Chiara Padovani—Our Vote for City Councilor, York South-Weston
With the municipal election just around the corner, Climate Justice Toronto is thrilled to endorse Chiara Padovani for city councilor of York South–Weston. Chiara is a social worker and human rights activist with a strong voice for positive changes in transportation, housing rights, and climate change action and mitigation. Through her commitment to these important social and environmental issues, we feel Chiara is aligned with CJTO’s goals of addressing climate change by tackling systemic issues through community-oriented solutions. We love her commitment to grassroots organizing and working with communities on specific issues that affect them. Several weeks ago, some CJTO members had the chance to speak with Chiara about her campaign. Chiara’s initiatives and ideas in the following six key areas demonstrate why she is our choice for city councilor.
Chiara supports creating a safer and more accessible transit experience. Our current public transit system is difficult for someone with a disability to navigate, and costs of public transit are alienating the people who rely on it the most. Chiara believes that an important way of making transit more accessible is to remove fare inspectors and, eventually, make public transit free. Chiara supports fully funding and enforcing VisionZeroTO, which is a plan for reducing traffic-related injuries through measures such as reducing speed limits, creating protected intersections, and making turn signal adjustments. She also wants to improve bike lanes and snow removal services—two major issues impacting transportation, particularly for low-income individuals and communities.
Inclusionary zoning is an important issue for Chiara. This means she is committed to planning policies that create mixed income developments to support folks with low to moderate incomes, specifically with the goal of a zero net loss of affordable rental units. Many Torontonians have experienced the effects of an increasingly unaffordable city over the pandemic, making Chiara’s commitment to affordable housing extremely important. She believes building on the current infrastructure is central to overcoming economic displacement and gentrification of areas such as YSW, especially as the area is set to become the second largest transit hub in Toronto. The York South-Weston Tenant Union, of which Chiara is a founding member, supported the open letter to John Tory concerning the pressing need to implement inclusionary zoning.
Chiara has been protesting against above guideline rent increases in YSW and fighting for true rent control. Dream, a real-estate company and owner of at least one apartment building in YSW and 86 residential buildings total in the City of Toronto, has the largest number of above guideline rent increases in the city. Chiara can be found with the tenant union at on-the-ground protests and sharing their progress on Twitter.
Chiara wants to strengthen the city’s Fair Wage policy to include a $20 minimum wage and 10 paid sick days for all workers employed by the City of Toronto or employed by one of its contractors. These are desperately needed changes that will support people who are most marginalized and affected by our capitalist system. Chiara wants to create jobs for youth through community benefits agreements with public infrastructure programs and private developments. Further, Chiara supports an increase in the establishment of and investment in workforce development programs that support youth experiencing systemic barriers and discrimination, with paid employment and valuable opportunities for career development at the City of Toronto.
Flooding Infrastructure & Prevention
YSW has faced flooding issues for several years. With the increasing impact of climate change, we can only expect these events to become more frequent and more destructive. Chiara is a leader in the initiative York South-Weston Neighbours for Flooding Action, which advocates for flooding prevention, emergency preparedness, and climate action. Chiara promotes sustainable infrastructure, such as not building in areas like floodplains and reducing emissions to mitigate climate change.
Early Childhood Development
Chiara wants more investment in early childhood development through the creation of more inclusive, accessible, culturally appropriate, and high-quality childcare spaces. This involves increasing the long-term sustainable investment in the development of youth-led and community-based youth development programs and after-school recreational facilities. Early childhood programs not only benefit the mental and physical wellness of children; they also provide much-needed support for families.
Chiara emphasizes the necessity of addressing the root causes of violence and crime in our communities. Despite increased funding for policing, violence and crime have not decreased in the long-term, and we actually see violence and crime increase when funding decreases for programs and workers who directly address the root causes, such as social services. For Chiara, this demonstrates that sustainable and meaningful investment in social programs proves more effective in reducing and preventing violence, and is considerably more cost-effective, than policing and incarceration.
Investing in these programs would involve the creation and support of programs like Community Crisis Support Service Pilot, which advocates for non-police response and interventions for mental health crises, wellness checks, homelessness, and evictions. There needs to be full, long-term funding of prevention, intervention, and risk mitigation strategies and programs aimed at the roots of poverty and violence, such as the Community Healing Project, restorative justice programs, and integrated supports for justice-involved youth. Finally, advocating for expansion of hospital-based violence intervention programs city-wide, such as BRAVE (Breaking the Cycle of Violence with Empathy), is another way of addressing the root causes of violence and crime in our city.
We’re really excited by Chiara’s commitment to building strong and resilient communities through her various initiatives, and we believe she would make an excellent councilor for York South-Weston. Learn more about this candidate at https://www.chiarapadovani.ca/ and mark October 24, 2022 in your calendar. Election day looms—do you know who you’re voting for?
Chiara’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/chipadovani
Progress Toronto’s open letter to John Tory for inclusionary zoning:
The Star. Transit Connections in Weston Mt Dennis Offer New Possibilities to Solve Chronic Problems. https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/08/20/transit-connections-in-weston-mt-dennis-offer-new-possibilities-to-solve-chronic-problems.html
Toronto350. Flooding Prevention in York South–Weston. https://www.toronto350.org/flooding_prevention_in_york_south_weston