The City of Toronto recognizes the significant value of the post-secondary educational institutions that call Toronto home.

Toronto is the largest centre of education, research and innovation in Canada. The breadth and depth of Toronto’s world-renowned educational institutions and a highly educated population are integral to attracting the best businesses and the brightest minds.

The City is proud to partner with Centennial College, George Brown College, Humber College, OCAD University, Toronto Metropolitan University, Seneca Polytechnic, University of Toronto and York University via CivicLabTO on projects with mutually beneficial outcomes recognizing that complex city challenges can benefit from collaborative and multidisciplinary solution development.

The CivicLabTO Summit features the best minds from our eight higher education institution (HEI) partners in Toronto, City staff, elected officials and community organization representatives as they explore the pathways to a resilient, equitable city, the opportunities to address civic challenges by leveraging the expertise of Toronto’s post-secondary institutions, and highlight our collective successes. Prior to the Summit, a series of informal discussions with various thought leaders introduce key themes related to recovery and rebuild. The inaugural, two-day CivicLabTO Summit took place November 23 and 24, 2021. The next Summit is scheduled for Fall, 2023 with CivicLabTO Series conversations leading into that.

For more information and to view recordings of the discussions, visit

CivicLabTO Academic Summit News:

This key pillar of CivicLabTO and the City’s commitment to collaboration with our eight higher education institution partners is a student learning opportunity focused on municipal policy, service delivery and inspiring the next generation of municipal leaders.

Speaking to 3rd and 4th year students on a bi-weekly basis, City staff and elected officials raise awareness of the challenges facing the City of Toronto, the dynamic programs addressing the opportunities those challenges present and how we can shape the future together.

For insights into City of Toronto priorities and programs, the CivicLabTO Curriculum sessions can be viewed at

The City of Toronto, Toronto’s higher education institutions (HEIs), eCampusOntario, the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada have partnered to rapidly connect the expertise in HEIs to the City’s research needs.

This new model formalizes and facilitates HEIs project proposals to the City and allows the City to put forward research priorities to Toronto’s HEIs, in order to source multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams of faculty and student experts to help the City address research needs and inform public policy. In addition to assiting with procurement, the process also matches projects to provincial and federal research funding partners.

Learn more about the CivicLabTO research matching platform and the array of projects it has fostered at

Beyond COVID-19: Global Systems Gap Challenge

Humber College’s Beyond COVID-19: Global Systems Gap Challenge, in partnership with the City of Toronto, brought together more than 550 students, faculty, and industry leaders from around the world to help examine what’s needed for systemic and sustainable change, as we build the city of Toronto back better, together. Interdisciplinary teams of mentors and students from 33 different countries collaborated virtually using a systems thinking mindset to identify possible paths to future solutions in pressing urban challenges in the key recovery and rebuild priorities of Arts & Culture, Economic Development, Health & Wellness and Social Innovation.

In Fall of 2021 Humber College was globally recognized by The PIEoneer Awards, out of London, U.K., with the “Progressive Education Delivery Award” for the Beyond COVID-19: Global Systems Gap Challenge, which ran in partnership with the City of Toronto from May 17 – June 25, 2021.

The highly coveted annual PIEoneer Awards celebrate innovation and achievement across the global education industry. The Progressive Education Delivery Award recognizes education programs that have innovated how they teach and who they reach, that are unique, successful in their approach to teaching, and focused on the student’s life journey in the 21st century. 430 entries from around the world were judged by a panel of 43 international education experts.

AIMday and the Future of Livable Cities

In alignment with CivicLabTO, the City of Toronto is proud to partner with Toronto Metropolitan University on AIMday, which connects researchers with public and private organizations to advance solutions for sustainable cities. In 2021, the virtual event brought together 46 researchers in disciplines ranging from urban planning to computer science together with eight public and private organizations to explore innovative approaches to tackling urban challenges. The City of Toronto provided key questions based on its strategic priorities as well as staff representation in order to explore pressing issues such as:

  • What data gaps are present as we address the challenges that affect quality of life in cities and how is an equity perspective critical?
  • Whose voices need to be at the table to ensure full perspectives and policy as we address the challenges that impact quality of life in cities?

This partnership has initiated new connections and conversations in support of collaborative solutions and informed public policy.

In 2017, the City of Toronto signed formal MOUs with the eight public colleges and universities in Toronto. The MOUs formally “acknowledge that by collaborating, they make the City a better place to live, learn, work and prosper.”

From the MOUs:

Working together, the City and the University/College agree to identify opportunities to leverage resources and talent to meet broadly defined shared goals including but not limited to the following:

  • To exchange knowledge, data and research findings.
  • To support policy development through shared expertise.
  • To develop collaborative opportunities for engagement in areas of mutual expertise and interest.
  • To improve opportunities and outcomes related to making Toronto a better place to live, work and prosper.
  • To raise the profile of both the City of Toronto and the colleges and universities in the city as leaders and collaborators.

Toronto is home to four publicly funded universities and four community colleges which additionally have numerous satellite campuses located outside of the city. In 2019, nearly 275,000 students were enrolled in these schools.

Revenue for post-secondary institutions alone is $4 billion and the education sector directly contributes $15.5 billion to the regional economy and $8.8 billion to the City itself.

Toronto’s education sector is one of the largest in terms of employment, employing 119,000 people and accounting for $7.2 billion in annual wages.

Toronto is a leader in academia at all levels, a progressive city with one of the most highly educated populations in the world. We host about one-quarter of international students in Canada with an annual rate of growth of more than 11 per cent in the last decade.