Sarah for Mayor


Sarah, I haven’t heard of you before. Who are you and why are you running?

I’m a lifelong resident of Toronto, and like most residents, much of my work to improve the city has been done without fanfare in the media. I’ve been the executive director of a transportation nonprofit, working with universities and large corporations to solve their commuting challenges. I’ve volunteered everywhere from fun fairs to food kitchens. I’ve been a safety crusader who’s gotten improvements for pedestrians on local streets, and a successful advocate for green space, safe streets and rapid transit. I’ve learned about these issues through a BSC degree at McGill and coursework at Ryerson and U of T, and now I’m supporting my children through their own educational journeys through Toronto public schools. This video gives you a glimpse of what I see possible in this campaign, and if you’d like to read more about me, you can read my blog about why I’m running.   

What is your approach to housing in Toronto?

Housing 3 million people and counting in our city is a challenge that doesn’t just have one solution. Rather than promise easy answers, I offer a commitment to increasing housing in Toronto using all the available tools.  I’m open to them all – from zoning reform to increased investment to innovative housing solutions. From co-ops to condominiums, or tiny homes to towers, there are solutions available that can be specifically tailored with the full participation of residents in decisions affecting their neighbourhoods. As mayor, I’ll do everything I can to eliminate barriers to housing creation while making sure our neighbourhoods have the amenities they need to support all residents. 

What is your approach to transit in Toronto?

High quality, reliable, safe and affordable transit is an essential part of an economically healthy, environmentally friendly, and socially equitable city. My goal is to rapidly expand transit priority on surface roads in Toronto, so that we don’t have to wait decades and spend billions of dollars to end gridlock. The only people who should be driving in Toronto are those who truly want to drive. People who don’t want to be driving should be able to leave parking spaces and road space for those who do, but only when they have a transit system that is fast, dependable and comfortable will it be a workable option.

When it comes to the cost of transit, we need to fund transit differently. Paying at the fare box is inequitable to those who can’t afford a car and must use transit to get to work or childcare. Making people pay involves costs related to administration and enforcement that do not give better service to riders and create an unwelcoming environment for transit users. Since getting people on transit is key to a healthy city, I now believe that welcoming all who want to ride the TTC with open arms is the way to go. We’ve introduced fare free transit for children. Next step, fare free transit for seniors. And from there, fare free transit for us all. We can work together on the best way to make it happen.

What will you do about crime?

For me, safety in our city is more than just how we respond to crime. Safety is about having strong communities where neighbours look out for each other, so that criminal behaviour doesn’t go unnoticed or unchecked. The city’s role, with leadership from the mayor’s office, is to prioritize our neighbourhoods and work to ensure all residents have access to housing, transit, public space and recreational and educational opportunities. Paying attention to these key areas is key to preventing crime at the source. Police should be there as allies to our communities’ efforts rather than a replacement for them. I will work with police to make sure they can do their job with residents in an atmosphere of mutual respect and support. 

What will you do to stop the garbage on Toronto’s streets?

While big issues like the availability of housing, or the state of transportation affect the lives of many residents, sometimes it’s the little things – like overflowing garbage bins, or plastic trash in our ravines, that can cause feelings of sadness or discouragement over the state of our city. I share the dismay of residents when I see garbage in our streets. But I also see opportunity. Toronto could be at the forefront of a truly zero waste approach by using a “bottoms up” planning and participatory approach. Such an approach can happen when government works with business and residents on a common goal of keeping our city healthy and beautiful, rather than trying to force change from the top down.  Dealing with garbage by making someone else handle our waste is the old way. The way of today is to take full responsibility for how and what we all produce, and the city’s job is to make it easy to do so. 

What will you do about the growing cost of food in Toronto?

Food costs are on the rise, and food insecurity is too – more and more people are turning to food banks in this city. Yet we live in a city where healthy and nutritious food could easily be available and affordable for all residents. The soils in our city are fertile, and our weather is perfect for growing a variety of foods. We have household gardeners and experts in growing techniques. We are surrounded by productive farmland, and we have access to a global supply system that brings us everything from coconuts to mangos. So there’s no need to have so-called “food deserts” in our city. My approach is to build on our strengths so that every neighbourhood can have a local grocer within walking distance, and residents can create edible landscapes close to them instead of having potential garden spaces paved or neglected.

What is your position on vaccine mandates and public health?

I believe firmly in the principles of public health, freedom of speech, freedom of choice and respect for human rights. I believe that blanket discrimination in employment – which the city’s current broad COVID-19 vaccine mandate does – is compromising the human rights of people who have made the decision either not to vaccinate or not to disclose that information. I will be leading with an emphasis on achieving public health through supporting the core determinants of health including adequate housing, opportunities for employment, strong connections to community, plentiful safe spaces and facilities accessible to all for physical exercise, and access to transportation, food, clean air and water. When it comes to vaccination or other personal health decisions, I believe residents can be trusted to consult with their own doctors or health care practitioners for the kind of individual health guidance they need. I believe politicians are unqualified to advise on or require the general public to take measures involving personal medical choices.

Stay tuned for more answers to your questions!

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