City seeks bold ideas on jobs, liv­able in­come

Fo­rum Mon­day to ‘set the stage’ for anti-poverty strat­egy

StarMetro Toronto - - Front Page -

Ann-marie Moul­ton is the third of four im­mi­grant chil­dren from Ja­maica, raised by a sin­gle mother in Scar­bor­ough who worked in a fac­tory to put food on the ta­ble.

“Where I come from, we were al­ways told a good ed­u­ca­tion is the key to suc­cess. Work hard and you can achieve your dreams,” says Moul­ton, now in her late 30s.

“But in re­al­ity, you can go to school and still work hard and still find your­self in a sit­u­a­tion that is not what you dreamed,” she says. “For too many peo­ple in this city it’s a strug­gle ev­ery day to live a good qual­ity of life. I have seen that first-hand. And I want to change that for oth­ers.”

Moul­ton, a mem­ber of Toronto’s Lived Ex­pe­ri­ence Ad­vi­sory Group, will be among the pan­el­lists at a city hall fo­rum Mon­day evening to dis­cuss how the city can sup­port qual­ity jobs and liv­able in­comes.

It is part of a se­ries of panel dis­cus­sions the city’s anti-poverty ad­vo­cate, Coun. Joe Mi­hevc, hopes will gen­er­ate bold ideas “to set the stage” for the next phase of Toronto’s 20-year poverty re­duc­tion strat­egy, ap­proved by city coun­cil in 2015.

As part of the strat­egy, city coun­cil must set pri­or­i­ties for each four-year term. With mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions in Oc­to­ber, Mi­hevc says the dis­cus­sions will arm vot­ers with ques­tions for can­di­dates about the city’s role in fight­ing poverty.

“The first line of de­fence in the fight against poverty is a ful­fill­ing job with an ad­e­quate in­come. Every­thing else is deal­ing down-river with the ef­fects of poverty,” Mi­hevc says. “So this is why we’re start­ing with jobs.”

Fu­ture ses­sions in the com­ing weeks will deal with the anti-poverty plan’s other ac­tion ar­eas in­clud­ing food ac­cess, ser­vice ac­cess and co-or­di­na­tion, trans­porta­tion eq­uity and hous­ing sta­bil­ity.

Moul­ton, who be­came a sin­gle par­ent dur­ing col­lege, com­pleted her social work stud­ies and found a job in a youth home­less shel­ter where she worked for 15 years and “found my pas­sion.”

“I never knew such places ex­isted or that teenagers could be home­less. I knew then that I wanted to ded­i­cate my life to help­ing them,” she says.

For too many peo­ple in this city it’s a strug­gle ev­ery day.

Ann-marie Moul­ton

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