Toronto: The City goes Big with the CivicAction Summit

March 3rd, 2011

On February 10th and 11th, Toronto hosted the CivicAction Greater Toronto Summit 2011, engaging over 700 civic leaders from Toronto, Mississsauga, Markham and Hamilton.

CivicAction describes itself as coalition of thousands of civic leaders “committed to acting collectively to tackle tough issues and big opportunities facing the Toronto region.” Once known as the Toronto City Summit Alliance, its aim is work across sectors and assess priority issues that face the region.

Although the main themes of the conference included included economic cooperation; affordable housing; labour markets and labour force readiness; and the value of diversity in corporate leadership, the first day buzz centred around Canada’s new superstar mayor Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi. His keynote speech on Canada’s “diversity advantage” helped make the summit a  a trending topic on Twitter under the subject heading (also known as a hashtag) #GTASummit with over 100,000 tweets sent on day one.

DiverseCity – Year 2 Review

Also, during the conference, DiverseCity: the Greater Toronto Leadership Project, one of the projects that had come out of an earlier summit, released its report, Year 2 Review – creating a more prosperous GTA through more diverse leadership – PDF (we profiled School 4 Civics and DiverseCity on Board as part of our Good Ideas network).

Prepared by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute in Management and Technology, the results showed that while some progress had been made, only 14 per cent of leaders within the Greater Toronto area were from visible minorities.

In spite of that fact, discussions revolved around the topic of multiculturalism. Another keynote speaker, Gordon Nixon, President and Chief Executive Officer of RBC, reminded the audience that the Toronto region “is a shining example of how multiculturalism actually works,” adding, “It’s a huge opportunity to generate growth and a real win-win for everyone.”


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