What is social infrastructure?
From health care to education, refugee programs to libraries; public services like these form the social foundation of a livable and equitable Toronto.
“Social Infrastructure” includes the range of ‘public goods’ – education, child care, community social services, and health care, among others – that individuals need to be happy and to reach their full potential. It is both ‘hard’ infrastructure – schools, community centres, hospitals, public housing – and ‘soft’ infrastructure – the actual delivery of services like child care, education, recreation, settlement and health care.
In 2010, the investment in social infrastructure committee launched the Public Services for All campaign. The campaign is encouraging Torontonians to take action to ensure our governments do not succumb to pressure to sell off or degrade our valuable public services. We must strengthen Toronto’s social foundation, not dismantle it. For more information.
In 2009, the committee supported the Community Social Services Campaign to improve government investment in non-profit organizations that provide community services. In 2009, the committee also supported campaigns to improve the working conditions of child care providers and expand access to affordable child care to more families.
Why is social infrastructure important to good jobs?
From the “good jobs for all” perspective, investing in social infrastructure is important for three main reasons:
• Investment in social infrastructure creates and maintains jobs that can be ‘good jobs’ – permanent, well-paid, safe, and rewarding for all.
• Social infrastructure provides a range of public services that enable a decent quality of life for individuals, families and communities. Equitable access to quality schools, child care, healthcare, recreation and other community services make it possible to live a reasonable life on a reasonable income.
• Adequate social infrastructure creates a platform of opportunity from which all residents of Toronto can build a good life for themselves and their children – a lack of investment in social infrastructure creates a situation where too many residents – particularly racialized and other marginalized – fall behind.
A decaying social infrastructure exacerbates inequalities in our community. As schools, hospitals and community centres are less able to provide quality service, the wealthy can purchase these services – private schools, privatized health care, private recreational and social opportunities. Lower income families and individuals have to settle for second rate or no services – creating a widening gap not just of service, but of opportunity.
Quality jobs, quality services, and critical investment for stable and healthy communities.