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Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity

Traffic on the Golden Mile

The Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity (ILEO) initiative, powered by United Way Greater Toronto, brings together the private, public and community sectors to find innovative ways to reduce gaps in economic prosperity in the Greater Toronto Region.

What does Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity mean?

ILEO is about leveraging investment across industries and sectors to create more opportunities for more residents to prosper and contribute to their neighbourhood’s revitalization.

  • Inclusive – More people sharing in the prosperity of the region
  • Local – Neighbourhood based and focused
  • Economic – Improves financial position and capability of residents
  • Opportunity – Not just jobs, but on ramps to financial security and self-sufficiency

The issue

In the GTA, residents’ chances of success are increasingly dependent on where they live. In a city that prides itself on the diversity of its neighbourhoods, middle-income neighbourhoods are vanishing, opportunity is becoming concentrated in high-income neighbourhoods and low-income neighbourhoods are being left behind. While the GTA has become a top area to live and work in, not everyone shares in the city’s growing prosperity.

  • In Peel, Toronto and York, more than 15% of the population lives on a low income, while 44% of workers are in some degree of precarious employment.
  • In Toronto, 49% of neighbourhoods were low income in 2015 – up from 26% in 1970.

Residents cite lack of economic opportunity as one of the most pressing issues in their communities.

United Way’s response

United Way Greater Toronto has invested in, and provided direct assistance to, low-income communities through our Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (BSNS). ILEO builds on this work and responds to residents across the GTA calling for a different approach to spurring economic opportunity. Driven by a multi-sector Leadership Table, this initiative brings together community, public and corporate sectors to address priorities identified by residents and create lasting inclusive economic vitality at the neighbourhood level.

The first round of projects to generate economic opportunity are launching in the Greater Golden Mile and include:

  • Led by RioCan and developed in partnership with PwC Canada. The SBC will accelerate emerging local businesses through the provision of time-limited, low-rent or rent-free spaces.

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

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

Why Greater Golden Mile?

When it comes to complex, multi-sector city building, focus counts. We identified a defined geographical area to focus our planning, piloting and evaluation of our ILEO work. We know these targeted efforts are vital to uplifting communities, including the Greater Golden Mile, that have not yet benefited from significant cross-sector investments.