The following keynote address was delivered by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie during Trillium Health Partners (THP) and Trillium Health Partners Foundation (THPF) Annual Community Address:
“Good afternoon, everyone. My thanks to Michelle DiEmanuele and the professionals and volunteers from Trillium Health Partners…for the opportunity to join you for today’s Annual Community Address. We are proud to be home to Trillium Health Partners’ Mississauga Hospital…Credit Valley Hospital…and to be minutes away from the Queensway Health Centre. Each day thousands of people rely on quality, public front-line healthcare offered at all three sites. When Trillium succeeds, Mississauga succeeds.
“This afternoon I will share where Mississauga is heading, and what it means for our partners in healthcare. There’s no shortage of interest in Canada’s sixth-largest city. Mississauga is undergoing significant changes led by residents, local government and global trends.
“During the fifteenth century the Europeans had renaissance men. Ours is a renaissance led by men and especially women! There’s a groundswell of commitment by thoughtful, smart and engaged individuals who see themselves not as taxpayers…but as citizens with a commitment to serve the greater good…and who know Mississauga is among the very best cities in the world.
“Our revival is also being led from the top-down…with the work being done by Council and staff led by City Manager Janice Baker…Canada’s big city mayors; we met last week to discuss issues of local and national importance including combating the opioid crisis and building housing… and our partners in the Trudeau and Wynne governments…who understand the very real, present and urgent challenges facing Canada’s cities…and who are showing bold leadership by delivering unprecedented investments.
“We welcome news the province government has committed to expanding and renovating the Mississauga Hospital and Queensway Health Centre. This will strengthen the delivery of care and the work health providers do. We are at a critical time in our City’s history. From the building of transit and making crucial infrastructure investments, to planning for intensified developments, to greater cultural and artistic celebrations…to building a healthier community, and shifting to meet the needs of an ever-changing global economy.
“We are building a complete city.
A complete city is one where professionals can find well-paying jobs or launch new ventures. Where a night on the town means staying in town, where the environment is protected and people are encouraged to head outside and live healthy, active, lives, where students choose the University of Toronto Mississauga or Sheridan College as their first choice for studying…where people have access to reliable, affordable and seamless public transit…and access to the highest quality of healthcare no matter where you live.
“A complete city is a place where all people, no matter faith or ethnicity…are safe…healthy…have dignity…and can confidently participate in civic life…where residents are welcomed, invited and encouraged to share and celebrate their culture for everyone to experience, appreciate and enjoy. Celebration Square is in the heart of our City for a reason…and I’m proud to announce that this popular public space has been recognized as one of five national winners of the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessible Cities Award Circle of Excellence Venue. The award is given to an organization whose space or place showcases best practices in accessibility.
In order to fund the quality public services we all rely on, we need a strong tax base. We are creating the right environment for targeted industries to thrive, compete and succeed. One industry I want to single out is life sciences. Mississauga is Canada’s second largest life sciences cluster by employment…home to over 430 life science companies…employing more than 25,000 people. Mississauga’s life sciences talent base has grown 25 percent in the past 10 years. It helps when you have Ontario’s largest hospital system in your backyard!
“During our recent First Look – Angel Investor Networking Event we had a number of healthcare start-up companies on hand, meeting with investors, taking their businesses to new heights. In 2015, I joined Susan Amring, Director of Economic Development, for an Investment Mission to South America. We held over one hundred meetings, in three countries, over eight days, connecting with hundreds of businesses…including Biolab, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Brazil. Our investment mission is paying dividends.
“Biolab has chosen Mississauga as home for its new research and development centre! This state-of-the-art facility will span nearly 13,000 thousand square feet. It’s a $56 million dollar investment that will create 40 high-paying and high-value jobs, many in research and development. It will add more than $45,000 dollars annually to our tax base. We first met with Biolab in 2015 while attending the BIO International Convention in Philadelphia – the world’s largest life science conference. Working with our partners in the Ontario government’s trade secretariat, we were able to open a meaningful dialogue with Biolab and convince them that Mississauga was the best place to expand their business. And in two weeks, we look forward to building on our success by returning for the 2017 BIO International Convention…where we will once again pitch Mississauga’s success story with industry experts and investors, and build relations in the life sciences industry.
“Our international meetings with representatives from the pharmaceutical industry allow us to see what other governments are doing to support scientists and entrepreneurs and to hear directly from industry leaders on the role government can play to help them compete. Listening was at the heart of our Life Science Strategy Roundtable. We brought together business, academia and industry associations to answer one question: how can we position Mississauga to become the largest and most diverse life sciences cluster in Canada? Trillium Health Partners took part in the discussions. We will continue to work with Trillium to implement the goals outlined in our new five-year Life Sciences Cluster Strategy…which is guiding our efforts to maintain Mississauga’s competitive advantage. Many of the life-saving innovations, medications, and treatments that will help generations of people to come will be developed right here in Mississauga.
“Our partners at UTM are at the vanguard of helping Mississauga maintain and expand its competitive advantage in this important industry cluster. Under the inspiring leadership of scientist Professor Patrick Gunning…UTM is launching the new Centre for Medicinal Chemistry. This one of a kind Centre has one goal…to make unprecedented medical breakthroughs to combat cancer and other lethal diseases. Professor Gunning and his research team design compounds that kill cancer cells. UTM’s rapid growth is proof that our unprecedented 10 year – $10 million dollar grant – to build the Innovation Complex is working. UTM injects over $1.3 billion annually into Peel Region, with the bulk of the share going to Mississauga. Mississauga recently partnered with UTM to launch our edu-roam virtual campus.
What is edu-roam? Through technology, students and faculty members from UTM, and post-secondary visitors from around the world…can access online institutional resources at City of Mississauga locations including libraries, community centres, arenas, transit terminals and public spaces. It makes life easier for students to complete classes in chemistry, biology and study for the MCAT. And just yesterday we held another graduation of medical students from the Mississauga Academy of Medicine, based at UTM. This institution works closely with Trillium Health Partners to train the future medical professionals of this community, here in our community.
“A complete city is a connected city.
“Public healthcare must be accessible by public transit. Mississauga is building a complete rapid transit network that will get you to your medical appoints on time. I invite you to visit mississaugamoves.com to learn more about all the exciting transit projects we have on the go. Through Mississauga Moves, the City of Mississauga is developing a comprehensive strategy that will outline how we will move and get around our city, and region, for the next 25 years Its scope is all demographics, with an emphasis on providing transit to seniors. A big part of Mississauga Moves is the Hurontario Light Rail Transit initiative. Fully funded through a $1.4 billion dollar commitment from the Province of Ontario…the Hurontario LRT will bring 20 kilometres of fast, reliable, rapid transit.
“The proposed Queensway and North Service LRT stops will be walking distance from Mississauga Hospital. This is in addition to both the Credit Valley and Mississauga Hospital MiWay bus terminals which take patients right to the front doors of these hospitals for treatment…and the Queensway area which is also serviced by MiWay. It’s not enough for a complete city just to have transit…transit must be accessible, available and affordable. Public transit is the great equalizer. It allows citizens to fully enjoy the cities many health and wellbeing facilities, programs and services.
Council and staff have championed the MiWay Affordable Transit Pilot Program – a plan that is supporting our most vulnerable. The MiWay Affordable Transit Pilot subsidizes 50% of the cost of a monthly PRESTO pass to low income individuals in Mississauga. As a result of this service, residents were overwhelmingly more inclined to use public transit to help find a job, access education and get medical treatment. Smart, targeted investments in transit ensure people get where they need to go quickly, affordably and easily.
“Complete cities, are well planned cities. Over the next two decades, Peel will need to accommodate approximately 150,000 jobs and over 300,000 people. We are building a livable, walkable city…fully connected by cycling trails, public transit and accessible to hospitals and clinics…home to mixed-use residential and commercial developments…healthy, clean and both green and creative spaces…and neighbourhoods that safeguard and respect local history and embody Mississauga’s forward-looking values as an inviting, inclusive and engaging place people choose to be in.
“Our urban renaissance is building a bridge from our past, as an edge city…and into the future, as a leading edge city. We have undertaken a series of studies and community consultations for residents and business to share their intimate and local knowledge. Inspiration Lakeview, Inspiration Port Credit, 1 Port Street and the Imperial Oil Lands…will change the face of south Mississauga forever. These plans will usher in exciting new ways for people to fully embrace and appreciate the untapped potential of our sprawling waterfront. It’s called Lakeview for a reason! And its potential will be realized.
“Vision Cooksville, Dundas Connects, and Downtown 21…are plans for world-leading residential and commercial communities that will shape Mississauga’s future identity in much the same way Central Park shaped New York’s. And when we say we’re going downtown, it will be to downtown Mississauga. The Shaping Ninth Line initiative is reimagining northwest Mississauga…whereas the MyMalton plan is shaping our northeast…and in between is the future of Britannia Farms…a 200-acre green space that will have a student focus on environmental, agricultural and healthy living programs.
“Complete cities are committed to elevating the quality of life for residents. Our push for public transit and thriving neighbourhoods is part of how we want people to interact and come together.
Housing is directly linked to health. Council is moving forward with a made in Mississauga plan that provides bold, innovative and practical strategies…to give people more options for affordable, stable and safe housing here in Mississauga. Our strategy is called – Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga. This strategy aims to create the right environment for private and non-profit housing builders to provide a range of housing that is affordable for all…with a focus on middle-income households earning between $55,000 and $100,000 dollars. The draft strategy proposes a target of 35 per cent of all new development to be affordable. In Mississauga, the supply of housing that is affordable to a variety of household incomes is decreasing. Many middle-income households in Mississauga are struggling to enter the housing and rental market due to rising prices.
“One in three households spends more than 30 per cent of their gross household income on housing, which is considered unaffordable. The gap between the cost of housing – and the ability to afford housing – is growing at an alarming rate. Mississauga has a role to play to address affordable housing needs. We can bring about change through three key ways:
- First, establishing supportive planning policy and regulations which encourage a range of housing types and sizes
- Second, adopting by-laws that regulate and control demolition of affordable buildings
- Third, appealing to other government for changes to policies, programs and for financial support needed to improve the local situation in Mississauga
“We recently held an important housing forum to hear from residents and stakeholders about the draft strategy we have put forward. All options are on the table to ensure people who want to live, and build a better life for their families in Mississauga, are able to do so. We know that if people do not have safe, affordable housing, they cannot start their lives, find a good job, or engage in the community in a real way It also has a substantial impact on a person’s mental health and physical wellbeing.
“If you can’t find housing, or over-extending yourself to get into the housing market, other essentials like nutrition and fitness are compromised. In this tie of skyrocketing housing prices, we must start looking at building homes for people, not just investment opportunities. Housing is the solution to all most all of our societal problems. The City of Mississauga understands this and we’re ready to do our part.
Complete cities are healthy cities.
“This brings me to the incredible work being undertaken by the Healthy City Stewardship Centre…a coalition of concerned and compassionate organizations, governments and individuals, including Trillium Health Partners, who are working to elevate the quality of life of Mississauga residents. Our collected efforts led to a new report on the status of local youth employment, entitled – Unlocking Potential: Empowering Our Youth Through Employment.
“What we have in this report is a blueprint to help our young people reach higher and for them to be active, engaged and complete citizens. The provincial government has committed over 750,000 dollars to help implement the recommendations laid out in the report.”
“The work undertaken by HCSC validates the initiatives we have undertaken to help our young people reach higher, with the annual Mayor’s Youth Employment Expo and Mayor’s Youth Speaker Series. In recent months, the members of HCSC have also turned their energy, ideas and efforts toward improving access to mental health care. We are challenging employers across Peel Region to make mental health a priority by taking helping spread awareness of CivicAction’s MindsMatter…an online tool that helps employers quickly determine how they are supporting their people’s mental health and how they can take the first or next step to do more.”
“According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 42 per cent of Canadian business leaders want to address mental health. MindsMatter is a call to action and an important place to start. Next week, the HCSC will be hosting a full-day community engagement event – the Better Health Matters Forum. The forum will bring together residents, community organizations, agencies, local businesses, and government partners to share stories and ideas for action about building better health in our City and region.”
“As we look toward the weeks, months and years ahead …we will continue to work with organizations like Trillium Health Partners to press ahead with our plans to build a complete Mississauga. We are building a city where people can find a good-paying job or launch a new business venture of their own…raise a family that has access to first-rate public services like libraries, and community centres and hospitals, undertake an education from kindergarten to medical school, and be free to celebrate their faith and cultural identity with their neighbours and the broader community. We are strategically and thoughtfully planning for a more promising future by engaging the community about how our City will grow, and by how our neighbourhoods can bring people together.”