Mayor Crombie’s State of the City of MississaugaInnovating Today for Tomorrow
Mississauga Board of Trade, June 7, 2022
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Good afternoon, Bonjour, Aaniin Boozhoo, Wacheya.
I would like to thank Carolyn King, former Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and inductee to the Order of Canada for being with us today and providing opening remarks.
I also want to start off by welcoming Trevor McPherson to his first State of the City as the Mississauga Board of Trade’s new President and CEO and thank our growing business community for the opportunity to provide today’s address.
I also want to acknowledge my dedicated, hard-working Council colleagues who are joining us today. We are on the heels of the provincial election and I want to take the opportunity to congratulate Premier Ford on securing a second term, as well as welcoming all six MPPs for successfully reclaiming their seats.
Thank you for being a strong voice for Mississauga at Queen’s Park. I also want to thank all our generous event sponsors today.
And of course, nothing we achieve here in Mississauga would be possible without our dedicated and passionate team at the City of Mississauga and Region of Peel who are committed to excellence and to serving our residents and local businesses.
In Mississauga, we are led by our City Manager, Paul Mitcham and his team of Commissioners and staff who have stepped up big time over the past two years, to ensure we didn’t skip a beat and that our city kept moving.
As well as our Director of Economic Development, Bonnie Brown, and her entire team for not only supporting Mississauga’s business community but charting them on the path to recovery during what was without a doubt, one of the most challenging chapters in our City’s history.
Mississauga, it’s been a while. How are we all doing today?
It’s hard to believe it, but it’s been over 2 years since we were last together. In one room, to celebrate our great City and our promising future. We couldn’t have done this without each and every one of you.
The sacrifices you made personally and the changes you made to the way you do business– are keeping us healthy and safe. I know many of us are tired of hearing the words “pivot,” “nimble” and “unprecedented,” but the reality is that businesses have not faced so much uncertainty in generations.
Thanks to your resilience, your drive and your passion, our City is coming out of this pandemic not only surviving, but thriving. I am proud to stand before you today to say that the state of our city is strong. We face the future not with fear, but with confidence.
That’s thanks in large part to the strong and steady leadership of Council, City and Regional staff, our healthcare heroes, police, firefighters, paramedics, transit drivers and of course, members of our business community.
Thanks to you, we are officially on the road to recovery and there is no turning back.
Mississauga is building toward a new future – one that takes into account the lessons learned these past two years and strives to make our City a place where everyone can succeed.
COVID-19 IMPACTS AND CHALLENGES
While COVID no longer dominates our daily lives, we cannot forget that Peel Region was one of the hardest hit communities in the country.
Getting to where we are today wasn’t easy. You may remember, we had to fight for our fair share of vaccines.
And, I was happy to help lead the charge alongside the unflappable Dr. Lawrence Loh. To ensure our economy continued to run, we had food on our tables and goods at our door.
Thanks to the nearly 90 percent of Peel residents who are fully vaccinated, we are in a much better position today.
Which is why I encourage each and every one of you, to keep your vaccines up to date and get your second booster dose when you are eligible. I did. It’s the best protection you can provide yourself and your loved ones.
COVID was not the only challenge we faced these past two years. Affordability and the cost of living have sky-rocketed, further deepening inequality in our community.
The price of gas has soared. Inflation is at a 40 year high and housing is out of reach for far too many. We have seen more severe and unexpected weather events brought on by climate change that are damaging our communities.
Across the country, it is getting harder and harder for people to make ends meet.
Despite these challenges, our business community continues to step up and prove that Mississauga is a city that cares.
We will continue to have each other’s backs because that is what Mississauga is all about. Helping others in times of need.
Last year, during the Mayor’s Thanksgiving Food Drive, we raised over $650,000 and over 370,000 pounds of food, a record high, and it’s thanks to the generosity of businesses like Venture X, Lakeview Community Partners and Floors At Work, among so many others, that we were able to not only meet but exceed our goals.
When the war in Ukraine erupted, companies like SOTI did not sit idly by. They kick-started a fundraising campaign, to match donations up to $50,000 dollars in support of the Red Cross.
Amazon also stepped up, with two significant $125,000 donations to Seva Food Bank and Indus Community Services, to support a new senior’s hub and community kitchen.
These are only a few examples of the generosity we’ve seen from our City’s business community, who despite their own challenges, have done extraordinary things for our city.
While we are all ready to put this behind us and move forward, our economy will continue to feel its impact for years to come. Like your businesses, our City’s finances were hit hard. At one point, we faced a $100 million deficit. Two-thirds of this was due to low ridership on MiWay, which at one point was at 25 percent of our normal ridership.
We are thankful to the provincial and federal governments for the over $156 million in support to offset our shortfalls, particularly in transit, but they still aren’t enough. As a city, we are doing what is in our power and in our pocketbook to make a difference.
As you know, cities can’t run deficits and are not in the position to provide incentives to businesses like the provincial and federal levels of government can.
Council took decisive action and tightened our belts, passing a lean budget that kept taxes at the rate of inflation, instituted temporary hiring freezes and reduced discretionary costs to lower the forecasted deficit.
Despite all of this, we are still facing a $50 million deficit this year, and continue to call on higher orders of government for support.
We all know, recovery won’t happen overnight.
But we are on the right path and I’m confident that if we continue to sharpen our pencils, deliver responsible budgets and ensure our voices are heard, we will be back in the black soon.
I know many of you are facing similar challenges and I want to commend you for your resiliency, your courage and your commitment to doing business in our City.
As Canada’s seventh largest city, we have our eyes firmly set on the future. We are embracing our urban shift.
In order to ‘future proof’ our economy and build a resilient city of the future, we must apply an innovation and sustainability lens to everything we do.
The good news is that Mississauga is already a leader on many of these fronts.
This is why I’m so confident we are well positioned to excel in a post-pandemic world. We have been working for years to foster an innovation ecosystem in Mississauga. To cement our position as an innovation hub on the Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor and put ourselves on the map as a global magnet for innovative business, research, and academics.
A city capable of competing with the Toyko’s, Tel Aviv’s, San Francisco’s, Beijing’s and Bangalore’s of the world. A place where entrepreneurs and start-ups want to invest, scale-up and thrive. And it all starts with an idea.
Where the future is being invented. We will live and breathe innovation, in every corner of the city and in everything we do.
We will create an innovation ecosystem with hubs across the city that will not only help entrepreneurs come up with the big ideas, but commercialize and bring them to market. It will be the cornerstone and the catalyst in helping Mississauga maintain our global competitiveness.
Innovation lives in Mississauga.
GROWING OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY
It is also the key in helping us grow and diversify our business community.
As the second-largest employment hub in the GTA and home to over 98,000 businesses, Mississauga is already an economic powerhouse. In fact, we are home to over half a million jobs and growing.
Over the past two years, despite the pandemic, we gained nearly 13,000 net new jobs through new investment and business expansion.
And since becoming Mayor, I’m proud to say we have seen the number of businesses in our City rise by nearly 13,500. In the last year alone, our business community grew by over 2,000, thanks to the hard work of our Economic Development and City Team.
We welcomed global heavy-weights like Bombardier, who are about to open a new state-of-the-art, energy-efficient manufacturing centre at the airport, focused on the final assembly of their global aircraft welcoming 2,000 highly-skilled jobs.
This $400 million private investment strengthens our robust aerospace sector and further leverages our larger advanced manufacturing supply chain, with nearly 90 Mississauga businesses supporting their work, generating over $250 million in economic spin-off each year.
We also saw a boom of pandemic entrepreneurs as a result of shifting consumer trends and gaps in the market.
Businesses like Boomerang FX, who took a chance and agreed the timing was right to launch their business and invest in our City.
Capitalizing on the digital shift with their AI software that helps small health-care practitioners grow their business by identifying and converting leads into new customers. With plans already well under way to expand their presence and open a new office next month, business is certainly booming for this company.
Unfortunately, the pandemic also exposed some pretty significant gaps in Canada’s ability to produce life-saving vaccines and therapeutic drugs here at home. Which is why many of our Life Sciences companies are turning their sights to improving our pandemic preparedness so we can better respond to future health emergencies while strengthening our economy.
Thanks to a nearly $200 million investment from the federal government, Resilience Biotechnologies is doing just that. Expanding operations and boosting their capacity to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses of MRNA vaccines and therapeutics used to fight COVID-19 while creating over 200 highly skilled local jobs right here in Mississauga.
We also saw homegrown Microbix expand, opening a third facility, which has allowed them to scale-up and fully automate the production of testing vials used to collect PCR and rapid antigen tests. In addition to Life Sciences, another sector that also saw a seismic shift was Fintech, particularly e-commerce and online retail, which has doubled year over year since the onset of the pandemic.
We were thrilled to welcome Intelcom to our City, a logistics company with a 24/7 state of the art facility capable of sending out over 500,000 packages a day for last-mile delivery to homes across our City and beyond. As we have seen these past few years, having a digital presence is critical for many businesses to survive, so is shopping and buying local to support our economy.
Thanks to our Digital Service Squad, we supported over 600 small businesses to market and sell their products online. Businesses like Lishkara Fabrics in Cooksville, who thanks to the squad, revamped their website and social media presence, translating into a big boost in online sales.
We also saw over 1,000 small businesses participate in our shop local campaign, ‘Mississauga Made’ to promote locally made products, businesses and tourism experiences across our great City.
Whether your business suffered or flourished during COVID, we are here with the supports you need to build back better and thrive.
SUPPORTING PEARSON AIRPORT
I encourage everyone to continue to show their support for small businesses most impacted by lockdowns. As well as some of the larger sectors like the airline industry, and the wider aerospace supply chain, who are also slowly recovering.
Tens of thousands of Mississauga residents work at Pearson Airport and over 30,000 in our aerospace sector, the largest in Ontario. These are highly-skilled, good paying jobs that are essential to the health of our local economy and our people.
At their lowest point, passenger traffic at Pearson Airport was down 96 percent. As a result, many lost their jobs.
The good news is that passenger travel is on the rise once again. But Pearson Airport needs our patience as they work to ramp up to full speed.
In fact, I was at the airport just last week with MBOT and Tourism Mississauga, our new tourism marketing organization, with representation from many business and industry partners here with us today, to mark Tourism Week and urge the federal government on both sides of the border to address the issues slowing down travellers as they make their way through the airport.
Thanks to partnerships like these, we are well positioned to support the recovery and growth of our tourism and hospitality sector while putting Mississauga’s best foot forward for visitors and businesses.
I want to thank the federal government for their investments to date to boost Pearson’s economic competitiveness and ensure they have the resources they need to get back to business as usual.
We will continue to support our partners at Pearson to pave the way for clear skies. Because when Pearson succeeds, Mississauga thrives.
In the next thirty years, Mississauga will soar to new heights. We will grow exponentially and be home to more than 1 million people and 600,000 jobs.
Becoming a global hub for innovation and talent simply won’t be possible unless we have a strong plan in place to accommodate this growth by building dynamic, complete, interconnected communities.
Our competitive advantage has been, and will continue to be our quality of life. A city with roads, sidewalks, bridges, community centres, splash pads and parks in good working order. As we know, this all comes with a price tag.
As a City, we simply don’t have the fiscal tools at our disposal to maintain sixty percent of the country’s infrastructure when we only receive ten percent of every tax dollar. Which is why we need committed partners to fund the critical projects Mississauga needs as we transform into a city of the future.
Rest assured, Council has been knocking, texting, meeting, calling and zooming with all levels of government to secure unprecedented investments for our City. And frankly, during the pandemic we saw both levels of government work together to get the job done, across party lines, to deliver for cities and our people. I’d like to see that continue.
In fact, by working together, nearly $8 billion in funding has flowed to Mississauga since I became Mayor eight years ago.
It is thanks to strong partnerships that we can get shovels in the ground, maintain our critical infrastructure, and build the transit we need to get people moving across Mississauga and beyond.
Earlier this year, we saw just that. All three levels of government standing proudly together to announce over $675 million in funding to support three critical transit projects in Mississauga.
Funding that will help get shovels in the ground for the first stretch of bus rapid transit along Dundas Street between Cooksville and the Toronto border along with purchasing over 350 new hybrid-electric buses to help us reach our climate goals.
This was a team effort and demonstrates that big things can happen when all orders of government unite in a vision to create strong and healthy communities.
Seamless, regionally integrated transit will help us meet our climate change goals, get people out of their cars and to work on time.
GREENING YOUR COMMUTE
We are working to retrofit suburbia, which I assure you is no easy task.
With 70 percent of all trips in Mississauga done in a vehicle, the car remains king.
But as Mayor, I’ve made it my mandate to change this.
By continuing to make transit affordable, convenient and seamless.
Since taking office, we have increased transit service by over 300,000 service hours.
Working with the province, we are making transit more affordable by eliminating double fares when connecting from GO Transit to MiWay.
We are also working to green our fleet, a crucial step in reducing our carbon footprint. As a city, we have stopped buying diesel buses and will only purchase hybrid-electric or zero-emissions vehicles moving forward because we know green energy is the way of the future.
I’m proud of the work we’ve done to take 11,700 cars off the road, reducing 58,000 tonnes of CO2.
Less cars, more transit. This is the way of the future.
And starting this year, we will roll-out 165 new hybrid electric buses and by 2024, we will have greened nearly half of our fleet. We are also proud to be exploring an innovative hydrogen fuel cell electric bus pilot with industry partners – a first of its kind in Canada.
Mississauga will be leaders in the hydrogen economy. Investments like these are critical in helping us achieve our climate change targets, an eighty percent reduction in GHGs by 2050 with the goal of one day becoming net zero.
BUILDING REGIONALLY INTEGRATED TRANSIT
We continue to make progress on building a regionally integrated transportation network that connects people to jobs and opportunity.
Construction is already well underway on the Hazel McCallion LRT, a $4.6 billion dollar provincial investment secured by this Council.
Just last month, I was out to see the progress as crews started to lay tracks. I have to admit, I got a bit emotional.
This is by far the largest infrastructure project in our City’s history and it is truly incredible to see it finally coming to life.
I remember the day I got the call from the province to say it was approved. The progress made to date is remarkable.
I want to thank our businesses for their patience and understanding as we navigate construction and work together to build this critical infrastructure.
Short term pain for long term gain.
I can’t underscore enough how important the LRT is to our future prosperity.
It’s an absolute magnet for jobs and in the next 20 years, will support over a quarter of all employment in Mississauga. And those numbers will only continue to climb as our downtown develops into a thriving economic centre within the GTA.
The problem is, there’s one thing missing to unlock its full potential.
The downtown Loop.
In the next decade, our downtown will be home to 50 new high rises that will be home to nearly 70,000 people and support over 30,000 jobs. That’s over double what it is today.
We will need to quickly and efficiently move people to and around our downtown.
Without the Loop, the future vision of our downtown as a liveable, walkable, transit friendly urban hub is at stake.
I know Premier Ford is focused on solutions and getting the job done. He’s been publicly supportive of restoring the Loop and now that he’s been re-elected, I will once again be knocking on his door.
The LRT is essential to our future economic success – YOUR success – which is why I am asking YOU to join us in our efforts to help get it funded.
So we can ensure that Mississauga continues to import, not export talent.
Pre-pandemic, we had more than 230,000 people a day coming to work in our city from neighbouring areas like Toronto, Halton and York. While we recognize that a hybrid workplace is here to stay, we will continue to support your employees, the talent you need to grow your businesses, to travel quickly and efficiently to the office.
We realize some areas in our City are hard to reach by transit right now, but we are working to change that.
Which is why I was thrilled when both levels of government stepped up to fund a study to extend the Eglinton Crosstown to our Airport Corporate Centre and eventually Toronto Pearson, seamlessly linking riders from across the GTHA to the second largest employment zone in the entire region.
I will also continue to press the province to match the 50 percent of the funding committed by the federal government last summer to make all-day two-way GO Transit on the Milton Line a reality. It is the second busiest GO Transit corridor, serving over 3 million riders a year, supporting 77,000 jobs, and intersects with the LRT and is within one kilometre of the future Dundas BRT.
Making it two-way, all-day and electrifying the tracks, as has been done on so many of the other GO Transit lines, just makes good sense. It would help employees at hundreds of businesses in Meadowvale, like Novo Nordisk, easily commute into and out of downtown Toronto and every stop along the way.
Right now, they can literally see the station from their headquarters but it’s of no use to their employees. Instead, dozens have no choice but to drive their cars to work.
If we are serious about breaking gridlock, meeting our climate change goals and unlocking our economic potential, the provincial government must make this a priority.
And as Mayor, I will ensure our voices and that of our business community are heard loud and clear.
These projects will help us build the regionally connected transit network we need to move people more efficiently, connect them to jobs and prosperity and drive the development of complete communities in our downtown, south along Hurontario and all the way down to Lake Ontario.
By far, the biggest transformation is happening in our downtown core.
Construction is already well underway on 31 high rises.
The face of Square One will change as we know it.
As retail evolves, they will have much more to offer than just shopping and dining.
In fact, Square One will proudly be home to our anchor innovation district, IDEA Mississauga, which will open later this year. A dedicated working space for entrepreneurs and start-ups to network, dream big and come up with innovative ideas that will drive investment and change the future of our city.
Sheridan College’s EDGE Entrepreneurship Hub and their Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies along with UTM’s ICUBE, will also be part of our network, and will support thousands of entrepreneurs, change makers and small business owners who are contributing to a green recovery.
Companies like Ecosystem Informatics and Hope Pet Foods, who thanks to the EDGE, are balancing the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.
Over time, the Square One District, the largest mixed-use development in Canadian history in the heart of downtown, will grow by one new building every year until they reach 37.
Just south of Square One, the Exchange District will be a hub for culture, art and local food with a focus on sustainability. Thanks to an innovative partnership with Diverso Energy, the District will be home to the tallest geothermal condo building in Canada at 66 storeys high, saving our environment and residents in energy costs.
This project dovetails nicely with our City’s broader efforts to advance low carbon district energy in the downtown. We are proud to be partnering to study how we can use geothermal and waste heat to heat and cool key buildings like City Hall, the Living Arts Centre and the Hazel McCallion Central Library.
We are greening our future one building at a time and slowly changing the face of downtown Mississauga, for the better. We are truly embracing our urban shift.
Up, not out.
Smart, sustainable growth.
Less congestion and air pollution; more connections.
A world-class centre for innovation.
More transit, mobility, accessibility, green spaces, bike lanes, office space, business, jobs and opportunity.
Now, that’s something to get excited about.
Our efforts to build complete communities extend well beyond our downtown.
With the LRT on the horizon, Hurontario is poised to grow and change.
In the coming years, we anticipate 12,000 new housing units and over 128,000 jobs to be created along the corridor.
We have a vision to support that growth.
A vision that will build walkable, transit oriented, 15-Minute Cities along Hurontario, from downtown Cooksville to Fairview to Trillium Health Partners in the south.
More walking, biking or cruising through winding green trails that will connect you to downtown Cooksville, home to the future Dundas BRT and LRT.
Keep travelling south and you will arrive outside the new state-of-the-art, 24 storey, 950 bed Peter Gilgan Mississauga Hospital.
The largest and most innovative hospital anywhere in Canada.
That will serve our growing and diverse community for decades to come while creating good local jobs.
Not too far south, 250 acres of prime waterfront is transforming into cutting edge, innovative, sustainable communities that will bring the people to the water and the water to the people.
Cleaning up an old oil finery and coal fired power plant– we are righting the wrongs of our industrial past, reinvigorating and renewing these lands and charting a better future for generations to come.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We will get this right. We can’t afford not to.
The Lakeview and Brightwater developments will put Mississauga’s waterfront on the map as an international destination much like Chicago, Vancouver, and New Orleans.
Both mixed-use communities have a focus on low impact development and will be using the latest technologies to save energy, reduce pollution, and encourage transit friendly, walkable communities that will connect people to the water and get cars off the road.
To the eastern edge of Lakeview, work is nearly three quarters complete at the Jim Tovey Conservation Area, 26 hectares of waterfront conservation.
A true, urban green oasis.
And, for the first time in 60 years, Serson Creek has been reconnected to the lake and fish can swim up and down it freely. What was once a lost creek buried underground has been restored to its former glory.
We are literally breathing life back into our waterfront.
And at the same time, we are proud to be partnering with Lakeview to create a resilient, low carbon, community scale district energy, the largest supply of clean energy in Mississauga, that will help us get closer to achieving our net zero goals.
That’s not the only cutting edge project happening at Lakeview. Progress is also being made to plan a state of the art innovation district on the waterfront. IDEA Lakeview, which will be home to our City’s second innovation hub.
1.5 million square feet of flexible, co-share office space with views of the waterfront that will put Mississauga on the map and one day support 9,000 diverse, highly skilled jobs in the key sectors we’re invested in growing – Life Sciences, Clean Tech and ICT.
A magnet for entrepreneurs and high tech giants alike, it will increase our competitiveness as a global innovation hub and will be the catalyst in our post-pandemic recovery.
Ensuring Mississauga remains a net importer of diverse, highly skilled jobs for decades to come.
And a beacon for tourism and entertainment, with plans underway to animate a 500 foot pier, the longest on this side of the Great Lakes, that will be the shining jewel of the GTA waterfront and an international destination.
To the west, what were once renderings are now coming to life with construction already well underway at Brightwater. In fact, I was onsite just a few weeks back to see how it is progressing and learn more about their “first- and-last mile” shuttle that will connect residents to the Port Credit GO and one day, the Hurontario LRT and Lakeshore BRT.
They are also exploring e-scooters and e-bikes to make it easier for people to connect to transit or reach their final destination while reducing congestion and pollution. This is also something that Mississauga is exploring through our micro-mobility pilot, with plans to launch next summer.
Through these green initiatives and more, Brightwater is poised to become a model for cutting-edge urban sustainability and smart city development.
While our focus on innovation and sustainability will be key in driving our economic recovery, we cannot forget about the importance of investing in the driving force behind it – our creative industries.
Bar none, creativity is the underlying force that spurs innovation.
Our ability to foster and harness our creative power will be critical in driving our economic prosperity – from attracting new business investment and top talent to creating the groundwork and ecosystem for innovation to thrive.
We have also heard loud and clear from our business community that we need to jump start our City’s cool factor, to make Mississauga an even more attractive place to work and live for Gen Z and future generations.
We are making strategic investments in arts and culture and they are paying off. Helping us land Studio Bottega, a 500,000 square foot studio complex that once built, will create more than 8,000 jobs in the film industry, from producers to lighting technicians, set designers and more.
This investment alone is in the hundreds of millions. Bringing us to 9 film studios, officially solidifying Mississauga as Hollywood North. Off set, Mississauga continues to dominate the GTA as a key location and backdrop for shows such as Kids in the Hall and Shadow Hunters. Which is why despite COVID, our film office experienced a significant boost in revenue, an over 35% increase from pre-pandemic levels.
Lights, camera, action. All eyes are on Mississauga.
We are also working to drop a pin on the map and gain a reputation as a Music City. With the launch of our first-ever music strategy, Mississauga is poised to be an internationally-recognized incubator for top music talent and a national destination for live music events and festivals.
Creating jobs, fueling tourism and drawing people back into our city. Our strategy could not come at a better time as the industry works to recover, with live music sales dropping 92 percent during the pandemic.
Our local artists and all the wider industry who supports them, need our help to reignite our live music scene in Mississauga. Music will breathe life into our city and help us further expand our innovation ecosystem across Mississauga.
We are already laying the foundation thanks to a groundbreaking, first of its kind partnership between Metalworks and Laurier University, that will see students get the hands-on studio experience they need while earning credits toward their music degree.
And one day, I hope, a Centre of Excellence for Music or an amphitheatre, a place where emerging artists, recording engineers and producers can collaborate, perform and bring Mississauga talent to the world.
As we advance our efforts to make Mississauga a city of the future, we cannot ignore the real challenges before us.
As a City, we are taking firm action to address the housing affordability crisis sweeping our province.
I know keeping Mississauga affordable is also important to our business community.
But the reality is prices are still out of reach for many, with the average home now north of a million.
That’s why it’s so important that housing is not left out of the conversation when we are talking about the future prosperity of our City– it must be front and centre of everything we do.
We realize there are no easy solutions to cooling the market. We must think differently and we must work together.
We are doing what is within our jurisdiction to solve the problem by bringing supply to the market quickly, speeding up approvals and protecting rental supply.
Last year, in the midst of a pandemic, our team didn’t skip a beat, issuing a record $2.1 billion in building permits. I assure you this was no easy task.
We also have approved pre-zoning for over 60,000 units, which means we have supply that can have shovels in the ground and be brought to the market quickly.
Cities are not the bottleneck in the development pipeline.
I look forward to talking to the new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing about how we can partner to ensure that the next generation has access to housing by better supporting first-time homebuyers and protecting existing rental stock.
I’m proud that by working with our development community, we have secured a commitment to build 600 affordable units in Mississauga in the last two years.
I’d like to see this trend continue.
It’s also important that when we build, we are bringing the right kind of supply to the market. Units that are suitably sized, and by that I mean large enough for families and the many seniors who are overhoused and looking to downsize.
We are reimagining our malls and exploring new housing options like garden suites, lot splitting and garage conversions. It’s not enough to welcome people to our city with open arms, we need to help lay the foundations to ensure that everyone who wants to live in our city can afford to do so.
For our City to thrive, people must have a safe, affordable place to live.
Everyone has a role to play in solving this crisis.
But it’s not just the rising cost of housing that contributed to the deepening inequality in our community. Communities across the country struggled with a decline in mental health and drug addiction.
A rise in intolerance, hate crimes and political polarization. With successive lockdowns, many lost their jobs. We saw a deepening of wage inequality and barriers to re-entering the workforce, especially for women, many who work in sectors like tourism, hospitality and personal care, which were heavily impacted by lockdowns.
This is not the Mississauga we know. In order for economic recovery to be inclusive, we must do more to advance our equity and diversity efforts.
It must be ingrained in everything we do, from the very start, and I encourage our business community to do the same. As a city, we will not drive prosperity at the risk of leaving others behind.
And, we will not be afraid to address our shortcomings and commit to doing better. Which is why we are actively working to break down barriers to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and thrive in Mississauga.
We need to support women and provide opportunities for them to re-enter the workforce.
I’m confident that $10 A Day Childcare, which I urged both levels of government to implement, will help get us one step closer.
I also know our business community is also doing their part to increase the representation of women and other equity-seeking groups in the workplace.
The City is proud to be partnering with companies like GSK, Sanofi, Interception and Roche in our Life Sciences sector through the Equity and Diversity Collaborative to actively help tip the scales in the right direction. As a corporation, we are also working to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Permanently raising the Every Child Matters flag at City Hall and the Pride Progress flag in the month of June.
Partnering with Novo Nordisk and UTM, Mississauga signed onto the Urban Diabetes Declaration, to help tackle Type 2 diabetes and develop innovative, local solutions to this rising health issue in our community.
We are also taking historic steps to ensure members of Mississauga’s Black community have more of a say in the decision-making process at City Hall and feel included, supported, and empowered. We have a lot of work ahead of us.
But with your support and that of our broader community, we will ensure our City is not just one of the most diverse, but most inclusive cities in the world.
We can achieve this, together.
A LOOK AHEAD – MISSISSAUGA AT 50
Mississauga is quickly approaching our 50th anniversary.
It’s time to pause to reflect on where we want to go and who we want to be. We are no longer a young, suburban city. We are emerging as an innovative, sustainable city of the future.
And that’s thanks to the innovative partnerships and our commitment to working together to build vibrant and dynamic communities that are the envy of the world.
Communities that attract businesses and highly skilled, diverse talent to the City – and keep them here. We will have growing pains and face the same pressures as established, urban cities around the world do.
But you have my word that we will continue to maintain our commitment to excellence while working to keep money in your pocket.
Strong, steady leadership is what has gotten us through this pandemic and what will guide us into the future.
As we look at the year ahead and beyond, I know there is more to do and more to achieve.
Which is why it would be an absolute honour to be your Mayor for another term. So that we can forge ahead, together as partners, to build a more prosperous and inclusive city of the future.
So that we can build back better – with YOU and for YOU.
Mississauga – we have arrived.
The future is ours for the taking.
Let’s do this.