January 6 , 2023

Today, Mayor John Tory, Councillor Gary Crawford, Chair of the Budget Committee, Councillor Shelley Carroll, Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee, and local Councillor James Pasternak, Chair of the General Government Committee, made an announcement on investments in the 2023 budget for lifesaving paramedic and fire frontline services.

Mayor Tory announced the 2023 budget proposes to invest $315.7 million total in Toronto Paramedic Services, which is a $21 million or 7.1% increase over the 2022 budget.

This funding will allow the City to:

  • Hire up to 250 paramedics in 2023, with 66 of those positions being newly created to meet the needs of a growing city.
  • Invest $10 million into Community Paramedicine and Emergency Call Mitigation—which provides primary care and referrals, at-home medical care for seniors and vulnerable residents, and first-response community education;
  • Invest $35 million into Emergency Medical Dispatch and Preliminary Care—which includes life support instructions for when Torontonians are most in need;
  • Invest $4.3 million for nuts-and-bolts of ambulatory care including medical supplies, lifesaving medicine, and vehicle parts and maintenance; and

For the Toronto Fire Service, Mayor Tory announced the 2023 proposed budget investment of $523.9 million in total – including around $20 million in continuing COVID-19 impacts.

This funding will allow the City to:

  • Hire up to 200 firefighters in 2023, with 52 of those positions being newly created to meet the needs of a growing city. These 52 positions are for the first year of the City’s three year plan to add 156 new firefighter positions with Toronto Fire Services.
  • Invest $6.8 million into Fire Safety Education—which includes community awareness programs like the Alarm for Life program for residential smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, school fire safety programs, and public campaigns to reduce risk to life and property through education;
  • Invest $30.6 million into fire prevention, inspection and enforcement—which includes ensuring property owners are adhering to fire safety legislation, and inspections of new and existing buildings to ensure they are compliant with provincial safety codes; and

Mayor Tory is proposing these crucial investments so that when Torontonians are in an emergency or a time of crisis where they need ambulatory or fire services, hardworking frontline paramedics and firefighters will be there for them in their moment of need.

Mayor Tory said “Like all Torontonians I am so grateful for our paramedics and firefighters and the incredible sacrifices they make every day to keep our residents safe. In budget 2023 we’re protecting these crucial frontline services, and adding more paramedics and firefighters, so they can continue the lifesaving work they do day in and day out.”

As part of the announcement Mayor Tory echoed the messages of Toronto Fire Service’s recently launched campaign encouraging all Torontonians to check the batteries of their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to save lives and keep their loved ones safe.

Budget Committee Chair Crawford expressed his support for the investments and the 2023 budget’s focus on protecting services saying “We’ve worked hard on this budget to ensure nuts-and-bolts services Torontonians rely upon, don’t have to be sacrificed. Today’s announcement is just one more step we’re taking to keep residents safe and protect services.”

Economic and Community Development Committee Chair Carroll also expressed her support saying “Paramedics and firefighters are on the frontlines providing lifesaving care to Torontonians every day. These investments in the 2023 budget ensure that Torontonians will get the vital supports they need, including fire safety education in our schools and at-home care for seniors and vulnerable residents across the City.”

Finally, General Government Committee Chair Pasternak echoed his support, and that of his residents, saying “Residents in my ward, and across the city, expect that when they are facing an emergency, our city’s hardworking paramedics and firefighters will be there for them. I look forward to working with Council to pass the 2023 budget so these crucial lifesaving services are protected.”

The new and continued investments announced today in frontline emergency services are just one pillar of the 2023 budget which is focused on protecting and enhancing Toronto’s frontline services, addressing residents’ concerns, continuing nuts and bolts municipal services, and ensuring life stays affordable in a challenging year while continuing to find savings and efficiencies where possible.

For more information on the 2023 budget process, please see here.