Saeed Selvam: Investing in our our people

I imagine a city that thrives by investing in its people.

From underrepresented groups like newcomers and youth, we have a wealth of untapped potential that’s just waiting to be discovered. By investing in neighbourhoods that are underfunded, investing in the creation of opportunities that are not only accessible to vulnerable groups but appealing as well, we can create a new and talented workforce that is able to thrive through diversity and thus create more space for innovative solutions to the common challenges we face.

Issues like transit, newcomer integration, the gap between rich and poor and so on are issues that are not insurmountable, many a time, we fail to consult the individuals who are being affected by problems the most. I imagine a city that is united in its approach to challenges and removes the divide between downtown and the suburbs. I imagine a city that focuses on the challenges that are faced and develops solutions that eventually turn our less-fortunate into productive and content citizens. Our policies need to reflect our diversity and we need to not only invest more resources but also time, in getting to know and care for our neighbour.

Our city is already an example to the world of how the world can unite within a city, let’s make it better together.

2 thoughts on “Saeed Selvam: Investing in our our people

  1. Totally agree, AK. While infrastructure is important, particularly in neighbourhoods that have been underserved, we also know that for change to be long-term and effecitve it has to start with the people most affected. For our work (United Way) in neighbourhoods, the Resident Action Grants and Action for Neighbourhood Change initiatives are there to support residents in playing meaningful roles in making positive change in the places where they live. It helps them gain the skills and knowledge to be able to identify local priorities and deliver on plans to address them. If anyone’s interested in knowing more, you can read more about it in a recent report we released about our work in neighbourhoods. You can see it here…

  2. Investment should go beyond infrastructure and directly to people. UWT does this through the Resident Action Grants that was funded by Enbridge Gas last year – a partnership of grassroots groups, community organisations, and the private sector. I’m thinking imaginative, breaking the rules type of social investment – and those models are even home-grown right here in Canada (see Dauphin, Manitoba) where poverty was 100% eradicated as a social experiment for 4 whole years. The resources called for and the challenges to do this in a mega city like Toronto are of course much greater and what this points to is the need for even more imagination to deliver feasible solutions. What I see in neighbourhoods that get noticed for the lack of services or investment in them is often an excess of consultation – consultation fatigue even.. but no dollars to walk the talk when the meaningful insights and powerful ideas that do emerge from the process get documented.

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