IMFG Paper | 2022

A New Agenda for Local Democracy: Building Just, Inclusive, and Participatory Cities

As COVID-19 spread through Canadian cities beginning in spring 2020, inequities became apparent through higher coronavirus rates within marginalized communities. These inequities exposed municipal decisions that have led to negative outcomes for racialized and vulnerable populations, especially in policing, bylaw enforcement, community safety, housing, and homelessness. In response, cities have been called upon to change their governance models to be more inclusive by including equity-deserving groups in decision-making processes.

In a new paper for the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG), Brittany Andrew-Amofah, Alexandra Flynn, and Patricia Wood set out a path to make municipal governance more democratic, accountable, and inclusive. In a post-pandemic period of city building, municipalities need to incorporate social equity and explicit race-based lenses into their decision-making and reimagine governance practices.

The authors argue that Toronto must continue to strengthen offices focused on equity and Indigenous Affairs, fundamentally reform public engagement, and make neighbourhood governance structures more robust, accountable, and inclusive. To do so will require greater engagement with equity-deserving communities and community bodies, modifications to existing governance structures, and legislative changes.

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