Results Focused Leadership for Economic Growth and Jobs


As mayor, Karen will hold the line on the cost of city government and work with Toronto’s entrepreneurs and innovators to stimulate new investment and job growth. This will create new opportunities for Torontonians across the city.

“Toronto needs an economic vision that is more than sloganeering. I have a six-point plan to deliver real value to taxpayers. My vision is motivated by a desire to harness Toronto’s creative capacity, our dynamic leadership, our innovative spirit, and our entrepreneurial prowess, to respect the taxpayer, and bring economic opportunity to all areas of our City.”

-Karen Stintz

Results Focused Leadership on the Economy

 

POINT 1: DELIVER REAL RESPECT FOR TAXPAYERS

The taxpayers of Toronto deserve strong, results-driven economic leadership. As mayor, Karen will bring that leadership by reducing the cost of government, transforming the delivery of city services, and taking on entrenched interests that believe they do not have to justify their spending.

Karen believes that City Hall cannot be all things to all people, but should set clear priorities, make tough choices, and stretch every tax dollar. As mayor, she will specifically:

1. Hold residential property tax increases within the rate of inflation (~2% per year).
2. Work with the Police Services Board to rethink the way Toronto does policing, and implement the recommendations of the TPS’ Organizational Structural Review (http://www.tpsb.ca/CIOR%20TPS%20Organizational%20Structure%20Review.pdf).
3. Require all City departments and agencies to find efficiencies of 8 to 10% over four years.
4. Achieve 10% savings from the creation of Transportation for Toronto and Start Up Toronto (proposed new economic development corporation).
5. Get a handle on costly, and poorly delivered capital projects by creating a P3 policy framework and program, and by outsourcing the procurement and management of major capital projects to Infrastructure Ontario (www.infrastructureontario.com).

POINT 2: MAKE TORONTO THE “START-UP” CAPITAL OF CANADA

Karen believes that entrepreneurs create jobs, not City Hall bureaucrats. There are too many departments and agencies “responsible” for economic development and there is too much of a focus on landing the “big international fish” instead of supporting local job creators. As mayor, Karen will make Toronto Canada’s start up capital by:

1. Digitizing all business interactions for city permits and other regulatory requirements and providing service time guarantees for routine permits and applications.
2. Merging Invest Toronto, Build Toronto, Enterprise Toronto, and the Economic Development Division into one focused centre for economic development excellence called Start Up Toronto Corporation. The Start Up Toronto board will be composed of representatives from colleges, universities, mature start up businesses, social entrepreneurs, the province, federal government and the City. Start Up Toronto will focus on supporting local entrepreneurs and start-ups by helping these businesses navigate City regulations and by making surplus City buildings available as incubator space.
3. Delivering the Hybrid Gardiner redevelopment to allow the private sector to create Toronto’s Canary Wharf and appointing a City SWAT team to help streamline and champion approvals for the project.


POINT 3: MENTOR AN ENTREPRENEURIAL CLASS IN NEIGHBOURHOOD IMPROVEMENT AREAS

Since 2005, more than $225 million has been invested in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs), yet the number of communities in the program has steadily increased from 13 to 31 today. Research has shown that NIA’s tend to have higher rates of low income families, unemployment and social assistance compared to the rest of Toronto. Anecdotally, many NIAs suffer from higher than average commercial vacancy rates and the businesses that are located there tend to be limited in scale and scope, forcing locals to go elsewhere to work and shop. This creates a vicious cycle of economic decline.

Karen believes that the purpose of the NIA program is not to create permanent and expanding dependencies, but to help to these neighbourhoods create their own entrepreneurial class and local jobs. As mayor, Karen will move current NIAs out of the program by:

1. Working with universities, colleges, and school boards to create and provide access to mentors through entrepreneurship, science, and skilled trades camps and after-school programs in every Neighbourhood Improvement Area (NIA).
2. Designating and supporting NIAs as “Pop-Up Entrepreneur” zones focused on jobs for local adults and youth.
3. Abolishing the Vacant Commercial and Industrial Tax Relief Program, which simply puts money back in the pockets of landlords, and reinvesting repatriated property tax revenues into the “Pop-Up Entrepreneur” program and youth entrepreneur, science, and skilled trades camps.
4. Setting a goal of moving three-quarters of designated NIAs out of the program within seven years.

POINT 4: LEVERAGE DIVERSITY AS OUR ECONOMIC STRENGTH

The motto of the City of Toronto is ‘Diversity is Our Strength’. While there is a wide range of immigration settlement and integration services, they remain poorly coordinated among the many service providers and levels of government. This comes at a significant personal and economic cost. Toronto attracts many well qualified immigrants, but too many of them get bogged down in bureaucracy: they can’t get their qualifications recognized or their business licenses approved. The Toronto Region Board of Trade estimates that this costs our economy $2-billion every year.

Karen believes that we need more than feel good proclamations about Toronto’s diversity; we should use Toronto’s diversity to gain an economic advantage over other global cities. As mayor, Karen will unlock the economic power of Toronto’s diversity by:

1. Creating the Mayor’s Office of the Toronto Ambassador to provide leadership to:

a) Accelerate policy initiatives and facilitate the partnerships and the intra- and intergovernmental relations needed to recognize foreign credentials;
b) Be a champion for new Canadians looking to navigate City approvals processes to set up a new business;
c) Build Toronto’s connections to leading world cities;
d) Market Toronto’s diversity to local and North American firms looking to expand globally; and
e) Better coordinate settlement and other services that allow newcomers to contribute to Toronto’s growth.


POINT 5: SOLVING DEVELOPMENT DILEMMAS, TORONTO-STYLE

Development pressures are weighing heavily on neighbourhoods. Toronto’s land use planning process has been undermined and is not serving residents as it should. Planning staff are undercut by the politicians, the community is involved too late in the process, and politicians are caught up in individual applications instead of focusing on crafting overall land use policy.

Karen believes that development is not about winners and losers, but about finding shared interests that create win-win developments. As mayor, Karen will work to reduce the number of expensive, time consuming and divisive appeals to the OMB by appointing an office of the “Toronto Development Facilitator” to help the City, developers and community groups to resolve issues related to growth management, land use, infrastructure and environmental protection.

POINT 6: WINNING THE WAR ON CONGESTION

Toronto is one of the most congested cities in the world and the amount of time Torontonians spend in traffic only continues to increase. As Toronto’s own Congestion Management Plan acknowledges, congestion adds about 33 minutes to every hour commuters spend in traffic. And numerous studies have shown that congestion and gridlock are costing Toronto billions in lost productivity, investment and jobs.

As mayor, Karen will reverse the trend of lost productivity and jobs caused by gridlock by:

1. Appointing a Transportation Czar to lead Transportation for Toronto – a single, accountable Transportation Czar that will replace the four different divisions and agencies currently responsible for Toronto’s transportation system.
2. Implementing a Smart Commute Plan, to be led by Toronto’s new Transportation Czar, that will invest in local ingenuity and leverage intelligent transportation technologies to make it easier for Torontonians to move from the core to the corners of the City. The Smart Commute Plan will include:

a) Modern Intelligent Traffic Light Systems: Karen will invest $38.5 million over five years to implement the U of T’s MARLIN traffic light system on half of Toronto’s traffic lights with a goal to having all traffic lights on this system by 2024.
b) A Transportation Solutions Lab: Karen will make investing in forward looking transportation solutions that leverage technology a core strategic priority of the Transportation Czar and direct the agency to set aside $2.5M over five years to co-invest in “little things with big impact” developed by Toronto based researchers and entrepreneurs.
c) World Leading Transportation Solutions Research: Karen will strengthen the City’s relationships with post-secondary institutions and researchers by providing $1.5 million to be matched by the private sector to create research chairs in Integrated Urban Transportation Planning and Governance, Intelligent Transportation Systems, and Transit Customer Service and Communications.

3. Delivering Dedicated Transportation Funding through the creation of the Toronto Transportation Trust that will be under the authority of the Transportation Czar (Transportation for Toronto) to invest more than $1.6 billion in the Toronto Relief Line and other critical transportation investment priorities.