Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Emerging Leaders Network has heard loud and clear that rising leaders from across the GTHA are looking for opportunities to engage with decision-makers and contribute to important conversations around relief and recovery. On May 19th, CivicAction brought together nearly 100 rising leaders for an ELN Digital Dish with Mayor Bonnie Crombie to discuss COVID-19 in the City of Mississauga.
Here are the five key takeaways.
1) The biggest issues that rising leaders have seen in Mississauga during COVID-19 are employment, housing, and a struggling economy.
Employment is a major concern, with many experiencing job loss or insecurity as a result of COVID-19 and little confidence in the availability of employment prospects in the near future. With that comes precarious income security and increased concern over the affordability of housing and availability of subsidized housing. These concerns are exacerbated by worries over the struggling economy and uncertain economic future.
Other vital issues shared by rising leaders were racism and racial profiling, social isolation and mental health, safety on public transit and access to increased public spaces for biking and walking.
2) Relief for SMEs is vital to both the social and economic recovery of the city.
Rising leaders recognize the local small business community as vital to the city’s culture and economy. Yet small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been some of the hardest hit by COVID-19. Many are calling for economic supports for SMEs and entrepreneurs to be a key priority in the short-term as they continue to struggle to stay afloat, and in the long-term in recovery planning.
3) Rising leaders want to see programming that equips young professionals for the future of work.
With many young professionals facing job insecurity or unemployment and recent graduates seeing a lack of prospects in the job market as a result of COVID-19, support is needed from the City to prepare rising leaders for the future of work. Opportunities for skills training, networking, mentorship, and job placements will help equip young professionals with the tools and knowledge to navigate a shifting future of work.
4) Resiliency and sustainability are seen as vital to COVID-19 recovery planning.
The pandemic and its socioeconomic implications have been a clear example of the importance of building cities and communities that are resilient to challenges and changes. As we look towards recovery, rising leaders want decision-makers to keep resiliency and sustainability at the forefront of future city design. A resilient future is particularly vital amongst vulnerable and marginalized communities.
5) There is a strong appetite among rising leaders for increased civic engagement.
Rising leaders are looking for more opportunities to continue to connect and collaborate with decision-makers, have their voices heard in important conversations around COVID-19 relief and recovery, and engage directly in Mississauga’s recovery efforts by contributing their knowledge and ideas.
Click here to watch Digital Dish recordings, including the Digital Dish with Mayor Crombie and the Digital Dish with Mayor Tory.
Interested in hosting your own discussion with your network on COVID-19 recovery in our region? Bring friends, family, or colleagues together for Digital Dish, a campaign by CivicAction to get GTHA residents socially connecting and civically engaged while staying home. With Digital Dish, virtually link-up with friends, family, or colleagues to share a meal or coffee break and have a meaningful discussion and share what you discussed back with CivicAction. Click here for more information.