The Jane-Finch TSNS Task Force Community Response to the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy: What Neighbourhood Improvement Looks Like From the Perspective of Residents in Jane-Finch
In January 2015, the CITY Institute was invited by members of the Jane-Finch community to join a Jane/Finch community-led response to the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (TSNS). The TSNS is a municipal social development plan which sets a 2020 target date for “strengthening the social, economic, and physical conditions” in all of Toronto’s 31 designated Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIA). Each of the 140 neighbourhoods in the TSNS study was given a score ranging from 0 to 100. The lowest scoring NIA, with a score of 21.38, was the Black Creek neighbourhood, while the second lowest score of 24.39 was of the Glenfield – Jane Heights area, both of which are located within Jane/Finch.
We were asked to participate in the research team embedded within the larger Jane–Finch TSNS 2020 Task Force. This was a community-led examination intending to define what the “improvement” of Jane/Finch should look like, according to the community who live there. The project, with funding from a York University TD Community Engagement Centre Catalyst Grant and from the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, brought together York University Urban Studies undergraduate researchers Loren March and Shelby Kennedy (under the supervision of the City Institute Director Linda Peake) with a team of researchers from the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, the Community and Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP) at York University, other students from York University and Ryerson University, the Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women (EHCW) and local residents.
The team engaged in a participatory action research process with Jane/Finch community members until late spring 2015, the results of which can be seen in the newly released 55 page report, The Jane-Finch TSNS Task Force Community Response to the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy: What Neighbourhood Improvement Looks Like From the Perspective of Residents in Jane-Finch. The findings concluded that community residents in Jane/Finch have specific concerns and very clear goals with regard to neighbourhood improvement, but that there is a critical disjuncture between the TSNS priority indicators, the specific needs identified by the community, and the ability of the City to address those needs. These findings were presented at a July community meeting, attended by City Councillors Anthony Perruzza, Maria Augimeri, Georgio Mammoliti, and other city officials. The Task Force has since established an Action Planning Committee to discuss how to disseminate the report's findings, and to assist Jane-Finch resident groups in lobbying and working with their local representatives, in order to follow up on the recommendations with meaningful action.
Loren March, Shelby Kennedy and Linda Peake.
For the full PDF file please see the attached file: TSNS-Research-Report-August-12-2015