Categorized | Feature, Interviews

Lack of diversity in city procurement process, most qualified cab drivers topics of Toronto mayoral debate hosted by South Asian originations

Posted on 01 October 2014 by admin

South Asian professional organizations came together under the banner of Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP) to host Toronto mayoral debate. The debate was held atRyersonUniversityand was attended by mayoral candidates Olivia Chow and John Tory. The organizers of the debate had reached out to Doug Ford campaign but did not get a response from his team.

In addition to NetIP, Sri Lankans Without Borders (SLWB) and South Asian Professional Networking Association (SAPNA) Toronto were also the hosts of this debate. The debate was supported by Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, National Council of Indo Canadians (NCIC) and Rajhstan Association of North America (RANA). Members of Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) were also present at the debate. The debate was moderated by Angie Seth.

The debate raised some key issues of the South Asian community particularly South Asian professionals whether they were born and raised in Canada or are new immigrants to Canada.

In spite of over 1.5 million South Asian population in Canada, visible minorities like South Asian community is not well-represented in all aspects of the society.

Opening statements

While the Canadian society is diverse, this diversity is not fully plugged into the mainstream businesses and professions, said Mr. John Tory in his opening statement.

In her opening statement, Ms. Olivia Chow stated that Torontonians are paying more but getting less.

Most qualified taxi drivers

On the issue of Toronto having most qualified cab drivers, Ms. Chow said that “I know what it means to be left behind” and to lose confidence. She said if elected Mayor, she will

  • carry on providing grants to immigrant organization like Matree Foundation,
  • start a program where City ofTorontowill mentor foreign trained professionals so that they can get Canadian experience.
  • provide new immigrants language skills

Mr. Tory suggested that if elected Mayor, he will

  • engage more elements of professions and businesses to support and hire foreign trained professionals
  • advocate for bridging programs in various professions like medicine where there are limited jobs for doctors but we need more doctors.
  • advocate with various professions that have become self-protected in nature.

How to be more inclusive?

While more than half of the population of City of Toronto is foreign born, this diversity is not reflected in city agencies, boards or commissions, police service, judicial boards and so on.

Mr. Tory suggested:

  • using technology to open up the procurement process of the City so that diverse businesses have a chance to compete
  • getting with the times so that minority and diverse businesses are in the shortlist where they will be competing just like anybody else but will have an opportunity to expand their businesses

Ms. Chow stated:

  • City ofTorontohas a massive purchasing power through social procurement.
  • sell the City a lot better to our diverse communities
  • speak with one voice so that booming economies likeIndiaandChinainvest inTorontothrough these diverse communities.

Road Tolls

Mr. Tory ruled out imposing any tolls on roads or highways. He said that it will encourage drivers to drive on side roads which will be a public safety hazard and bad for our neighbourhoods.

Ms. Chow is also against any road tolls. However she wants the province to give back 5 cents of the Gas Tax money to the City so that they City can use it to maintain infrastructure and we don’t have chunks of Gardiner falling off on cars below.


On building affordable housing, Ms. Chow stated that

  • the City needs to set a target on building certain number of affordable housing units
  • defer development cost to developers in order to build 20 per cent affordable housing units
  • fast track the approval process of new developments.

Mr. Tory is of the view that affordable housing be built on the lands of Toronto Parking Authority and Toronto Community Housing.

Leave a Reply

Advertise Here
Advertise Here