Twenty Torontonians will use their firsthand experience with the conditions and impacts of living with poverty to inform the development, implementation, and monitoring of the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

More than 350 residents applied to be part of the Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG). The selected members come from communities across the city and have diverse experiences with poverty. They represent the population groups most affected by poverty as well as people currently living in poverty and people who have overcome it.

“The LEAG is important in order to share our narratives about our lived experience, successes, failures and insight into how the three levels of government work or don’t work for citizens trying to make it back from the very margins of society,” said Heather Shand, a LEAG member. “Together we will form a strong voice, build bridges within city hall, form new working relationships and most importantly, inform policy with our vast, incredible and inspiring stories.”

LEAG Members 2017-2019

The LEAG includes residents who reflect the diversity of the city. In selecting members for the LEAG, consideration was given to ensure good representation from equity-seeking groups. LEAG members include people with diverse ethno cultural and gender identities, as well as sexual orientations. Members also include racialized people, new immigrants, people with disabilities, Indigenous people, and people with experience of the justice system. The members’ insights into a range of programs and issues including Ontario Works, unemployment, discrimination and the impacts of violence will inform the Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy.  The biographies below highlight some of their interests and expertise.