Vision, Mission, System Principles, & Ethics
Our vision is that newcomers in the Toronto South area feel welcome, safe, supported and empowered in achieving their dreams in Canada. Services and resources available in the area effectively support newcomers in achieving full social, cultural, economic, and political inclusion. Newcomer contributions are acknowledged and valued, and Toronto South’s neighbourhoods and communities are enhanced as a result of the equitable participation of all community members.
In support of this vision, The Toronto South LIP’s member organizations are committed to exploring new ways of communicating, collaborating, coordinating and partnering for the benefit of newcomers in the Toronto South area. We are committed to working together to provide a collaborative network of coordinated information, programs, supports, and services for newcomers that reflect our Service Values by being:
- Easy to Navigate
- High Quality
- Accountable to newcomer communities
- Responsive to changing needs
Our collaborative network of services for newcomers is guided by the service values noted in our Mission as well as by the following system principles:
- A “No Wrong Door” Approach – supporting newcomer service entry choices through a variety of service providers (e.g. ethno-specific, multicultural, francophone, women-specific, youth-specific, single-service, multi-service, large, small, LGBTQ, etc.)
- Collaboration – Robust and effective coordination and collaboration, including strong and reliable service referrals
- Welcoming Environments – Service environments that are welcoming, inclusive, family-friendly, and anti-oppressive
- Cultural Competency – Understanding and operating from the cultural and social perspectives of the communities that we work with
Service Equity – Availability of suitable services regardless of immigration status, length of time in Canada, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural or religious background, economic status, or other similar human rights ground
Guiding Values and Ethics
In January 2013, our Partnership Council also adopted the following Statement of Guiding Values & Ethics to encourage effective ways of working together as members of the Toronto South LIP.
Statement of Guiding Values & Ethics
The Toronto South LIP’s members are committed to working together in ways that are consistent with the following values and ethics:
- Respect – Respect for newcomer assets and contributions, and respect for each other’s unique and essential contributions to an effective service system
- Diversity – Valuing and reflecting diversity and cultural differences, and recognizing this as a strength we can build on
- Honesty and Integrity – Being honest and transparent in our communication and striving to fulfill our commitments
- Trust & relationship-building – Being willing to learn from every interaction, build our relationships, and foster an atmosphere of trust
- Newcomer-focus / Client-focus – Prioritizing the best interests of clients and newcomers
Inclusiveness – Including diverse points of view in decision-making
- Anti-racism, anti-oppression and gender equity – Modeling principles of anti-racism, anti-oppression and gender equity in our work with each other and in our service environments
Location of Operations
West Downtown Toronto
Downtown west Toronto has a long and historic tradition as a newcomer reception area for immigrants from around the world. The very names of the neighbourhoods – Chinatown, Little Italy, Little Portugal, Corsa Italia – refer to their nature as centres of immigrant settlement for most of the past century. From its earliest days, the area has been home to waves of immigrants and refugees from Europe and China in the 1940’s, ‘50’s and ‘60’s, and from Latin America, South Asia and Africa in more recent decades. This ethnic diversity has been sustained and is visible throughout the area.
The neighbourhoods in downtown west Toronto occupy a geographic area of approximately 26 square kilometres (16 square miles) and represent a microcosm of the diversity that is Toronto. This patchwork includes:
- neighbourhoods with high ethnic concentrations and cultural identities (such as Chinatown, Little Portugal, Corso Italia);
- vibrant commercial hubs (such as Kensington, Queen Street West);
- well established old neighbourhoods (such as Junction, Bloor West, Parkdale);
- the main financial hub of Toronto;
- the waterfront and entertainment districts;
- Canada’s largest university – the University of Toronto;
- the University Health Network and many other health care facilities; and
- the seats of both the provincial and municipal governments.
For our purposes, downtown west Toronto includes the official City of Toronto neighbourhoods south of St. Clair Avenue and between Yonge Street and Parkside Drive/Keele Street (see map below).
East Downtown Toronto
Recent immigrants are more concentrated in some areas of East Downtown Toronto, specifically in the neighbourhood of St.James Town and Regent Park. These two neighbourhoods represent over half of the recent immigrants in the East Downtown Toronto area.
St. James Town is Canada’s most densely populated community, and one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods anywhere in North America. Due to its cultural and minority demographics, St. James Town is often thought of as “the world within a block”. It is also one of Toronto’s poorest neighbourhoods. St. James Town is largely filled with immigrants – especially those who arrived in the 1990s.
Regent Park is a neighbourhood located in downtown Toronto. It is an extremely culturally diverse neighbourhood, with more than half of its population being immigrants. Regent Park is Canada’s oldest social housing project, having been built in the late 1940s. The average income for Regent Park residents is approximately half the average for other Torontonians. The majority of families in Regent Park are classified as low-income, with 64% of the population living below Statistics Canada’s Low-Income-Cut-Off Rate, compared to a Toronto-wide average of just over 20%.
Church and Wellesley is a community that is home to a large LGBTTQ population. It is roughly bounded by Gerrard Street to the south, Yonge Street to the west, Charles Street to the north, and Jarvis Street to the east, with the core commercial strip located along Church Street from Wellesley south to Alexander.
Moss Park is a neighbourhood just east of downtown Toronto. Moss Park was originally the heart of Toronto’s industrial area, home to large factories and the densely packed homes of the workers they employed. In the 1960s a large swath of these buildings were demolished to make way for the Moss Park public housing project, a group of three large towers at Queen and Parliament Streets run by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. After the deindustrialization of the 1970s almost all the factories left the area, and it became one of the poorest in the city. The area immediately around the housing complex remains quite poor, and this is the area today typically meant when referring to Moss Park. This neighbourhood is almost exclusively rented out, and houses many low-income families. Moss Park is also home to several homeless shelters.
Toronto East LIP
The Toronto East LIP area covers the eastern portion of the old City of Toronto and what was the City of East York. The physical boundaries of the Toronto East LIP are roughly Victoria Park Avenue in East, Lake Ontario in the South, the Don River Valley in the West and O’Connor Drive in the North.
The area includes 11 City-defined neighbourhoods and was home to 151,430 people in 2006, of whom 41% were immigrants and 9% were newcomers (arrived in Canada in the five years before the census).
While Toronto East, as a whole, has a proportion of immigrants slightly less than that for the City of Toronto , higher percentages of immigrants and newcomers are concentrated in four clusters that have distinct ethnic compositions. These clusters have incidences of low income higher than the average for the City of Toronto and much higher than the level found in the rest of Toronto East. The incidence of low income seems to be correlated to the occupations in which immigrants and newcomers find employment.
The three top regions of origin for newcomers settling in Toronto East are Southern Asia (35%), Eastern Asia (22%) and Europe (19%), however the proportions for each of these groups in the four clusters varies considerably.
Funders and Supporters
The Toronto South LIP is generously supported by:
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
- LIP Council and Working Group member agencies