January 6, 2023
Today, Mayor John Tory, Councillor Gary Crawford, Chair of the Budget Committee, Councillor Jennifer McKelvie, Deputy Mayor, and Councillor Brad Bradford, Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee outlined proposed investments in the 2023 budget to improve and protect nuts and bolts city services that Torontonians rely on.
Crucially this budget proposes to invest nearly $2 billion in gross spending for housing initiatives. Excluding ongoing COVID-19 expenses, this budget proposes $616 million in direct support from the City’s tax base for housing initiatives. These housing initiatives build on the historic 2023 Housing Action Plan proposed by Mayor Tory and passed by Council in December. These investments include:
· $3.5 million in new funding to fully support the implementation of legalizing multi-tenant housing;
· $7.08 million for the Eviction Prevention Intervention in the Community (EPIC) program;
· $18.85 million for the Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition program
· $146 million for operation of the City’s Housing Secretariat which includes housing development, revitalization, and improvement, and support for tenants; and
· $295.8 million for the City’s subsidy to Toronto Community Housing Corporation, as well as a further $10.8 million as they work to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19
The City’s budget will also call on the other levels of government to fulfill housing obligations under their jurisdiction, including:
· $48 million to support wrap-around services for 2,000 units of supportive housing from the Province—a planned increase of 900 more units than 2022—under its responsibilities for mental healthcare
· $91.9 million to support refugee housing costs from the Federal government, under its responsibilities for immigration and refugees
These investments come as the City of Toronto works to implement the Housing Action Plan, which, once fully implemented, will help create housing on every point of the housing spectrum including deeply affordable and supportive housing which are crucial to support vulnerable residents and create pathways out of homelessness to long-term permanent housing.
The proposed investments to improve, protect, and preserve nuts-and-bolts city services through the 2023 budget include:
● Protecting recreation centre hours during shoulder seasons;
● Keeping outdoor pools and rinks operating on their full schedules;
● Continuing to deploy seasonal parks works teams for Spring and Fall cleanup;
● Keeping all wading pools open;
● Protecting and keeping all youth spaces open in City facilities;
● Increasing the Toronto Public Library budget by $5 million or 2.4% over the 2022 budget, and continuing COVID-19 support of $3.6 million;
● Protecting the Winter Maintenance budget which honours Mayor Tory’s campaign commitment to continue providing expanded sidewalk snow clearing across the City; and
● Ensuring seasonal washrooms and fountains in City parks are open earlier in the spring and later in the fall—through an added investment of over $2.86 million.
Mayor Tory said “This budget, I’m focused on protecting and improving the nuts-and-bolts services Torontonians rely on and following through to build housing and keep our city safe. From keeping pools, rinks, and youth spaces open, to snow clearing on sidewalks across the city and building more housing, I’m focused on protecting municipal services.”
Budget Committee Chair Crawford expressed his support for the investments and the 2023 budget’s focus on protecting services saying “While this is a difficult year, we worked hard with City staff to find internal efficiencies so we wouldn’t have to sacrifice the nuts-and-bolts services Torontonians cherish. We are focused on continuing our prudent fiscal management, while we address a challenging year.”
Deputy Mayor McKelvie also expressed her support saying “Today’s announcement follow’s through on Mayor Tory and all of Council’s commitment to deliver on transformational housing commitments and protection of frontline services that all our residents depend on. These investments protecting the spaces that make Toronto a place our residents are proud to call home, will make our city more inclusive for all.”
Planning and Housing Committee Chair Bradford echoed his strong endorsement saying “Today’s announcement shows us clearly delivering on our commitments to address the affordability and housing crises facing residents and to get much needed housing built. These significant investments will allow us to deliver on the 2023 Housing Action Plan to ensure Torontonians have access to safe, and affordable places to call home.”
Today’s announcement to protect and improve nuts-and-bolts services, have been made possible thanks to the Mayor, Councillor Crawford, and City Staff’s careful, diligent work including through offsets and program reviews. Mayor Tory also reiterated today that he remains committed to ensuring any increases are kept as low as possible, and below the rate of inflation—which he has successful done with the careful, below inflation increases of water rates and solid waste fees approved by Council in December, as well as the proposed increase in TTC fares which.
This fare increase, in addition to the proposed $53 million increase of the City’s subsidy to the TTC, which is taxpayer funded, will assist with recently announced investments to improve safety and security, and offer relief to Toronto’s most vulnerable residents, as well as transit expansion and ongoing operations that will cost an additional $60.1 million.
The investments announced today are just one pillar of the 2023 budget which is focused on protecting frontline services, addressing resident concerns, and ensuring life stays affordable in a challenging year while continuing to find savings and efficiencies where possible.