Mayor Crombie's State of the City
Pushing Forward Together, as Partners
Delivered to the Mississauga Board of Trade, March 2, 2021
Good afternoon, Bonjour, Aaiin, Boozhoo, Wacheya
I want to thank David Wojcik, Brad Butt, Ken Tencer and the entire team from the Mississauga Board of Trade for providing me with the opportunity to speak with Mississauga’s business community.
I also want to acknowledge my Council colleagues who are joining us online today.
You would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated and hard-working team of Councillors anywhere in the world.
- Stephen Dasko, Ward 1
- Karen Ras, Ward 2
- Chris Fonseca, Ward 3
- John Kovac, Ward 4
- Carolyn Parrish, Ward 5
- Ron Starr, Ward 6
- Dipika Damerla, Ward 7
- Matt Mahoney, Ward 8
- Pat Saito, Ward 9
- Sue McFadden, Ward 10 and;
- George Carlson, Ward 11
We have members from both the federal and provincial government with us today as well.
- The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Federal Minister of Transport and MP for Mississauga Centre
- Nina Tangri, MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville and Parliamentary Assistant to the Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
- Deepak Anand, MPP for Mississauga-Malton.
- And Sheref Sabawy, MPP for Mississauga-Erin Mills
Thank you for being a strong voice for Mississauga on Parliament Hill and at Queen’s Park.
I want to acknowledge our sponsors for today’s address:
- Bell Canada
- Greater Toronto Airports Authority – Toronto Pearson
- Lakeview Community Partners
- KMB Law
- CN Rail
- Nurse Next Door and
- Imperial Oil
“And of course, nothing we achieve would be possible without the support of our dedicated and passionate team of city staff who are committed to excellence and to serving our residents and local businesses.”
I’d like to recognize our City Manager, Paul Mitcham, and his team of Commissioners who have stepped up big time over the last year, as well as all the staff in our corporation who have continued to deliver services to residents under unprecedented and challenging circumstances.
As well as our Acting Director of Economic Development, Harold Dremin, and his entire team for working so hard to support Mississauga’s business community through an incredibly difficult time.
It was almost exactly a year ago today that I stood on stage at the Mississauga Convention Centre to deliver my 2020 State of the City address.
650 people joined us that day.
Just think about that for a second: 650 people gathered in a room.
It’s hard to believe what happened over the course of the year that followed.
In that speech, I talked about how our City had an incredible opportunity before us.
That we had all the right ingredients.
And a solid plan in place to build a sustainable, world-class City of the future.
Less than three weeks later, I declared a State of Emergency in Mississauga.
Little did we know that the next year would largely be defined by this global pandemic:
A full nationwide lockdown.
People isolated from friends and loved ones.
And the loss of hundreds of Mississaugans to the virus.
The last 12 months has been harder than anything we’ve ever faced.
The pressure placed on our hospitals and frontline healthcare workers.
Our long-term care homes ravished by the virus.
And of course, our business community – in particular our small businesses – forced to sacrifice so much for the collective good.
Business owners have never faced this much uncertainly in generations.
I’m truly sorry for the pain this crisis has caused.
While we’re beginning to move in the right direction, there is still a lot of uncertainty: will new variants push us into a third wave?
Will the vaccines be the silver bullet we were all hoping for?
And what will the long-term effects of the pandemic look like?
“But what gives me so much confidence – and what I truly hope gives you confidence – is that Mississauga is strong. Our city is extremely well-positioned to not just recover, but thrive again.”
We are just coming into our own right now.
And the next decade is still ours for the taking.
We still have a huge opportunity before us.
We’re well past our days of being that sleepy bedroom community next to Toronto.
We’ve become a major global player.
And the single biggest reason why, is you: our incredibly rich and diverse business community.
A community home to more than 96,000 businesses.
That saw so many of you rise to the challenge during COVID-19, pivoting production to help in the wider pandemic response.
A business community so generous, that even during the biggest global crisis since the Second World War, donated millions of dollars to support the most vulnerable.
A business community that despite all the challenges of 2020, remains on the cutting-edge of innovation and continues to attract talent from all over the world.
A business community that is building strong relationships with public sector institutions like our universities and colleges.
Collaborations that will spur new global solutions and prepare our young people for the work of tomorrow.
“And I want be very clear just how committed I am, my council colleagues and City of Mississauga staff are to continuing to deliver the key tools to help residents and businesses tackle the challenges in front of all of us.”
We are a partner committed to managing taxpayer dollars responsibly to ensure we maintain our world-class services.
Committed to supporting small businesses transform so they can navigate the pandemic.
Committed to making – and securing – the needed investments in transformative projects like the Hurontario LRT and the Lakeshore and Dundas BRTs.
Projects that will drive the development of sustainable, dynamic and complete communities.
Which will be the envy of the entire country, and that will attract the best global talent to Mississauga.
We are committed to tackling the affordability crisis so that everyone who wants to, can find a place to live in our City.
Committed to building a city where everyone – no matter their culture, creed or colour – feels welcome, safe and has the opportunity to thrive.
We have the right set of ingredients in place to seize the next decade as we build back to better.
And we need to continue pushing forward together, as partners.
In the early days of the pandemic, there were so many unknowns.
One thing we did know was that we had to act fast.
We held six teletown halls with thousands of residents and businesses taking part.
We heard from over 650 businesses and organizations to help guide our pandemic response.
We did this because we knew we couldn’t do it alone.
“What was clear right away was that the financial impact was going to be unprecedented in scale and scope. We moved quickly to keep money in peoples’ pockets by deferring property tax and storm water payments, animal and mobile licensing fees, as well as the Municipal Accommodation Tax.”
And to reduce pressure on our essential frontline workers, we made transit completely free.
We helped give essential workers a way to get to their essential jobs.
We’re again deferring tax and storm water payments this year, along with licensing fees, to try to alleviate any additional financial pressures facing residents.
But it wasn’t just residents and businesses who felt the pinch.
Even after we began collecting transit fares again, we were still faced with the problem of a drastic decline in ridership and lost revenue from our recreational and cultural facilities being closed.
We had to layoff many City of Mississauga staff, implement a hiring freeze, and cut all discretionary spending.
By June, we were projecting a massive budget shortfall of $100 million.
Through our actions and the mitigating measures we took, we were able to shrink this number to $55 million – still unprecedented and still daunting.
This was a huge hurdle to overcome.
And this is where we stepped up our advocacy efforts.
When I met with our provincial and federal partners, I made it crystal clear on the dire situation facing the city….
And worked closely with Mayors across the GTHA and the Province so we could be heard with a unified voice.
It didn’t matter to any of us if we sounded like broken records.
This was what needed to be done.
And in August, Mississauga secured $46 million in safe restart funding from the Federal and Provincial governments, and an additional $21 million in December.
I want to take the opportunity to thank my federal and provincial colleagues who are here today for stepping up to the plate.
Without their support we wouldn’t have been able to balance our budget this year.
And we would have been forced to cut services and investments in capital projects that create jobs, and maintain our high quality of life and attractiveness as a destination for business.
But the financial impacts of COVID on the City still remain significant.
This is not a one-year pandemic. The echo effects will last for years.
Last month, I met with the Prime Minister and other federal Ministers as part of the Big City Mayors’ caucus summit and made it very clear that we are again projecting a financial shortfall in 2021.
And that a Safe Restart 2.0. is critical to maintaining financial stability at the City.
I am very confident that we will get this support.
BUSINESSES STEPPING UP
This year, Council delivered a workman-like budget: a one per cent increase on the property tax bill for residents, and a 0.6 per cent increase for commercial properties.
“Our priorities will be returning to a normal fee schedule and collection as soon as possible, no new material increases to service levels in 2021 and reducing discretionary spending once again.”
And while we are again doing a critical assessment of capital expenditures.
We have gone forward with a two per cent infrastructure levy in the budget so we can continue to advance the major projects that are essential to the future of the city.
I want to shift gears for a second and talk about what I saw from the business community in the early days of COVID.
At a time when you were dealing with so many questions about how you were going to support your own employees.
How you were going to support your own families.
How you were going to meet payroll.
You stepped up in such a big way.
Through Feed Mississauga, a community initiative led by Slavica Bissylas and Dan Meadowcroft, dozens of businesses throughout the city worked together to provide 1,400 meals every weekend for residents struggling to put food on the table.
Our BIAs also stepped up too.
The Port Credit BIA launched the Businesses are People campaign to show that behind every storefront is a family, and that we all need to support the small business community
The Malton, Streetsville, Clarkson and Cooksville BIAs all supported their businesses and communities through webinars, shop local campaigns and food drives.
And brightened up our streets through art installations and Christmas decorations.
There were also so many Mississauga businesses that pivoted quickly to meet the needs of the community, particularly when it came to PPE.
Custom furniture shop Request for Product re-branded itself as the Canada Mask Supply and began producing 20,000 protective facemasks a day and actually created 35 new jobs.
MHI began making bands that helped secure the facemasks of frontline healthcare workers.
Premier Candle Corporation began making face shields too, and donated thousands of them to long-term care homes in Mississauga.
Take Care Supply has also produced 750,000 masks since September, creating 200 jobs and donating thousands to charity.
Computer design firm Toronto Microelectronics harnessed their engineering capabilities as well, to manufacture top-of-the line facemasks, donating thousands of them to frontline healthcare workers.
As did Alcon Canada and Chen’s Enterprises Corporation, who donated thousands of surgical masks and gloves to Trillium Health Partners.
And the list goes on…
It’s amazing just how, resilient, innovative and forward thinking so many of you are.
And I know many of you are essential businesses, and I want to thank you for keeping so many of our residents employed.
“You’ve kept our economy running and provided all of us with the food, supplies and services we’ve needed to survive this pandemic.”
You have been true partners in the fight against COVID.
But I also understand the stress that came with operating during a pandemic, trying to keep yourself and your employees safe.
I was happy to see so many of you on the MBOT call in February about COVID protocols to keep workplaces safe.
I want to thank you for your commitment to safety and employee health.
It must be our first priority.
MBOT also partnered with the city on a number of other occasions to provide an important space where businesses could have frank conversations about how we could best support them.
MBOT has been such a strong voice in advocating for the necessary financial supports that our business community needs.
Because of MBOT, we truly are a better city.
During 2020, we also saw so many businesses step up to support the Mississauga Food Bank in a year that saw demand grow by 143 per cent.
Some during my Thanksgiving Food Drive, and others through the MississiaugaChallenge in April launched by Mohamed Faikh.
Not that he wasn’t busy enough preparing thousands of meals a week out of the Paramount Fine Foods’ kitchens, and delivering them to frontline workers and vulnerable residents.
“More than 3,000 individuals, 100 businesses and 30 community, religious and non-profits groups accepted the Mississauga Challenge and helped raise more than $1.2 million for the Mississauga Foodbank.”
Then in October, with your help, my Mayor’s thanksgiving food drive raised more than $500,000 and 230,000 pounds worth of food for the Food Bank.
You showed us your support, and I hope you felt supported by us.
One of the biggest frustrations for me was that the City can’t do more to provide financial supports to business.
We’re simply limited in what we can do.
Our friends in the federal and provincial governments have the real fiscal firepower to provide meaningful relief and investment.
And while I know businesses would like the City to provide grants, loans or subsides, we simply aren’t not allowed to under the Municipal act.
HOW WE SUPPORTED YOU
“Our support must come in a different form, through providing information, coordinating sector advocacy, and facilitating programs like Digital Mainstreet from the federal and provincial governments.”
In fact, one of the first actions we took was to launch our COVID-19 Relief portal.
We offered free advisory services in legal, accounting, business operations and sales and marketing.
And I’m so proud of how our Economic Development team was able to help businesses with digital transformation.
Our Digital Main Street program helped over 200 small business owners embrace technology to help keep their businesses going.
Small business owners like Gloria, owner of Joanne Lipp European Skin Care and Electrolysis, which was started by her mother more than 50-years ago.
Our EDO team helped her make the move to online sales and implement social media marketing and advertising.
We helped people like Mona and her husband Sami, owners of Supermoon Japanese Style Cheesecakes, improve their social media presence and get 360 degree photos up online to attract new businesses.
And people like Jeeta, owner of Unique Gems and Beauty Boutique, who with the help our EDO team is now adding ecommerce capabilities to her website, after the pandemic forced her to pivot away from the services she had traditionally provided, such as manicures, pedicures and facials.
We enlisted 606 businesses for our ShopHere program, a partnership with Google, that helped businesses and artists develop and launch an online store for free.
Tourism Mississauga also launched our MississaugaMade campaign in the first few months of the pandemic, that includes a digital platform showcasing some of our best local businesses.
It also included what I would call a relentless online social media blitz to encourage residents to buy local.
Whether ordering in on takeout Wednesday.
Or purchasing Christmas gifts from that little shop around the corner.
We pushed out the message as hard as we could that buying local does make a difference.
Our MississaugaMade website now has over 300 listings on it.
“But the most important thing we did was cement our economic recovery plans at council, plans that were in large part shaped by the conversations we had with you, our business community.”
These plans define our specific needs in Mississauga while ensuring we play to our strengths.
And allow us to push forward – together as partners – with the really big things that will allow us to thrive and build back to better.
The truth is that we can’t slow down for a second.
We simply can’t afford to.
That’s because by 2050, Mississauga’s population is expected to grow to more than 1 million people, with more than 600,000 jobs.
DELIVERING ON INFRASTRUCTURE
It’s getting more difficult to move people quickly and efficiently.
We need to match our population growth to the growth of our transportation networks.
“I’m proud to say that we are hard at work doing this, and have secured unprecedented investments into Mississauga – $7.4 billion since 2014.”
Through partnerships with the federal and provincial governments, we have leveraged these investments to build transit and transportation networks.
And as much as we need these transit projects for our own residents, we need them to also bring people here to our City.
Mississauga remains a net importer of jobs, with more people coming to Mississauga to work each day than leave to work elsewhere.
These are your employees, the talent you need to grow your businesses.
I’m thrilled to report that construction on the $4.6 billion dollar, 19-stop Hurontario LRT is on schedule and the line is slated to open in fall 2024.
Get ready to see more crews working on Hurontario over the next year.
I can’t underscore enough how transformative this project is and how critical it is to the future economic prosperity of the City.
“The LRT will form the north-south spine of our regional transit network, connecting millions of people a year to Mississauga and beyond. It will move up to 31 million passengers a year and, in the next 20 years, will support over a quarter of all employment in Mississauga.”
That’s 220,000 people, 128,000 jobs and 12,000 new residential units.
Simply put, the LRT is critical to the future of our city.
And it is because of the advocacy efforts of Council and City staff that the LRT is moving full steam ahead.
We also announced full funding for the Lakeshore Bus Rapid Transit, a long awaited project that will be critical to moving people along the Lakeshore Corridor.
That announcement also included funding for 11 other smaller projects across our transit system . . .
Including rehabilitating our current fleet of buses and improving transit terminals.
I’m also thrilled that MiWay will be serviced through the new Kipling transit hub, that will link 16 of our bus routes to Kipling station.
Making it so much easier for residents to link to the TTC, and people coming from Toronto to link to MiWay.
I want to again thank my federal and provincial colleagues for being true partners and understanding the need to modernize transit in Mississauga.
These game-changing projects wouldn’t be possible without your support.
And in the coming days – and I mean literally, because we have a meeting with some of you this Friday – I’ll be speaking about the City’s priorities as you work on the federal and provincial budgets.
Spoiler alert: Among the asks will be enhanced all-day, two-way GO Service on the Milton Line.
With 6 stops in our City and over 3 million riders per year, the Milton corridor is the second busiest in the GO Network.
But the trains run the wrong way.
Running west-east in the morning and east-west in the evening.
For example, if you stand inside the headquarters of Novo Nordisk in Meadowvale, you can see the GO station, but it’s of no use to their employees coming from Toronto.
There are hundreds of other businesses in Meadowvale that are in the same situation.
There are over 77,000 jobs on the Milton Line in just Mississauga alone.
They have been told for years by successive provincial governments that increased service on the Milton Line is coming.
And I’m committed to making sure it does come.
On February 19th, I joined Councillor Saito to meet with Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster and we made it very clear to him just how important this corridor is to Mississauga.
The economic potential of the Milton Corridor is immense and all-day two-way GO will unlock it.
I understand they are close to finalizing their business case and that we will likely see movement in the very near future on this file for the first time in decades.
Investments like these are also so critical for us to reach our sustainability goals.
“Our Climate Change Action plan will see our city invest $450 million over the next ten years to reduce our emissions by 40 per cent in the next decade and 80 percent by 2050.”
And we know that the only way we can get there is by successfully shedding car culture and truly embracing transit.
70 per cent of trips into, out of, and around Mississauga are done in cars or other vehicles.
At the City, we are committed to changing that.
During 2020, MiWay added 11 new, second-generation hybrid-electric buses to its fleet, that are convertible to full battery power.
These are the first buses of their kind in Ontario.
“As part of our economic recovery plans, Mississauga is embracing a green recovery.”
I know our business community wants us to push forward on these projects too.
That’s because even in a year defined by a global pandemic, we attracted investments from some of our biggest anchor tenants while welcoming new and exciting players to the fold – a key ingredient in our economic recovery.
Our economic development team deserves a great deal of credit in helping create about 3,000 new jobs in Mississauga this year.
“We saw companies like Roche Pharmaceuticals invest more than $500 million at their Canadian headquarters here in Mississauga, which will create 500 new jobs over the next five years”
Part of our ever-growing life sciences sector that is the second largest in the province and home to more than 470 businesses employing more than 25,000 people.
Canada, and the entire world, is now looking to many of you to lead in testing, treatment and post-pandemic economic recovery.
We saw the arrival of the online grocery giant Goodfood Market, which signed a lease on a 200,000 square-foot state of the art facility that will become the company’s flagship fulfilment centre and create over 2,000 jobs at full capacity.
Whites Studio also opened their second studio location in Mississauga featuring 181,000 square feet of space.
And when you add the recent investment by Sim International in Mississauga, we will now have 8 film studios in our city.
Truly solidifying us as Studio City North.
These investments are a testament to how Mississauga is leading in so many different sectors.
And we need to continue driving even more investment over the next year.
But we also need to support other anchor sectors that have been particularly hard hit by COVID, including the airline industry.
Thousands of Mississauga residents are employed at Pearson and by the GTAA.
And if we are going to keep these jobs, we need our federal counterparts to bring forward an economic aid package that will allow our airline industry to recover and once again thrive.
This is not only essential to employment at Pearson, but also to our Aerospace industry, which is the biggest in Ontario and home to more than 340 companies, employing 31,000 people.
The new investments we saw in 2020 are also a testament to our highly-skilled workforce, with two-thirds of our residents holding some form of post-secondary education.
“Our inclusiveness, our openness to newcomers, and our singular ability to produce, attract, and retain first-rate local and international talent is something we’re proud of.”
Mississauga’s diversity is truly its strength.
And to continue attracting the best and brightest, we need to keep building partnerships between business and public sector institutions.
Just last month, the city welcomed a 40 million dollar investment from Novo Nordisk and the University of Toronto to establish the “Novo Nordisk Network for Healthy Populations” based out of the UTM Campus.
This landmark investment will help support the work in public health research and advancement, and comes at a such a critical time.
The National Research Council of Canada also opened a new advanced materials research facility in Mississauga in 2020.
Serving as a national clean energy hub that’s part of the Canadian Campus for Advanced Materials Manufacturing, a joint initiative between the NRC and the Xerox Research Centre of Canada.
And we will need even more of these partnerships to stay ahead of the curve.
To expand our innovation ecosystem so more and more ambitious young entrepreneurs choose Mississauga as the place to launch their business and then scale-up to become globally competitive.
We need these partnerships to provide more real-world opportunities for our UTM and Sheridan students and to strengthen our talent pipeline.
But without a commitment to building sustainable and complete communities, all of these efforts would be meaningless.
We need vibrant and dynamic communities that attract businesses and talent to the City, and keeps people here.
Communities that have the right mix of housing, transit and cultural and recreational amenities for everyone in Mississauga.
“A huge bright spot for the city was that we approved more than $2.5 billion in building permit construction in 2020, the highest-ever in our history.”
Our Planning and Building department deserves credit for not missing a beat and being able to get this done during a global pandemic.
And it truly underscores that developers understand the direction that Mississauga is heading.
We’re a thriving metropolis that is in demand.
In our Downtown…
Oxford Properties released its plan for the 130-acre parcel of land surrounding Square One – which will be known as Square One District – and features 37 high-rise towers with more than 18,000 residential units, half of which would be rental apartments.
There will also be office and retail space, parks and community facilities, as well as a transit hub that will be served by the Hurontario LRT.
M City, an 8-tower development by Rogers Real Estate at the western gateway to Downtown Mississauga, will be a compliment to the Marilyn Monroe Towers at the eastern gateway.
M City will be a mixed-use community that will transform the area into a dense urban space that is vibrant, walkable, and livable.
The first two towers will be 61 storeys while the tallest tower will reach 81 storeys, becoming one of the tallest in the GTA.
square feet of development
residential & office towers
Home to over
businesses and growing
annual shopping visitors
Expected to grow
Expected to grow
the number of buildings by 2041
The plan for the largest mixed-use downtown development in Canadian history has begun. Downtown Mississauga is undergoing a major transformation that will become the number one location for people and businesses to connect, work and grow.
To the south, the work we are doing on our waterfront, with the Brightwater and Lakeview developments, is like nothing else in Canada.
It’s truly a rare opportunity to have 250 acres of prime waterfront real estate to develop.
We’re giving the waterfront back to the community.
“These developments will be sustainable, mixed-use communities that include world-class cultural amenities, public art, parks and open spaces that will bring people to the water and the water to the people.”
The projects will spur economic activity and job creating opportunities, with ambitions to incorporate technology that will equip these communities to flourish in the 21st Century.
Brightwater has proceeded more quickly and their 3000 units have been approved.
This site also boasts more than 300,000 square feet of commercial space, with a retail and community common corridor running the length of the development from Lakeshore Road to the lake.
At the base of the site is a campus and we continue to work with the Brightwater Partners to realize the full potential of these buildings.
Lakeview will boast 8000 units and feature 180,000 square feet of commercial space.
We are also working on many of the strategic priorities that will set this site apart from any other we have done in our City.
- An innovation Corridor that will be home to innovative companies, occupying 1.8 million square feet of employment space and over 9,000 high-paying, highly-skilled jobs.
- A cultural district that will include spaces for artists to showcase their work while animating the community.
- Creating a tourism destination with views like no other, boasting the longest pier on this side of Lake Ontario as a central focus.
- And the Jim Tovey Conservation Area – A 64 acre reclaimed wetland using the fill from the former Lakeview Generating Station.
Mississauga’s waterfront will soon contribute to our landscape the way Chicago’s, Stockholm’s and San Francisco’s have to their cities.
While creating new spaces for innovative partnerships and opportunities for small businesses.
Lakeview Innovation District
The Clear Competitive Advantage for The Lakeview Innovation District is the adjacent and integrated Lakeview Village Community and its ability to act as a Living Lab/Sandbox as the greater Community builds out over the next 20-25 years.
square feet of flexible office space
acres of land
square feet available for retail
minutes of major transit networks
“Complete communities also means advancing priorities like improvements to our community centres and creating even more spaces where art and culture can be celebrated.”
Our new Churchill Meadows Community Centre and Sports Park seeks to do just that, slated to open later in 2021, while Burnhamthorpe and Carmen Corbasson community centres will be redeveloped over the next few years.
And we are also moving forward with our Cultural Districts Plan in six communities – Port Credit, Streetsville, the Downtown Core, Cooksville, Clarkson and Malton.
It’s a plan that will nurture placemaking collaborations between businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, community groups and residents.
Build partnerships and liven-up our main streets, attracting people from across Mississauga and the GTA.
We’re redeveloping our Central Library, officially renamed the Hazel McCallion Central Library to honour Hazel’s Legacy and her 100th birthday in 2021.
And if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of ensuring our hospitals have the capacity to meet the needs of the community.
Trillium Health Partners has done so much over the last year: caring for COVID patients, administering tests, vaccinating healthcare workers while providing regular inpatient & emergency care.
And over the next 20 years, no hospital in Ontario will require more services than THP.
This is why it’s so important that we continue to make progress on the redevelopment and expansion of the Mississauga Hospital site, as we’ve already done with Credit Valley.
While some our bigger developments help us meet our growth targets and address the need for market-rental housing and office space.
We will need to be creative, flexible and steadfast in our commitment to help solve the housing affordability crisis sweeping the GTHA.
“Affordability, and more specifically housing prices and the cost of living, are key to attracting new businesses and building a healthy, prosperous city.”
Before the pandemic, precarious employment was rising, and wages weren’t keeping pace with the cost of living.
And COVID only accelerated this.
If we are to truly prosper as a City, it is important that we do not leave anyone behind.
We need to ensure that Mississauga stays within reach and that people – your employees – can afford to live and work here.
And we have a plan.
Through the City’s Housing Strategy, Making Room for the Middle, we are finding ways to create more affordable housing.
We’re doing this through polices that require the replacement or retention of affordable rental units if they’re lost to condos or other redevelopment.
As well as Inclusionary Zoning that requires a specific proportion of new construction near major transit routes to be affordable to people with low to moderate incomes.
Several developers have already committed to incorporating affordable units in their developments, including The Daniels Corporation through a partnership with other levels of government.
I’m happy that many of our other developer partners have accepted the need to provide affordable units in new developments.
We’re also expanding housing options permitted in neighbourhoods.
One way is by providing financial support to homeowners to make renovations for a second unit in their home.
And we’re investigating unique housing forms and ownership models such as multiplexes, co-ownership housing, and co-operative housing.
But we still need help from our provincial and federal housing partners.
We need changes to legislation and more funding to bring more affordable housing to the market.
Safe, affordable housing is the key to unlocking the potential of our city, our people, and our businesses.
Housing is the launching pad for life.
A CITY FOR EVERYONE
COVID-19 has also accelerated changes to how we work.
“The good news is that we are the most connected city in the country, with the largest publically owned fibre optic network in Canada.”
That’s 800kms of fibre optics cable in place, which has allowed us to create the largest free public Wi-fi Network in Canada with free Wi-Fi provided at all City of Mississauga facilities and an additional 350 outdoor hotspots across the City.
This will be critical in keeping your employees connected to the office.
But being the most connected city also means a whole lot of other exciting things.
780 of our intersections are connected to the network through our Advanced Traffic Management System, along with 500 of our MiWay buses, our community centres, arenas, libraries and cultural facilities.
As we push forward with these exciting projects, we need to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring everyone in this City has the opportunity to grow and thrive.
2020 exposed the historic racial inequities and inequalities in our policing, justice and health care systems, as well as many of our other institutions.
“I’m more committed than ever to ensuring Mississauga is not only the most diverse place in the country, but also the most inclusive.”
That’s not just the right thing to do, it also makes good economic sense.
At the City of Mississauga, we passed Motion 207 to address anti-Black and anti-Indigenous Racism, which has been identified as an historic, pervasive, institutional and systemic issue in Mississauga.
As part of the recommendations, I’ve established a Black Caucus composed of Black community members to advise me on key issues facing the Black community.
In the spring, I will host a series of consultations open to everyone where we’ll work together to address some of the biggest issues facing the Black community . . .
Including City resources, health care, education, access to employment, housing, and supports for Black entrepreneurs.
I am also working with our City Manager, Paul Mitcham, on how we apply this important work to City programs and hiring practices.
Mississauga, this is the State of our City.
And despite the great challenges of the past year, there is a lot to be hopeful for.
Hopeful, because we are doing so many things right.
We are stabling the ship and continuing to move forward on so many important fronts.
“We are continuing to focus on the future, by creating the right conditions that will allow us to build back better.”
Mississauga, our strength is our diversity.
Both in our people and in our business community.
We are a city home to so many beautiful cultures and languages, a city that presents so many opportunities.
Our strength is in the compassion we have for one another, and in our willingness to lift each other up.
To think boldly and act decisively.
We’re a city that will continue to welcome new Canadians with open arms when our borders reopen.
We’re a digitally connected, smart city that is prepared for the future.
A city where innovation and businesses thrive and, most importantly, a place where people chose to be.
Where they want to live, work and raise a family.
Mississauga, the next year, the next decade, is for the taking.
Let’s build back better.
Let’s push forward together, as partners.