Public advisory group established to assist with City of Toronto’s poverty reduction efforts

February 27, 2017

Twenty Torontonians will use their first-hand experience with the conditions and impacts of living with poverty to inform the development, implementation and monitoring of the City’s poverty reduction initiatives.

More than 350 residents applied to be part of the Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG). The selected members come from communities across the city and have diverse experiences with poverty. They represent the population groups most affected by poverty as well as people currently living in poverty and people who have overcome it.

“This is an exciting opportunity for residents, staff and political representatives to work together towards effective and meaningful change,” said Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale), the City’s Poverty Reduction Advocate. “The LEAG will be an invaluable resource by bridging the conversation between communities, by promoting City services and poverty-reduction related activities to local residents and by educating and informing Council and staff of the realities of living in poverty in Toronto.”

The first meeting of the advisory group took place last weekend. The group will meet regularly over its two-year term to provide information and advice to City staff, as well as to contribute to the implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy.

“LEAG is important in order to share our narratives about our lived experience, successes, failures and insight into how the three levels of government work or don’t work for citizens trying to make it back from the very margins of society,” said Heather Shand, a LEAG member. “Together we will form a strong voice, build bridges within City Hall, form new working relationships and most importantly, inform policy with our vast, incredible and inspiring stories.”

More information, including biographies of LEAG members, is available at

Interviews with LEAG members can be arranged for members of the media.

TO Prosperity: Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy is a concrete, 20-year plan to address the immediate needs of low-income residents, create pathways to prosperity, and drive systemic change. Unanimously approved by City Council in 2015, TO Prosperity is informed by the expertise of people with lived experience of poverty. The strategy has 17 recommendations for improving housing stability, services access, transit equity, food access, and the quality of jobs and incomes.

TO Prosperity requires the involvement of more than 30 City divisions and agencies, as well as other orders of government, the private sector, labour, community organizations and residents.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada’s 150th birthday with “TO Canada with Love,” a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at and on Instagram at

Jennifer Wing
Strategic Communications


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