement ended.
The city should partner with more non-profit organizations to offer quality childcare. working out similar agreements for longer term may help facilitate access. Families need to have access to affordable and accessible facilities.
Driving: Ensure better quality materials used in asphalt; less potholes.
Transit: Alter bus routes to better serve ward. Press for Eglinton Phase 2 to Pearson; open access to jobs. Time-based transfers implemented to help low income residents.
Cycling: Use hydro corridor from Eglinton Ave. to Kipling Station, encouraging cycling.
Walking: All new housing developments to incorporate mixed usage for better access to shops & services.
My platform includes promoting local businesses. A good way to create jobs is to have a thriving local economy that can be worked by local residents. Small business is the driving force behind job creation.
Residents need information and access to programs that can help those unemployed find work. Creating relationships with community organizations and business may bridge help with opportunity.
Access to better transit will also increase options for employment.
The unfortunate reality is that there is not enough affordable housing in Toronto. With thousands of families on waiting lists and the only getting longer, Toronto does need to play a role.
One aspect to help insure additional affordable housing is created is having developers of new properties require that 25% of total units are for affordable housing.
Having an expansion of the Affordable Home Ownership program that offers assistance with purchasing a home.
Toronto currently has a Toronto Newcomers Strategy that may need to be better utilized and accessible.
Toronto needs to encouraging organizations to assist with integration in partnership with Toronto and other levels of government.
Toronto is a port city for newcomers to Canada. Each year the number of newcomers is approximately 40% of immigration. Toronto needs to take this influx seriously.
Roberto Alvarez
Website
Email
(647) 964-1363
There is an imperative to get stable and predictable funding from the Province in order to promote non-profit, affordable and high quality child care expansion in partnership with community and social organizations that are already working with low-income families. "I believe that there is an imperative to build consensus for a comprehensive and a long term strategy for mobility in the city that supports walking, cycling, transit and good movement as key priorities.
The next step must be defining and implementing a complete funding strategy for building, operating and maintaining public transit infrastructure.
"We need to increase the city’s competitiveness to attract businesses, investments and tourism. An essential component of this is a long-term investment strategy to improve the city’s physical infrastructure and mobility.
Additionally, efficient and simple taxation, simple and transparent business regulation and proper policies that protect producers, consumers and citizens are needed.
First, implementing the provincial Community Homelessness Prevention initiative; second, developing a sustainable funding strategy for affordable housing options; third, enhancing housing services to assist residents to access affordable housing options I support the implementation of the "Toronto Newcomers Strategy" in order to Improve newcomers' access to City services, employment and community engagement
Greg Comeau
Website
Email
(647) 978-4734
The City of Toronto should provide incentives to businesses to subsidize daycare funding for their employees.
- It should also be utilizing unused spaces in schools and convert them into daycare spaces.
I am in favour of some form of Downtown Relief, whether it is through John Tory's proposed SmartTrack which will provide relief in a shorter amount of time and provide more options for Etobicoke, or through building new subways. We also need to provide additional buses for peak times, and fix some of the scheduling issues (bunching) on our Street Car lines. I am in favour of additional bike lanes, for safety and accessibility, but in strategic locations. As noted, the City of Toronto needs to continue limiting Non-residential Property Tax increases to persuade businesses to relocate to Toronto
- The City also needs to do a better job of improving the business climate to attract new businesses to Toronto
- Dealing with gridlock and improving our transit options is also another key area to allow citizens greater mobility & thus provide greater employment options
The City of Toronto needs to ensure that:
- All three levels of government need to come up with a long-term strategy to tackle the over 70,000 applicants on the waiting list for affordable housing in Toronto
- Continue to press the Federal & Provincial governments to deal with the $750 million required to renovate existing affordable housing units
- Maintain the strategy of limiting Non-residential Property Tax increases in Toronto to attract businesses & provide jobs
My platform addresses these needs with better childcare options, & improved transit, but the most important issue to ensure that they have good language skills to find decent employment. Through my management experience, the number one issue that holds people back from finding a job for a newcomer that suits their skills are their language skills, along with recognizing their credentials.
John Moskalyk
Website
Email
(416) 246-6264
Toronto has some of the highest childcare costs across the country. The average cost of a licensed day care spot runs about $40 to $70 a day, with more than 16,000 children waiting for subsidies. Childcare subsidies need to be readily available so that parents can work, thus contributing to a stronger economy in the GTA. The City needs to work with the province to find some funding solutions as Toronto’s economic performance is an issue the province must be concerned with. Traffic and transit are the biggest challenges facing Toronto as a whole. It impacts just about every sector. Better and more all-encompassing transit will take cars off the roads, allowing us to complete the appropriate repairs needed to aging infrastructure.
I support transit proposals that are achievable and can start immediately. We don’t have time to waste. The economy and environment are dependent on Toronto improving our transit system.
One of the biggest barriers to employment in Toronto right now is transit. Our roads and transit systems are overcrowded. Improving public transit is critical to increasing our competitive advantage. The Toronto Region Board of Trade estimates that congestion on our roads costs our region $6 billion in lost productivity every year, and that is estimated to rise to $15 billion per year by 2031. The City needs to work with other levels of government to come up with an achievable long-term plan. I think council should start to think outside the box. Rent subsidies, such as vouchers, could be used to help people find affordable housing in the current marketplace, without building extra units. This program could be modeled after a similar one used in British Columbia. Etobicoke is home many different communities. People come to Canada for a better life. The Canadian way of life is often a foreign concept to newcomers. There are lots of forms to fill out, and processes to follow. I think City staff does a good job in helping newcomers navigate the different systems. Transit is most important. We need an affordable way for newcomers to get to that job interview and travel to work once they are successful.
Candidate ↓ Poverty Public Services Taxation Infrastructure Major Ward Issue
Peter Fenech
Website
Email
Toronto has over 600,000 low-income people of which 43% work. Staggering to know 32% of children live in poverty. This shows that even if residents have a job, they may not be making enough to support their family.
Toronto needs job creation in areas with a high poverty ratio. I support a North Etobicoke Technology environment. Highly skilled and well paying jobs in a part of Toronto that would thrive with such an opportunity. Partner with Humber College & expanded transit to succeed.
Any service offered by the city should be public, only way to have proper oversight. As seen with the recent issue with private garbage collection west of Yonge Street, only recourse is to put out for bid without ability to address the actual problems.
The cost may be higher but the need to service the residents should be put first. Not being helped or having poor customer service is a higher cost if not controlled.
I don't support elimination of the Land-Transfer Tax. How will the revenue be replaced? Residents in Ward 3 would rather have LTT; not higher property taxes.
Recent flooding & blackouts have made residents in Etobicoke realize need to invest in infrastructure. Keeping property taxes at inflation.
Revenue tools will need to be used to improve Toronto. The next council will need to decide on the right course, including getting set funding from Federal government for infrastructure & Transit.
In Ward 3 there is a lack of a cohesive design to community infrastructure. Other wards have many great community building items that connect residents.
I would like to make Centennial Park the jewel of the west. Adding a complete bike path around the park, better access to transit will be one of my goals.
I'd like to have movie nights in the ward; encourage local theatre by creating an amphitheatre & ask residents what can be done to better our neighbourhoods.
Infrastructure of water-mains & hydro needs to be seriously overhauled. Currently projects underway that will not be completed until October 2015. Residents near construction wonder if they will also get improvements and what is the timeline.
We cannot have a repeat of the flooding and ice storm blackout. Proactive need to repair infrastructure rather than having residents homes devastated after.
Roberto Alvarez
Website
Email
(647) 964-1363
A poverty reduction strategy is vital to enhancing Toronto’s global competitiveness and prosperity. I believe that this strategy must be rooted on a specific long-term plan to increase employment opportunities for people living in poverty along with programs to help people to either enter or re-enter the labour market.
Additionally, a “safety net” including low income support, access to affordable housing and early learning and child care for families living in poverty will be needed.
Public-private partnerships involving the City of Toronto can be beneficial.For example, specific transit project such as walking/cycling networks connected to the TTC services, for example, can be a very good opportunity to get real estate developers involve in the process of improving mobility in the city (which is crucial for real estate development) "Taxes increases should be at or below the rate of inflation
Rather than advocate for specific revenue tools, I stand for an ample mix of revenue tools such as property, vehicle registration, land transfer, alcohol, tobacco, billboard, parking entertainment and road taxes with which rates must be defined considering family income affordability and potential economic impact.
Social and community infrastructure are vital to enhance quality of life of citizens. In this sense, the city must ensure equitable social development through strategic investments in the community infrastructure in order to improve social well-being of children and families. "People are concern about how their taxes are being applied. Many people feel that they are paying more taxes but receiving not only less but also poor quality services. Specific issues such as children care, garbage collection, road maintenance, library and recreational services are among the main concerns.
As a City Councillor I will be committed to monitor and most importantly to make the process of how the resources are being allocated more transparent and efficient.
Greg Comeau
Website
Email
(647) 978-4734
My platform addresses poverty by what has been noted already, with regards to child care, better transit options, and increasing employment opportunities. The actions by the Ontario government to increase the minimum wage in the province also is another good step. Whether it is public or private, we need to investigate what form will provide the most efficient services and the lowest price to the taxpayer and or consumer. We need to keep property tax increases within the rate of inflation. This will also help ease the burden with regards to affordable housing. The City of Toronto has very limited options with regards to other revenue tools. The City plays a key role in all of these areas, and should work with their provincial & federal counterparts to increase funding and development, such as what they are doing at Ontario Place. Healthy and accessible parks and amenities simply increases the enjoyment and quality of life in their neighborhoods. I have been surveying the ward for a number of months, gathering the opinions of the residents. The number one issue like everywhere else is transit/gridlock, which I have stated my ideas above. However, they are also tired of the behavioral conduct at City Hall. Therefore, I would like to toughen the current Code of Conduct, with real penalties to address this an other issues.
John Moskalyk
Website
Email
(416) 246-6264
For me, poverty is linked so closely to economic performance and economic opportunity. The biggest challenge, in my opinion for us to grow our economy is transit and traffic. With an ever increasing population it is paramount that our transit system continues to expand and rejuvenate itself to meet increased demand.
With more people getting to work, and contributing to the economy, we will have the resources to properly support those most vulnerable in our society.
The partnerships that currently exist between the City and private service providers have been, for the most part, effective. It helps keep costs down for the taxpayers and services have been maintained or improved. I look at how the City engaged the private sector in garbage pick-up in the West end. I believe that is a successful example and I would look for more ways to work with the private sector if elected. I think that across the board, residents of Etobicoke pay their fair share of tax, albeit less than several other GTA communities such as Mississauga and Oshawa. There are some conversations to be had with the other levels of government about getting a greater share of revenue tools at their disposal, to fund things like transit and infrastructure investment. Maintaining infrastructure is paramount. During the flooding our infrastructure failed us and we paid dearly. Etobicoke residents should expect their public services to be in a good state of repair. This is about making hard decisions with taxpayer dollars. I believe in investing in the “must haves” instead of the “nice to haves”. The City needs action now. Postponing the investments we need to make, while “we talk about it” will only lead to further decay of our public infrastructure. Within Ward 3 there has been a lot of discussion surrounding development. We all recognize the need for housing; however consideration to existing residents and minimization of impact of new dwellings must be given. This is compounded by problems surrounding aging infrastructure It is important to ensure that citizens receive due opportunity to voice their concerns during the planning phases of future developments. There is a need for new developments in Ward 3 – it’s a great place to live!

Candidates who did not fill out the Position Primer: