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Mayoral debate hosted by United Way, TMU and the Toronto Star to tackle critical issues facing Toronto

March 13, 2023 (Toronto, ON)  – United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT), Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and The Toronto Star (The Star) will be co-hosting mayoral candidates for a debate on the critical social and economic challenges facing our city. The debate, taking place at TMU’s Ted Rogers School of Management on the evening of May 31 and live streamed, will bring together members of the public from across Toronto, community leaders and students. 

The debate will be a pivotal forum for the mayoral candidates to address the critical issues that impact residents across the city and how we build vibrant and inclusive communities where everyone has an affordable place to live, a good job, access to services they need, and a voice in shaping the city. 
This election is an important opportunity to shape the future of our city and address the challenges we face. Presented as an initiative between UWGT, TMU’s Democratic Engagement Exchange, and The Star, this debate will provide Torontonians a vital opportunity to hear directly from the candidates vying to represent their interests. Toronto residents will be encouraged to discuss issues before the debate and share their concerns during the debate, participate in watch parties in their communities and discuss what they heard — all in support of democracy and in preparation for the vote. 


Civic engagement is critically needed now. We need to drive solutions to poverty and inequity now, as Toronto is growing. United Way Greater Toronto is working hard to make deeply affordable housing, good jobs and strong neighbourhoods a priority for this by-election. This debate will help foster a dialogue on solutions, so whichever civic leader is elected as the city’s next mayor, they know where to start.

Daniele Zanotti, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way Greater Toronto

We are thrilled to be welcoming the candidates, students and the community to our campus. The mayoral debate will provide a space for Torontonians to share their vision for the city and help in determining the next leader of Canada’s largest city. Voting with confidence means being informed on the issues and candidate platforms that impact our day-to-day lives. By engaging the electorate and providing an opportunity for informed public dialogue, this partnership between the university, the United Way and The Toronto Star is helping to support voting accessibility, informed public policy debate and a more vibrant and thriving democracy in our city.

Mohamed Lachemi, President, Toronto Metropolitan University

This is a precarious moment for our city, where strong leadership is more critical than ever. Affordability, safety, transit, homelessness are among the key issues that demand solutions informed by a vision for our city’s future. Our readers depend on us to address the issues they face in their daily lives. During this mayoral campaign, the Star is committed to engaging the entire city in a conversation about the future and pushing the candidates to lay out a roadmap for a stronger, more cohesive, more caring Toronto for all.

Jordan Bitove, Publisher, Toronto Star

United Way Greater Toronto logo
Toronto Metropolitan University logo
Democratic Engagement Exchange at TMU
Toronto Star logo

About Toronto Metropolitan University* 

Toronto Metropolitan University, formerly known as Ryerson University, is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the University is home to more than 46,000 students, including 2,900 Master’s and PhD students, 4,000 faculty and staff, and 225,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit 

*In April 2022, the university renamed and began a new chapter 

About the TMU’s Democratic Engagement Exchange 

Part of the Faculty of Arts, The Exchange’s mission is to build a vibrant and inclusive democracy, where everyone living in Canada can contribute to creating healthy communities and solving our most pressing challenges. The Exchange does this by championing policies and programs that foster democratic engagement, providing strategic advice to organizations, government agencies, & funders interested in fostering democratic engagement, and partnering with community organizations & government agencies to provide training and resources to engage communities. 

About the United Way of Greater Toronto 

As the largest non-government funder of community services in the GTA, United Way Greater Toronto reinforces a crucial community safety net to support people living in poverty. United Way’s network of agencies and initiatives in neighbourhoods across Peel, Toronto and York Region works to ensure that everyone has access to the programs and services they need to thrive. Mobilizing community support, United Way’s work is rooted in ground-breaking research, strategic leadership, local advocacy and cross-sectoral partnerships committed to building a more equitable region and lasting solutions to the GTA’s greatest challenges.  

About the Toronto Star 

The Toronto Star is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in Canada, with more than 5.0 million readers every week in print and online ( Founded in 1892, the Toronto Star is the winner of more than 140 National Newspaper Awards, the most prestigious newspaper prize in Canada. It is known for its investigative reporting, insightful opinion writing and comprehensive coverage of local, national and international news. It has also been making a difference in the lives of children for more than 100 years through the Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund and the Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund. 

Media Contact:

Lindsay Kwan
Manager, Communications – United Way Greater Toronto

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