City council with a view to community services

Monty Laskin is the CEO of Caledon Community Services.

On Monday, October 24, Caledon residents return to the polls to elect their mayor and regional and regional councillors, individuals who aspire to provide leadership to a growing community. Each believes they have the skills and temperament required to represent Caledon well. They believe they are the right people to make the right choices among competing priorities that will have a significant impact on everyone’s quality of life. Arguably, no level of government touches our daily lives more than our municipal government. Decisions at this level affect our children’s education, our willingness to work, and our aging parents’ ability to live independently in Caledon. Municipal governments touch all ages and all stages of our lives.

In the run up to the 2018 election, Caledon Community Services (CCS) invited registered Caledon candidates to a meeting to highlight the challenges facing our accessible transportation services. The City was preparing its Transportation Master Plan; we wanted the new council to take into account the most at-risk residents of the community. We hear daily from those we serve that life’s challenges are multiplied exponentially without access to services. We understand that the interests of our clients are best served by advice that prioritizes the challenges of vulnerable and at-risk individuals. What better legacy for a council than to say that it left no one behind? It’s hard to do. Everything is always difficult before it is done.

I share this example as one of many highlighting the importance of Caledon Council taking into account the priorities of the social services sector. CCS hopes to see the new board align some of its spending with these priorities. United Way of Greater Toronto, valued and trusted thought partner and investor in CCS’ Exchange, makes this same point in its 2022 campaign: municipalities have the power to make a huge difference in poverty reduction through the priorities they choose to support now. and on the way forward.

Support is not just about money. Of course, cash is king. And compassion, collaboration and belief are king when building a civic-minded community that creates opportunity and hope for all. It is true that a community is only as strong as its weakest link.

A conversation with retired councilor Richard Paterak stuck with me many years ago. He reminded me that the municipality is counting on the Federals to constitute an army! The thing is, not everything is a local Caledon responsibility. We both understood that the province and the region fund health and social services. Most importantly, we agreed that CCS stakeholders, many of whom require supportive community services, are municipal taxpayers and as such their challenges must be in the interest of our municipal government. Councilor Paterak appreciated the value of community organizations working closely with council. This powerful tandem helps community services support the exact same constituents that a city government is elected to serve.

Tossing your hat into the ring for any public office takes courage, commitment – ​​and a servant leadership approach to representing those you are elected to serve. It does not go unnoticed that many candidates invest their time in community service. They volunteer in many ways, from promoting events to serving on boards of directors. I know firsthand how helpful the Mayor and Councilors can be in helping a social service agency like CCS respond to community challenges. Our organization is continually blessed with advisors and candidates who support our work. They do good things. I appreciate that they value their involvement with CCS to provide a window into a better understanding of the electorate they serve.

The alternative, a board that does not specifically care about people experiencing poverty, homelessness and unemployment, is a lost partnership opportunity.

A strong and cohesive city council, informed by its local social services lens, is an imperative for the well-being of community services, which many Caledon residents rely on to create a better life for themselves now and in the future. coming.

Monty Laskin is the CEO of Caledon Community Services. Contact him at [email protected]