Building Back Stronger: A Post-COVID Roadmap for a Better Toronto
Author: Blake C. Goldring
December 10, 2020
Toronto is my home and where AGF’s head office has been located for our entire 63 years in business. It’s where many of our employees, clients and partners live and work. It’s Canada’s business capital and a global financial hub, contributing 20% to Canada’s GDP annually*, but it’s also a major centre of arts and culture. Making Toronto more livable, harmonious and prosperous will have a far-reaching impact on Canada’s economic and cultural recovery.
At AGF, we have a rich history of giving back and partnering with organizations that support and align with our pillars of social responsibility. And in my family, there has always been an ardent belief that society functions better when we take care of one another. From generation to generation, we’ve always been passionate about giving back and working to make our society – and our country – a better place.
That’s why I was honoured to be asked by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson to co-chair the City of Toronto’s Economic and Culture Recovery Advisory Group. The Advisory Group was convened in June and is comprised of 20 community leaders from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. We were tasked with providing objective, informed and constructively critical advice on priorities for the city’s post-pandemic recovery.
We were asked to develop a list of actionable recommendations to increase support for businesses and culture, and address some of the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on economic development and culture. Advisory Group members brought a broad base of knowledge, expertise and experience to the table as we discussed current challenges and the city’s role in recovery.
After months of passionate and constructive dialogue, the Advisory Group put forth 18 recommendations grouped into four main areas: economic recovery, anti-racism and inclusion, workforce and talent, and arts and culture. Each of these areas is critical to our ongoing rebuild and recovery efforts and will require, when the time is right, the combined efforts of all orders of government, the business community, the non-profit sector, our universities and colleges as well as individual Torontonians.
Some of our key recommendations include:
- Promoting greater access to quality childcare – a cornerstone of gender-inclusive economic recovery – while also providing funding and resources for Toronto-based agencies to deliver programs, and helping communities plan and develop services tailored to their unique needs.
- Pursuing a program of specific community investments to promote the encouragement, scaling and sustainability of business and cultural enterprises led by Black, Indigenous and equity-deserving groups.
- Outlining a series of first steps for the city to develop a coordinated approach to workforce and talent development, in collaboration with educational institutions, other governments and community partners. With sustained action over the long term, these actions will also address underrepresentation of marginalized groups and youth in the economy and labour force.
- Further accelerating and renewing creative activity in Toronto, with emphasis on creating equitable opportunities for cultural participation and artistic work.
Like many cities across the world, Toronto has felt the impact of COVID-19 in countless ways. But we are a strong, diverse and resilient city. We have deep and powerful community, cultural and economic foundations. And it is upon these foundations that we will build back – and build back stronger.
The road ahead will not be easy. But I am confident that together we will build a more prosperous, resilient and successful Toronto with opportunity for all.
Blake C. Goldring is Executive Chairman of AGF Management Limited.
About AGF Management Limited
Founded in 1957, AGF Management Limited (AGF) is an independent and globally diverse asset management firm. AGF brings a disciplined approach to delivering excellence in investment management through its fundamental, quantitative, alternative and high-net-worth businesses focused on providing an exceptional client experience. AGF’s suite of investment solutions extends globally to a wide range of clients, from financial advisors and individual investors to institutional investors including pension plans, corporate plans, sovereign wealth funds and endowments and foundations.
For further information, please visit AGF.com.
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