Ontario is home to broad mix of vibrant communities that make the province a great place to live. But Ontario’s communities today also face a range of challenges – from strains on transit and housing, to out-of-date digital infrastructure, to declining populations. It will take increased partnership and cooperation among educators, planners, employers, government and more to face these challenges and ensure all Ontarians benefit from healthy and thriving communities.
- Strong communities are the heartbeat of the province. They are places where Ontarians can start a business, enjoy enriching arts and culture, be active and raise a family.
- Ontarians are rightfully proud of their communities, whether it’s a city, suburb or rural town.
- But Ontario’s communities are confronting significant challenges. Crowded highways and overburdened transit are costing the economy and keeping Ontarians away from their home and stuck in a commute. Meanwhile, rural and Aboriginal communities sometimes lack the necessary infrastructure, including broadband access, to take full advantage of the advances taking place in Ontario’s economy.
- Universities are partners in facing these challenges, and regularly work with government and community partners to offer research and expertise that help lead to better outcomes for all: livable cities, faster commutes, affordable housing, thriving arts and sports scenes, customer-friendly public services and beautified streetscapes.
- Communities draw from the expertise at universities, often calling on faculty research to inform policy decisions. And universities gain strength from their communities, whose employers, governments and neighbourhood organizations offer vital support to students and regularly partner with faculty on research projects.
- Ontario’s universities have a $115-billion impact on Ontario’s economy, much of which takes the form of spending in our communities. And as part of a well-rounded education, we encourage students opportunities to volunteer and work with community partners.
- Today’s universities strive to be more than centres of learning. They are integrated into the social fabric of their community, serving local citizens and partnering with local institutions and businesses to improve quality of life for all.