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Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity

Traffic on the Golden Mile

United Way Greater Toronto’s Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity initiative 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 a 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.

Founding Members of the ILEO Initiative

  • Ayman Antoun
    President, IBM Canada

  • Anne Babcock
    President and Chief Executive Officer, WoodGreen Community Services

  • John M. Beck
    Founder and non-Executive Chairman, Aecon Group Inc.

  • Denise Campbell
    Executive Director, Social Development, Finance & Administration, City of Toronto 

  • Giuliana Carbone
    Deputy City Manager, Community & Social Services, City of Toronto

  • Mitchell Cohen
    President, The Daniels Corporation

  • Dean Connor
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Sun Life Financial

  • Ehren Cory
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Ontario

  • Dan Doctoroff
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sidewalk Labs

  • Cynthia Du Mont
    Executive Director, West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre

  • Michael Friisdahl
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment 

  • Meric Gertler
    President, University of Toronto

  • Jonathan Gitlin
    President and Chief Operating Officer, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust 

  • Claude Guay
    President and General Manager, IBM Canada 

  • Cynthia Hansen
    Executive Vice President  and President, Gas Distribution & Storage, Enbridge

  • John Honderich
    Chair of the Board, Torstar Corporation

  • Sandy Houston
    President and Chief Executive Officer , Metcalf Foundation

  • Nicolas Marcoux
    Chief Executive Officer, PwC Canada

  • Michael McCain
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Maple Leaf Foods

  • Marcia Moffat
    Managing Director and Country  Head of Canada, BlackRock

  • Colette Murphy
    Chief Executive Officer , 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 Chairman, RP Investment Advisors

  • Ginelle Skerritt
    Executive Director, Warden Woods Community Centre

  • Kenneth Tanenbaum
    Vice-Chairman, Kilmer Van Nostrand Co. Ltd.

  • Darryl White
    Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group (Co-Chair)

  • Mike Williams
    General Manager, Economic Development & Culture, City of Toronto

  • Beth Wilson
    Canada Chief Executive Officer, Dentons

  • Daniele Zanotti
    President & Chief Executive Officer, United Way Greater Toronto (Co-Chair)