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CivicLabTO Curriculum

This interactive and informative pillar of CivicLabTO is a student learning opportunity focused on municipal policy, service delivery and inspiring the next generation of municipal leaders, as a key element of the City's commitment to collaboration with the higher education institution partners within Toronto. 

Undergraduate students from Centennial College, George Brown College, Humber College, OCAD University, Toronto Metropolitan University, Seneca College, University of Toronto and York University are introduced to City staff and elected officials as part of their respective civics-focused curricula.  Through a series of presentations, informal discussions and Q&A, City of Toronto representatives speak to the programs that they lead and the possibilities ahead. 


Learning objectives include:

 

  • Deepening the students’ awareness of the challenges and opportunities facing the City of Toronto, particularly in the areas of post-COVID resiliency and recovery, including mobility, vulnerable communities, planning and adapting public spaces, arts, culture, and climate change and a green recovery

  • Raising awareness of how city hall functions and how City programs contribute to addressing challenges and opportunities.

  • Fostering an understanding that city hall belongs to the residents of the city working democratically to pursue the common good.

For insights into City of Toronto priorities and programs, the CivicLabTO Curriculum sessions can be viewed below.

2022 Sessions Summary
Session 1. The City’s Strategic Priorities and the Role of Local Government

Focused on municipal policy and services; highlighting the City's strategic priorities and its role as local government and providing context for the sessions to follow.

Speakers:
Joe Mihevc, Professor, York University
Tracey Cook, Interim City Manager, City of Toronto
John Elvidge, City Clerk, City of Toronto 
Kelly McCarthy, Deputy City Clerk, Secretariat, City of Toronto
 

Session 2. A Well Run City & Intergovernmental Affairs

Providing insights into the City’s financial planning, its relationship with other orders of government and the transition to a new Council in an election year.

Speakers:
Leslie Wee, Professor, George Brown College
Stephen Conforti, Executive Director, Financial Planning, City of Toronto
Karen Jones, Director, Intergovernmental and Agency Relations, City of Toronto
Mike Pacholok, Deputy City Clerk, Member Services & Program Support, City of Toronto
 

Session 3. Building an Equitable City 

This session is focused on the challenges inherent in building a more equitable city and how City of Toronto programs are addressing those opportunities.

Speakers:
Shane Walker, Professor, Centennial College
Denise Andrea Campbell, Executive Director, Social Development, Finance & Administration, City of Toronto
Yolande Davidson, Director, Equity and Human Rights, People and Equity, City of Toronto
 

Session 4. Community Resilience – People, Housing and Neighbourhoods 

A discussion on shaping the city’s neighbourhoods including housing and transportation as social determinants of health.

Speakers:
Aditi Mehta, Professor, University of Toronto
Stephanie Malcher, Manager, Strategic Programs, Social Development, Finance & Administration, City of Toronto
Kanchan Maharaj, Senior Engineer, Cycling & Pedestrian Projects, Transportation Services, City of Toronto
Sonya Bourgeois, Director, Toronto Drug Strategy (Acting), Toronto Public Health, City of Toronto

Session 5. Art, Culture and the Public Realm – City Building 

Exploring the interdependencies between a vibrant arts and culture community and city building.

Speakers:
Dr. Sara Diamond, Professor, OCAD University
Pat Tobin, Director, Arts & Culture Services, Economic Development & Culture, City of Toronto
Ben Macintosh, Manager, Cultural Partnerships, Economic Development & Culture, City of Toronto
Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner & Executive Director, City Planning, City of Toronto
 

Session 6. Climate Action & Resilience 

Highlighting the important work and key priorities within the City of Toronto’s TransformTO Net Zero Climate Action Strategy.

Speakers:
Elizabeth Fenuta, Professor, Humber College
Megan MacLean, Project Lead, Environment and Climate, City of Toronto
Ariana Foyle, Project Lead, Environment and Climate, City of Toronto
Becky Katz, Manager, Transportation Services, City of Toronto
 

2021 Sessions Summary
Session 1. The City’s Strategic Priorities and the Role of Local Government

The first session in the Common Curriculum focused on municipal policy and services; highlighting the City's strategic priorities and its role as local government and providing context for the sessions to follow.

Speakers:  
Deputy-Mayor Ana Bailao, City of Toronto
Chris Murray, City Manager, City of Toronto
John Elvidge, City Clerk, City of Toronto
Stephen Conforti, Executive Director, Financial Planning, City of Toronto
Manjit Jheeta, Director, Strategic Partnerships, City of Toronto
Joe Mihevc, Visiting Professor, York University

Session 2. Building an Equitable City

This session focused on the challenges inherent in building a more equitable city and how City of Toronto programs are addressing those opportunities.

Speakers: 
Leslie Wee, Professor, George Brown College

Manjit Jheeta, Director, Strategic Partnerships, City of Toronto
Alika Curtis-Clarke, Consultant, Equity and Diversity, City of Toronto
Srijoni Rahman, Consultant, Equity and Diversity, City of Toronto
Jennifer Lafontaine, Consultant, Indigenous Affairs, City of Toronto
Yao Togobo, Community Development Officer, City of Toronto

Session 3. Community Resilience 

Guest speakers discussed how the City of Toronto is building community resilience. 

Speakers: 
Shane Walker, Professor, Centennial College

Wayne Chu, Manager, Poverty Reduction Strategy, City of Toronto
John Smith, Community Development, City of Toronto
Mohamed Shuriye, Manager, Community Development, City of Toronto
Domenico Calla, Manager, Health Access & Equity, Toronto Public Health
Valesa Faria, Director, Housing Secretariat, City of Toronto 
Manjit Jheeta, Director, Strategic Partnerships, City of Toronto

Session 4. Mobility and Public Transit 

The City's role in mobility and public transit was highlighted, offering students the opportunity to engage with key leaders shaping transit policy and programs. 

Speakers: 
Cherise Burda, Executive Director, City Building, Toronto Metropolitan University
Pamela Robinson, Professor, Urban and Regional Planning, Toronto Metropolitan University

Mike Layton, City Councillor, City of Toronto
Michael Haine, Manager, Policy & Analysis - Transportation Planning, City Planning, City of Toronto 
Shalin Yeboah, Director, Program Management & Planning, Transit Expansion Office, City of Toronto
Becky Katz, Manager, Cycling and Pedestrian Projects, Transportation Services, City of Toronto
Manjit Jheeta, Director, Strategic Partnerships, City of Toronto

Session 5. Cultural Resiliency 

Explored the City's role in fostering vibrancy in the arts and culture communities. 

Speakers: 
David Roberts, Director, Urban Studies, University of Toronto
Sally Han, Manager, Cultural Partnerships, Economic Development and Culture, City of Toronto
Susan Wright, Deputy Director, Toronto Arts Council, Toronto Arts Foundation
Neil Brochu, Supervisor, Collections & Outreach, Museums & Heritage Services, Economic Development and Culture, City of Toronto
Magali Simard, Program Manager, Film Sector Development, Film & Entertainment Industries, City of Toronto

Session 6. Environment, Climate Change and Green Recovery 

A discussion of climate change and the City's green recovery plans - how climate change is impacting Toronto and what is being delivered in that space at the program and service level.

Speakers: 
Gus Lyn-Piluso, Professor, Seneca College

Jennifer McKelvie, City Councillor, City of Toronto
Nancy Ruscica, Director, Environment & Energy, City of Toronto
Jane Welsh, Project Manager, Environmental Planning, City Planning, City of Toronto
Rob McMonagle, Senior Advisor, Green Sector, Economic Development & Culture Division, 
Michael Skaljin, Manager, Policy and Planning, Solid Waste Management, City of Toronto
Manjit Jheeta, Director, Strategic Partnerships, City of Toronto