At the two-year mark of his term in office, Mayor John Tory announced that Councillor Michelle Holland (Scarborough Southwest) will take on a new role as the Mayor’s Advocate for the Innovation Economy. Councillor Holland will be championing the growth of Toronto’s technology and knowledge sector, with a focus on talent attraction and retention, increasing diversity and addressing the impact of workers displaced by technology.

The following is the direction that Mayor Tory provided to Councillor Michelle Holland in her new role:

Dear Councillor Holland,

Toronto and the surrounding region is a growing centre of innovation and technology. As the global economy changes, it’s more important than ever that our city stays on the forefront of this emerging sector, and establishes ourselves as a place where new ideas and new industries can flourish. The growth of this sector is a priority for Toronto and for me, and I am asking that you assist in this work as the Mayor’s Advocate for the Innovation Economy. 

Toronto is a city in the process of scaling up. We have a robust start up community, a diverse and highly educated population, a wealth of impressive post-secondary institutions, including leaders in Artificial Intelligence and design thinking. We boast world class incubators and accelerators, and we are the financial and corporate headquarters of Canada.

Combined, these ingredients provide great potential for our city and the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor. I want Toronto to be a place where people come to solve problems, have an impact and create new solutions. I believe the success of the technology sector in Toronto has the potential to transform our industries and benefit Toronto’s liveability and reputation as an arts city.

As the City’s advocate for the high tech and knowledge sector, I would like you to focus on:

  • Encouraging coordination and collaboration between the technology sector, government and corporate partners, incubators and post-secondary institutions;
  • Helping Toronto attract and retain talent;
  • Championing diversity within this sector, including better representation of women;
  • Working with private sector and government partners to develop reskilling initiatives, assessing and addressing the impact on workers who are affected or displaced by technological innovation.
  • Encouraging City divisions and agencies to embrace local technology and innovation to better serve the people of Toronto.

With your energy and interest, I know we will make great strides in championing the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor, and leveraging the success of this sector to the benefit of all Toronto residents.

Sincerely,

John Tory

Mayor of Toronto