How engaged are you in local politics and initiatives? With both the provincial and municipal elections taking place this year, residents had a lot of opportunity for civic participation. To encourage engagement and make it more accessible to all, the Flemingdon-Thorncliffe Inter-Agency Network (FTIAN) collaborated with local organizations and resident leaders to facilitate all-candidate meetings
On May 14th and 19th, 2022 the team hosted two Democracy Forums for the provincial election. Candidates and residents from Don Valley East and West met at the Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre and the Thorncliffe Park Community Hub (respectively) to meet each other, answer questions, and participate in their civic duties.
FTIAN and resident leaders drafted questions based on what was emailed in by the community and by surveying local grassroot/resident groups and organizations to identify the most pressing local issues.
These questions were split into five categories that were within the control of MPP representatives: Housing, cost of living, health care, education, and the Ontario Line MSF (maintenance & storage facility).
Both events were a huge success! Four candidates and 55 residents attended the Don Valley East event at the Dennis Timbrell Resource Centre.
The municipal election had a similar planning process. To ensure the right issues were brought up to the city councillor candidates, a similar team reviewed various issue-based surveys and set up democracy engagement booths at events such as the Fall Festival and at Sunny Plaza. Using questions reviewed by FTIAN members and resident leaders, FTIAN member Bhavin Bilimoria from the Don Valley Community Legal Services moderated both municipal candidate meetings.
The questions touched on four municipal issue areas: housing/affordability, transit/infrastructure, safety/security improvements, and parks, facilities, and recreation. Each meeting started with a land acknowledgement and opening remarks from the moderator and each candidate, followed by the questions predetermined by the community in those 4 key areas. The event closed with questions from the floor and a virtual chat.
On October 12th, nine candidates and about 100 in-person and virtual residents attended the Don Valley East event at the Ontario Science Centre. The October 14th Don Valley West meeting had some technical challenges, as the team had to pivot to virtual last minute due to requests and cancellations from the candidates.
Despite this, four candidates and 45 virtual participants attended, with about 15 participants attending the in-person viewing.