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City Council Candidate Survey

Jeff Upton – Councillor at Large Candidate



1-What kind of activities/organizations have you participated in that provided

   a benefit to our community?


     Crime Prevention Council – Current Chair

·         Youth Inclusion Program for the City of Thunder Bay (recent $5.6 million dollar grant announcement)

•     Drug Strategy Committee

•     respect. Initiative Committee

•     Situation Table – founding member

•     Social Justice Initiatives i.e. equity and inclusiveness initiative, accessibility committees, coalition to stop human trafficking

·         White Ribbon Campaign – Local organizer and leader of education program for boys and men for stopping violence against women

·         Everyone Matters Day- Co-chair…Stopping bullying in our community

·         Rowan’s Law Day – Chair…to increase concussion education awareness in the community

·         Mediator, collaborator, conflict resolution and restorative practice for families and individuals

·         Collaborative community work based upon the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Actions and the Seven Youth Inquest Recommendations

·         Common Voice Northwest Economic Development

·         Community Volunteer – Elder Abuse Committee, Family Services Thunder Bay Board, Confederation College Fitness Centre Board, Community Coach and Official, Film Festival, United Way of Thunder Bay

·         Proud administrator and educator working with children, youth and families



2- What are your priorities for the Ward/City?


My vision for the city is clear…creating a vibrant, inclusive, safe, environmentally and economically viable community for all.


Priority 1

People: collaborating with all citizens through community organizations and services that address the social determinants of health (addressing issues of poverty, housing, education, health and employment); encouraging a respectful, rich and vibrant community culture.



Priority 2

Places: Environment; parks; roads; community development for recreation and healthy lifestyles.


Priority 3

Things: Reconciliation and intergovernmental relationships; economic development; good governance.




3- How do you view the role of publicly owned services in our society and

    what value do you place on these services?


I believe that publicly owned services can be used to promote economic growth. This may occur in order to provide goods and services to people through the provision of economic infrastructure in order to promote services and growth to areas that may not be able to provide them on their own accord due to limitations such as vastness and limited populations. It may also be utilized to maintain employment. I value publicly owned services and see the role they play in balance with private entrepreneurship.



4- Where do you stand on collective bargaining and the right to strike?


I have belonged to unions, federations, councils and management in my career. I have negotiated contracts from both sides of the table in my career. I believe in collective bargaining and the right to strike. I see the collective bargaining process as a collaborative problem-solving way to obtain solutions by bringing people together for the benefit of all parties.


5- Where do you stand on contracting out and privatization of public services?


Contracting out in a collective bargaining process should only occur when a memorandum of agreement has occurred between both labour and management.


Regarding privatization of public services…each situation that considers moving a public service private needs to be evaluated upon its own individual merits. I would be against moving public to private if it had a negative impact upon people in the community.


6- What are your thoughts on community economic development and job



Community economic development is important as it will address the social determinants of health (addressing issues of poverty, housing, education, health and employment) that impact people’s lives. I am looking towards creative economic development that addresses issues in the community and yet at the same time creates positive economic opportunity.


I would also support a community education plan that informs people about why we should support local business such as: when a consumer buys local, significantly more of that money stays in the community; you get to know the people behind the product; it allows us to keep our community unique; encourages personalized better customer service. Customer service and competitive pricing are important to citizens wanting to support local business.




7-What is your view on a $15.00 an hour minimum wage?


This is a complex issue as there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. Generally, I would say that I am in favour of a $15 minimum wage as it will help to address the social determinants of health (addressing issues of poverty, housing, education, health and employment) that impact people’s lives.


8- Do you think City council should support a “Municipal Living Wage Policy?”


Again, another complex issue. I would support a collaborative research project into the matter to determine the strengths and opportunities a municipal living wage policy would bring to the community.



9- How would you promote equity and inclusion as a councillor?


As a leader and educator on the Lakehead Public Schools Equity and Inclusive Education committee I work on supporting equity and inclusion matters with youth and our community. Some examples include being a former chair of the Accessibility Committee, supporting our Youth Embracing Diversity in Education (YEDE) Student Conference and supporting the Caribbean African Multicultural Association of Thunder Bay. As a councillor my leadership on these matters will continue to be visible and observable in the community through my positive actions.



10-Is the city doing enough to include our indigenous population in planning

    and development?


It is important to continue to build upon the collaborative journey of working with Indigenous communities to build trust and respect into our relationships, and to create opportunity and security for Indigenous people. Using the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Seven Youth Inquest Recommendations as guiding information along with input from local Indigenous leaders steps will be undertaken to move our community forward with planning and development.


I believe that the building of relationships between the City of Thunder Bay, Indigenous residents and neighbours can occur by:


Building Trust…development of relationships.

Respect…understanding, communicating and learning.

Transparent…listening and open.

Involved…active support of each other.

Invested…assisting and collaboratively working towards solutions together.


I am pleased to be a representative member of the many partners that created the Youth Inclusion Program for the city of Thunder Bay and recently received a  $5.6 million dollar operating grant. This program is designed to help students from remote First Nations who are attending high school in the city to feel more welcome and supported.




11-Do you think it is important to liaise with labour on community matters,

     and what is your commitment to labour representation on City established

     boards and committees?


Yes, it is important to liaise with labour on community matters.

I believe that labour representation is important on committees as it is important to hear all voices and perspectives as we work together in a collaborative fashion to create the best solutions and opportunities for our city.



12-What do you see as a solution to racism in our city?


This is a very complex question. The solution is for the community to always work towards a solution and to not accept racism…challenge it, question it and call it out when it occurs.


I am pleased to be a guiding member of the Respect Initiative. The City of Thunder Bay, the Anti-Racism & Respect Advisory Committee and the Crime Prevention Council embrace and promote respect. The goal of the City's respect. Initiative is to encourage people to treat each other with respect.


I am also pleased to support the work of the Anti-Racism & Respect Advisory Committee. This committee is established to develop a plan of action to combat racism in the community of Thunder Bay. The Committee is available to Administration and City Council to provide advice on current policies and practices, diversity and racism, and such new initiatives that might from time to time be developed. I look forward to working with them on their future initiatives.





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