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Project To Enhance Social Inclusion Across Canada
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 7, 2004

TORONTO, ONTARIO--Five cities in Canada are nearly a year into a project designed to help people be and feel more included in their communities.

The Inclusive Cities Canada project began in November of last year, to "strengthen the capacity of cities and communities to create and sustain inclusive cities for the mutual benefit of all people," according to the project's website.

To achieve that goal, social planning councils have been developed in Vancouver, British Columbia; Edmonton, Alberta; Saint John, New Brunswick; Toronto, Ontario; and Burlington, Ontario. Diverse groups of people who have traditionally been left out of discussions about community inclusion make up the councils.

"We'll be calling for an urban agenda with a social dimension," Christa Frieler, national coordinator of Inclusive Cities Canada, told the Toronto Star.

The councils are currently in the process of gathering information about citizens' perceptions of the 'inclusivity' of their communities, focusing on diversity, human development, civic engagement, living conditions and community services, including transportation and mobility.

That information will be compiled, and recommendations will be presented during a national conference next spring.

The next step will be to take action -- to build upon those recommendations and strengthen inclusion in those cities by the end of the project in April 2006.

Organizers hope the initiatives that the councils develop will be just the beginning of lasting changes toward more inclusive communities.

"If we can develop enough momentum now, we'll be able to keep moving forward," said John Campey, executive director of Toronto's Community Social Planning Council. "These issues aren't going to go away."

"The missing voices in our cities" (Toronto Star)
Inclusive Cities Canada Project (Community Social Planning Council of Toronto)

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