Community Service System in Toronto Neighbourhoods: What Should the City Pay Attention To?

A summary of consultations with Torontonians
September 2011

Who should read this report?

Community organizations, community funders and other Torontonians who care about a strong Community Service System.

What is the Community Service System?

The collection of the non-profit and voluntary community organizations in neighbourhoods, the connections between them, and the programs and services they deliver to neighbourhood residents.

Key findings

Torontonians in this consultation had very similar views about what the City of Toronto should pay attention to, so that it knows whether the Community Service System is working well in a neighbourhood. Torontonians think that the City should pay attention to eight things:

  • Are programs and services available and accessible to residents?
  • Is funding for the Community Service System sufficient and stable?
  • Are residents involved in planning programs and services?
  • Are accountability and collaboration high priorities in the Community Service System?
  • Are staff and volunteers well-managed?
  • Are socio-economic outcomes improving for residents?
  • Is civic and social engagement encouraged through the Community Service System?
  • Are residents’ needs being met by the Community Service System?

Our findings suggest:

  • Torontonians want the Community Service System to offer programs that are accessible, available and well funded.
  • Almost everyone told us that “Accessible & Available Programs” and “Sufficient & Stable Funding” were the most important things for the City to pay attention to, to know if the Community Service System is working well in a neighbourhood.
  • Youth and people with up to a high school education have additional priorities – they want the Community Service System to help them to get jobs and become financially stable.
  • “Improving Social and Economic Outcomes” was a higher priority for youth (aged 18-24) and high school graduates than it was for other participants (i.e. adults aged 25-64 and people who had attended university).