Ontario has been named one of 20 finalists for the 2019 All America City Award by the National Civic League. The award, given to 10 communities each year, celebrates and recognizes neighborhoods, villages, towns, cities, counties, tribes and regions that engage residents in innovative, inclusive and effective efforts to tackle critical challenges. This year’s theme was “Creating Healthy Communities through Inclusive City Engagement.”
“These finalist communities are building healthy communities through collaboration with residents, businesses and other stakeholders. While many people are concerned about the ability of our nation to improve lives, these communities are showing that great things can happen at the local level,” National Civic League President (NCL) Doug Linkhart said.
In its application to NCL, Ontario cited the establishment of the Healthy Ontario Initiative – an intentional, authentic civic engagement framework designed to advance health equity throughout the city. Through the initiative, residents are able to help shape conversation around health and physical environments and inform policies and decision making.
Healthy Ontario brings together stakeholders from throughout the city and is part of a long-term vision adopted by the City Council in 2007 to promote a complete and prosperous community. In 2010, the Council also adopted “The Ontario Plan,” which includes goals and policies for health, education and culture to address the social determinants of health and continue to guide the Healthy Ontario collaborative.
“We’re honored to be part of this exclusive group of cities recognized by the National Civic League,” said Mayor Paul S. Leon. “Ontario has always been a model city, and in the case of the Healthy Ontario Initiative, we’ve shown that collaboration and inclusive civic engagement can create a paradigm shift that ultimately leads to a healthier, more prosperous community.”