Michael Manu

Ward 36

Budget Committee

 City of Toronto

100 Queen Street West, 10th Floor, West Tower

Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Thank you Budget Committee, Mayor, and Councillors for the opportunity to present my

deputation. My name is Michael Manu, and I am currently a resident of Ward 36. I am advocating for the

interests of the youth of Toronto with the Toronto Youth Cabinet.

The City of Toronto is rapidly changing, and as a young person, it is very exciting to see. The city

has become more diverse - so much so that for the first time ever in 2017, our population consisted of a

majority of foreign-born individuals. There are important and needed - albeit, overdue - capital projects

that are finally underway and will be hopefully completed on time and on budget in the near future.

However, we still need to make continued progress so that everyone in the city can experience all it has to

Offer.

Regarding the 2018 Budget, it is disheartening to see some of the vital programs that are still for

up for consideration by the Budget Committee, and not already included. Throughout the budget process,

the Toronto Youth Cabinet has been asking council to at least fund its $41 million dollars in

Commitments.

I admire the city's ambition to reduce fatalities on our streets with Vision Zero. However, it is

puzzling to see that the School Crossing Guard Program, which will cost the city a meager $775,500, has

not been included in the preliminary budget. I do not feel comfortable having my 13 year old brother

cross major intersections without the aid of a crossing guard during school hours due to the fact that


multiple lives have been lost on city roads. Specifically, there has been a severe neglect of pedestrian

safety in my Ward over the past couple of years. One of these deaths was as recent as December 21st, at

Kingston and Warden. The lives of young pedestrians should not be a topic of debate given the minimal

financial burden the city will bear to protect them from danger.

In my ward, there are currently 14 elementary and middle schools that are considered "Model

Schools", which highlights schools that are in neighbourhoods of concentrated poverty. My

neighbourhood, Scarborough Village, has been identified as a Neighbourhood Improvement area, and

there are many youth who live here, many of a visible minority.

More needs to be done to cater to our needs, such as the continued expansion and strengthening

of the student nutrition program, and additional funding for Toronto Public Library services such as the

Youth Hub, additional Sunday service, and Wifi Lending. The library for myself and many others provides a space to study school material, learn new things and meet with friends at Youth Hubs, such as the one at Cedarbrae Library. These programs are vital to youth living in poverty who often may go to school hungry, don't have adequate access to a computer or the internet, or live in hostile environments that make it unsafe and uncomfortable to meet in the public spaces of their neighbourhoods. As inequality in Toronto continues to worsen, it is paramount that the budget committee take action to fund these commitments for 2018 to support the less fortunate youth of the city.

Finally, as a youth volunteer, it is exciting to see that parents and youth are doing everything they

can to get into city programs. It is well documented that parents line up early on signup day for swimming

programs, camps, and others around the city. The disappointing thing about this is that many are not

successful in obtaining a spot in said programs, and the waitlists are becoming extremely long. CUPE

Local 79 has reported that the waitlist is just south of 200,000 applicants, which is simply unacceptable.

While not under the Poverty Reduction Strategy, these recreational programs are often the only feasible

option for low income families to enroll their children in extracurricular activities that enrich their

development. I implore the Budget Committee to address this issue. The Budget has listed it as an "Unmet

Demand", which is an unfortunate and brutally corporate way of handling another "Unmet Need" in

Toronto for our most disadvantaged youth.

I'm excited to live in a Toronto that embraces continuous improvement, innovation, and diversity.

It is important to note however that as the city evolves, not everyone is able to experience its new-found

benefits. The city needs to invest in the youth, especially those living in poverty. We love to brag about our

diversity and the value it generates for the city, but visible minorities are struggling to keep up as Toronto

becomes wealthier. And specifically within Ward 36, I am fearful of a future that does not see the

potential of our neighbourhoods realized because the city failed to invest in our young people today.

The Toronto Youth Cabinet asks that you think about Toronto’s youth and our futures, and fully-

fund your commitments. By funding important services that directly benefit students such as the School

Crossing Guard Program, and the various Poverty Reduction Strategy areas such as the Student Nutrition

Program and unfunded Toronto Public Library services, while addressing the unmet needs of those

wishing to participate in recreational programs, you will ensure that the needs of Toronto’s youth are

adequately met. The time has come to end the austerity measures taken by Council in recent history, and

plug Toronto’s $41 million funding gap for 2018.

Thank you,

Michael Manu