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Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity (ILEO)

The Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity Initiative (ILEO) 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.

Logo for the Bank of Montreal

Want to know more about ILEO Opportunities?

If you’re a resident of the Greater Golden Mile, fill out our online form and we’ll connect with you about training, resources, and job opportunities.

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 Initiative (ILEO) builds on United Way’s resident-led work to continue strengthening 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. Toronto’s Greater Golden Mile is the first neighbourhood to be part of the initiative.

Leaders from across sectors have come together to co-create, launch, and refine ILEO pilot projects that have now benefited over 100 local residents and small business owners of the Greater Golden Mile. Focusing on different aspects of inclusive economic opportunity,  these ILEO 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 and mobilizing entities focused on reducing gaps in economic prosperity in the Toronto region and creating lasting inclusive economic vitality at the neighbourhood level.

As ILEO pilot projects continue to rollout and evolve, 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.

The ILEO Pilots

There are currently five active ILEO pilot projects in the Greater Golden Mile. Each is convened by UWGT and led by a multi-sector team from ILEO partners.

Good Jobs

Two people looking at a computer.

A neighbourhood-based and employer-focused program focused on creating opportunities for local job seekers to access in-demand quality, stable and well-paying jobs.

Storefront Starter Golden Mile

A comprehensive program supporting new and aspiring entrepreneurs to build their businesses and contribute to a vibrant local retail environment as the Greater Golden Mile neighbourhood undergoes commercial and residential revitalization.

A-GM Joint Venture

Aecon-Golden Mile Joint Venture logo

A community-owned construction company, led by Aecon, that will meet supply chain needs for construction/maintenance contractsresulting from private and public investments in the Greater Golden Mile and beyond.

Inclusive Procurement

A purchasing initiative focused on connecting small and medium sized businesses located in the Greater Golden Mile to large corporate partners with procurement needs.

Destination Golden Mile

Apaetment builsings in the Golden Mile area.

A coordinated multi-sector approach to influencing aspects of the development in the Greater Golden Mile for greater affordability for residents.

A Focus on the Greater Golden Mile

The Greater Golden Mile, an inner suburb in East Toronto, centres around a largely commercial corridor on Eglinton Avenue East surrounded by five neighbourhood improvement areas.  Formerly serving as an important  hub of large-scale manufacturing, the economic power of the area began to decline in the 1970s after manufacturers moved to more affordable areas and average incomes fell relative to the rest of the city. Today, the commercial corridor is dominated by big chain stores and large surface parking lots.

Three major transit projects are now in development, connecting the Greater Golden Mile to the downtown and other parts of the GTA as never before. This has brought significant attention from developers who have proposed commercial and residential revitalization projects that will transform the neighbourhood and add over 35,000 residential units over the few decades.

The Greater Golden Mile is home to diverse communities with over 60% of residents born outside of Canada and over 75% identifying as a visible minority. Income rates in the neighbourhood continue to fall below the city of Toronto average – 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


  • Golden Mile
  • Ionview
  • Victoria Village
  • Eglinton East
  • Kennedy Park
  • Flemingdon Park

Postal Codes (first three characters)

  • M4A
  • M3C
  • M1L
  • M1K
  • M1J

ILEO Leadership Table Members:

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

John M. Beck
Founder and Non-Executive Chairman
Aecon Group Inc.

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

Mitchell Cohen
President & Chief Executive Officer
The Daniels Corporation

Michael Cooper
President and Chief Responsible Officer

Nick Eaves
Chief Venues & Operations Officer
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

Jonathan Gitlin
President and Chief Executive Officer

Tim Haney
Canada Chief Executive Officer

Joshua Hood
Executive Director
West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre

Nicolas Marcoux
Chief Executive Officer
PwC Canada

Colette Murphy
Chief Executive Officer
Atkinson Foundation

Deb Pimentel
General Manager – Technology
IBM Canada

Rosemarie Powell
Executive Director
Toronto Community Benefits Network

Paul Raftis 
Deputy City Manager
Community & Social Services,
City of Toronto

Jamison Steeve
President and CEO
Metcalf Foundation

Kenneth Tanenbaum
Kilmer Developments

Michel Tremblay
Acting President & CEO

Daniele Zanotti
President and Chief Executive Officer
United Way Greater Toronto (Co-Chair)

Anne Babcock
President and Chief Executive Officer
WoodGreen Community Services

Ameen Binwalee
Chief Executive Officer
Out of the Box Social Enterprise

Rowena Chan
President, Sun Life Financial Distributor Canada Inc. & Senior Vice-President,
Retail Advice & Solutions
Sun Life

Dean Connor
Former President & Chief Executive Officer
Sun Life

Rael Diamond
President & Chief Executive Officer
Choice Properties

Meric Gertler
University of Toronto

Julia Gonsalves
Executive Director
Warden Woods Community Centre

Vanda Henriques
Executive Director
Working Women Community Centre

Ahmed Hussein
Chief Executive Officer
TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization

Heather McGregor
Chief Executive Officer
YWCA Toronto

Andrew Pickersgill
Managing Partner
McKinsey & Company Canada

Allison Pond
Chief Executive Officer
ACCES Employment

Andrew Pringle
Principal and Chairperson

Fayzal Samji
Executive Director – Working Green
Working Women Community Centre

Craig Stephenson
President and CEO
Centennial College

Patrick Tobin
General Manager
Economic Development & Culture
City of Toronto

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

Access the ILEO Resource Hub

If you are a ILEO partner organization, you can access all ILEO resources here.

Visit the ILEO resource hub