Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIN 211.ca - opens in a new window

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIN
United Way ILEO / Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity

The Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity (ILEO) Initiative brings together the private, public, and community sectors to find innovative ways to reduce gaps in economic prosperity at the neighbourhood level. ILEO is convened by United Way Greater Toronto and BMO

Traffic on the Golden Mile


What is ILEO?

In 2018, United Way Greater Toronto and BMO Financial Group launched a made-in-the-GTA initiative to respond to an urgent challenge: in the face of growing neighbourhood inequality, we wanted to ensure that every GTA community had the chance to benefit from our region’s prosperity. The Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity (ILEO) initiative builds on United Way’s resident-ledwork to build strong neighbourhoods that BMO has invested in since 2005.

ILEO galvanizes the strengths and levers of all sectors and industries to drive economic opportunity at the neighbourhood level. It is a deliberate place-based approach to catalyze specific opportunities and enable the community, corporate and public sectors to work together towards our common goal. Scarborough’s Greater Golden Mile is the first neighbourhood to be part of the initiative.

Leaders from across sectors have come together to co-create pilot projects that we continue to develop with local residents. These pilots are tailor-made to respond to the strengths, needs and desires of residents in the Greater Golden Mile. What has emerged from this collaboration is a multi-sector approach focusing on reducing gaps in economic prosperity in the Toronto region and creating lasting inclusive economic vitality at the neighbourhood level.

As the pilot projects continue to rollout, ILEO has already accomplished something significant: a model for creative new ways of working across sectors and bringing all levers of influence to collectively tackle a shared challenge. The work continues.

A Focus on the Greater Golden Mile

The Greater Golden Mile in Scarborough, an inner suburb of Toronto, centres around a largely commercial strip surrounded by residential areas. It was formerly a hub of large-scale manufacturing, but the economic power of the neighbourhood declined through the latter half of the 20th century after manufacturers moved to more affordable areas. Today, the strip is dominated by big box stores.

Major transit development is underway, connecting the Greater Golden Mile to the downtown and other parts of the GTA as never before. This has brought significant development attention, including for commercial and residential revitalization that will transform the neighbourhood.

The Greater Golden Mile is home to diverse communities, with significant immigrant and racialized populations. Despite a higher than average education rate, income and employment rates in the neighbourhood are below average compared to the rest of the city – a key indication that opportunity is not reaching residents.

We chose the Greater Golden Mile as the first neighbourhood to test the ILEO approach because of three characteristics:

  1. Opportunity to leverage public and private investments that would be a part of its upcoming revitalization
  2. Timing of investments coinciding with the timeline of the initiative
  3. Need in the community. Critically, Greater Golden Mile residents had also identified economic opportunity as a key priority and were keen to catalyze ILEO in their neighbourhood.

Postal Codes:

  • Victoria Village (Includes Flemingdon Park) M3A, M1R, M3C
  • Golden Mile M1L, M1K
  • Ionview (Includes Kennedy Park) M1K

The ILEO Pilots

There are currently five ILEO pilot projects being launched. Each is convened by UWGT and led by a multi-sector team from ILEO organizations.

  • A neighbourhood-based and employer-focussed jobs program that targets hard-to-hire-for jobs and works with companies and community agencies to design training and support that prepares local talent to meet their needs.

    Learn more

  • Community-owned construction company, led by Aecon, that will meet supply chain needs for construction/maintenance contracts in part resulting from the Eglinton Crosstown LRT expansion.  

    Learn more

  • A coordinated set of training and supports for new and emerging retail entrepreneurs.

    Learn more

  • Inclusive Procurement

    A purchasing initiative focussed on supporting small and medium sized businesses located in Scarborough’s Greater Golden Mile.

  • Destination Golden Mile

    A coordinated approach to influencing aspects of the development in Scarborough’s Greater Golden Mile.

Members of the ILEO Leadership Table

  • Tom Azouz
    General Manager
    Toronto Employment & Social Services
    City of Toronto

  • Anne Babcock
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    WoodGreen Community Services

  • John M. Beck
    Founder and Non-Executive Chairman
    Aecon Group Inc.
  • Ameen Binwalee
    Chief Executive Officer
    Out of the Box Social Enterprise
  • Cheryl Blackman
    Acting General Manager
    Economic Development & Culture
    City of Toronto
  • Romy Bowers
    President & CEO
    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Denise Campbell
    Executive Director, Social Development
    Finance & Administration
    City of Toronto
  • Giuliana Carbone
    Deputy City Manager
    Community & Social Services
    City of Toronto
  • Mitchell Cohen
    The Daniels Corporation
  • Dean Connor
    President & Chief Executive Officer
    Sun Life Financial
  • Cynthia Du Mont
    Executive Director
    West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre
  • Michael Friisdahl
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
  • Meric Gertler
    University of Toronto
  • Jonathan Gitlin
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    RioCan REIT
  • Claude Guay
    President and General Manager
    IBM Canada
  • Cynthia Hansen
    Executive Vice President and President
    Gas Distribution and Storage
  • Sandy Houston
    Metcalf Foundation
  • Ahmed Hussein
    Chief Executive Officer
    TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization
  • Stephen Liptrap
    President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Heather McGregor
    Chief Executive Officer
    YWCA Toronto
  • Nicolas Marcoux
    Chief Executive Officer
    PwC Canada
  • Marcia Moffat
    Head of Canada
  • Hailee Morrison
    Executive Director
    Warden Woods Community Centre
  • Colette Murphy
    Executive Director
    Atkinson Foundation
  • Andrew Pickersgill
    Managing Partner
    McKinsey & Company Canada
  • Allison Pond
    Chief Executive Officer
    ACCES Employment
  • Marcie Ponte
    Executive Director
    Working Women Community Centre
  • Rosemarie Powell
    Executive Director
    Toronto Community Benefits Network
  • Andrew Pringle
    Principal and Chairperson
  • Steve Shallhorn
    Executive Director
    Labour Education Centre
  • Kenneth Tanenbaum
    Founder and Chairman of Kilmer Developments
  • Darryl White
    Chief Executive Officer
    BMO Financial Group (Co-Chair)
  • Beth Wilson
    Canada Chief Executive Officer
  • Daniele Zanotti
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    United Way Greater Toronto (Co-Chair)