Karen Stintz wants Toronto to be Canada's 'start-up capital'

Karen Stintz says Toronto must build on the strengths of the city and its people in order to drive economic growth.
Karen Stintz revealed her economic growth and jobs platform today. 10:17

Karen Stintz says Toronto must build on the strengths of the city and its people in order to drive economic growth.

To that end, the mayoral contender says the city must operate more efficiently and take steps to make Toronto a top place for businesses to start and then thrive.

"City Hall is at its best when it recognizes that bureaucrats don't deliver jobs. Entrepreneurs create jobs," Stintz said Wednesday when announcing her economic growth and job platform.

Stintz wants to make Toronto the country's "start-up capital," a goal she would pursue by merging the city's economic development groups and by providing support for local entrepreneurs and start-ups. 

She also wants more support and better co-ordinated services for new Canadians, who often struggle to get established and have their credentials recognized. Stintz also wants to see help these residents navigate the red tape involved with setting up businesses.

"We attract so many well-educated entrepreneurial immigrants, but they come here and they get bogged down with bureaucracy and they can't get their qualifications recognized, they can't contribute their skills to our local economy, they can't get their business licences approved," Stintz said.

"The Toronto Region Board of Trade estimates that this costs our economy $2 billion a year. And it's not only the money that it costs, it's the lost hope that these individuals have because they can't do what they're good at and they can't bring their best skills to our city and create more jobs."

Tackling Toronto's congestion issue is also a part of Stintz's plan, which she would address by making investments in technology and transportation projects. Stintz would also appoint a transportation czar to lead the city's transportation system.

"We need to win the war on congestion," said Stintz.

In terms of efficiencies at the city, Stintz would push departments and agencies to find savings and look to control the costs of capital projects through public-private partnerships. Several of the proposals she outlined Wednesday included merging or streamlining city services or agencies.

Stintz said she would also limit residential property tax increases to the rate of inflation.

"People need to be able to predict from year to year what their expenses will be," she said.

The three-term councillor is one of dozens of candidates seeking to be elected as mayor this fall.

Other high-profile mayoral contenders include former Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow, the incumbent mayor Rob Ford, former city councillor David Soknacki and former Ontario PC leader John Tory.

At her announcement, Stintz cast herself as the candidate with the best ability to deliver results.

"I have the vision, I have the experience, I have the leadership to get results for Torontonians and to move this city forward," she said.

The Oct. 27 election is less than three months away.