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Vision 2020: Building the City of Toronto’s Prosperity and Competitiveness
Councillor Thompson, in conversation with Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Jan De Silva, will delve into the vision and outcome it creates for Toronto and discuss examples as to how the City of Toronto is strategically leveraging private partnerships to implement both innovative and prolific solutions to public issues.
Councillor Thompson will outline building blocks of Toronto’s competitiveness, aspiration, prosperity and collaboration in building the city of tomorrow.
Councillor and Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson
Councillor Michael Thompson is Chair of Toronto’s Economic and Community Development Committee and a member of the Executive Committee. Now in his fifth term as Councillor, Michael has earned a reputation as one of Toronto’s hardest working and most effective political leaders.
In 2006, as Chair of the Scarborough Community Council, he led the campaign to create the first ever TTC transit strategy for Scarborough, a strategy designed to significantly expand and enhance public transit services for all Scarborough residents. Throughout his years on Council, Michael’s unrelenting drive for public safety in the face of increased gun violence ultimately led to the development of a city wide Community Safety Plan, a GTA wide police task force on guns and gangs, an increase in the numbers of police officers in the street, and a new young offender program designed to divert young people into jobs instead of jail.
Under the banner of getting things done, Michael is known to his constituents as a community builder committed to bring people together in a spirit of collaboration. He has led and assisted in the formation of local community associations, youth leadership initiatives and Business Improvement Areas, and holds regular public meetings to engage residents throughout his ward.
In addition to a strong focus on resolving local issues and serving his constituents, Michael’s commitment to developing Toronto’s city wide economy is longstanding. In his first term in office, he spearheaded the creation of the Wexford Heights Business Improvement Area and established a Job Fair that annually brought thousands of job seekers together with dozens of employers.
He maintains a widespread network of business relationships that has helped the City to enhance business retention, promote growth and increase private sector employment. His active engagement with business has helped speed the launch of new business ventures, resolved business residential conflicts and gained business participation in a wide range of community building initiatives. In recent years, the international connections he has developed and nurtured have played a significant role in attracting billions of dollars in new investment to the City, contributing to a more robust economy and substantial job creation.
Recently, Michael was a key member of a Toronto project team that successfully lobbied executives of Collision, one of the world’s leading high technology conferences, to choose Toronto as the conference’s home for 2019 to 2021, bringing 25,000 technology executives and investors to the City and injecting tens of millions of dollars into Toronto’s economy.
Michael is a firm believer in the critical value of culture as a builder of strong communities. When he first took office, he co founded the Taste of Lawrence Avenue East Festival, which brings together tens of thousands of people each year to experience local performing arts and cuisine. In 2013, he led the City’s efforts to create a new arts and culture plan that provided a bold, new roadmap for cultural vitality, strengthened arts spending and launched a new era of collaboration among arts and culture groups across the City. Michael was also the first Chair of Toronto’s Music Advisory Committee, and played a key role in efforts to attract international film and television productions and studio investments to Toronto.
Michael received his public school education in Scarborough, and his BA from Concordia University in Montreal. Prior to entering politics, he earned his business credentials as an entrepreneur in the business and financial services sector. In 2018, he successfully completed the ICD Directors Education Program offered by the Rotman School of Management and Institute of Corporate Directors.
He is the recipient of the African Achievement Award for Excellence in Politics, the York University International Award, the Jain Society of Toronto Community Award, the Bob Marley Award and the Bob Marley Lifetime Achievement Award.
He continues to work with a number of charitable organizations including participation in the LIUNA Local 506 scholarship fund.
Janet De Silva
President and CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade
Jan De Silva is a seasoned international business executive with a proven track record of excelling in on the ground leadership roles.
As President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Jan is spearheading efforts to make Toronto one of the most competitive and sought after business regions in the world.
Prior to joining the Board, Jan spent 14 years in leadership roles in Asia. She served as CEO of Sun Life Financial’s Hong Kong subsidiary and Mainland China joint venture. She co founded and was CEO of Retail China Limited, which was acquired in 2010. She later served as Dean of Ivey Asia, leading the Hong Kong campus and Asia operations of Ivey Business School of Western University.
Highly respected for her business advocacy and government engagement efforts, Jan has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, a Woman of our Time by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post and made the Canadian Board Diversity Council’s inaugural Diversity 50 list. She currently sits on the boards of Intact Financial Corporation, Blue Umbrella Limited and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance.