President of U of T Meric Gertler and Toronto City Manager Peter Wallace have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines how the city and university will work together to achieve common goals through strengthening current relationships and building future ones.

Hosted by Gertler, the signing event took place at City Hall and celebrated the “historic” partnership. Mayor John Tory, Councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam, Joe Cressy, and Jim Hart, senior city officials, and some of U of T’s urban scholars were among those in attendance.

The MOU was signed on October 2 as an effort to further “problem solving and policy development, communications and funding opportunities, advocacy with Queen’s Park and Ottawa, and international engagement, among other things,” Gertler wrote in a statement on the agreement. Specific goals include helping the city reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals and increasing equitable access to affordable, healthy food via policy development.

“Toronto and its namesake university provide a perfect illustration of the ways in which the relationship between a post-secondary institution and its host city-region is fundamentally symbiotic; the idea that a strong university helps build a strong city, and vice versa – a strong host city helps a university become even stronger,” the statement reads.

Wallace told U of T News that U of T’s research provides Toronto’s staff and elected municipal officials with inspiration for improving the city; U of T professors also sometimes utilize the city’s resources for research.

The research of Steven Farber, an assistant professor at the Department of Geography and Planning, for instance, will work with the city on evaluating Toronto’s upcoming Fair Pass Program initiative to make the TTC more affordable for low-income residents.

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