January 4, 2023
Today, Mayor John Tory, Councillor Gary Crawford, Chair of the Budget Committee, and Councillor Jon Burnside, Chair of the TTC, outlined proposed investments in the 2023 budget that will keep Toronto safe, and will be presented to the TTC Board and Budget Committee next week.
Mayor Tory, Councillor Crawford, and Councillor Burnside announced investments to protect transit, one of the City services Torontonians rely on the most, and keep both riders and hardworking frontline TTC employees safe. These investments will ensure the City can:
● Prioritize TTC service on routes in communities identified as Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and areas that need increased service;
● Hire 10 additional Streets to Homes outreach workers to help vulnerable people on the transit system;
● Hire 50 more TTC Special Constables—a substantial increase that will increase focus on safety and security; and
● Increase cleaning in streetcars on busiest routes.
Beyond these investments, understanding the considerable pressures facing Toronto’s most vulnerable residents, Mayor Tory announced that TTC fares will continue to be frozen for seniors and all monthly passes, and the City will move to expand the Fair Pass Transit Discount Program making 50,000 additional low-income residents eligible.
These investments build on groundbreaking initiatives started by Mayor Tory including the establishment of the Fair Pass Transit Discount Program, allowing children under 12 to ride transit for free, and free two hour transfers, all which make life more affordable for Torontonians most in need.
The City subsidy (what taxpayers fund directly) is going up $53 million and all of these much-needed investments to improve safety and security and offer relief to Toronto’s most vulnerable residents, as well as transit expansion and ongoing operations, will cost an additional $60.1 million.
Following through on Mayor Tory’s campaign commitment to keep any operating budget tax increases below inflation, fares will be increased by 10 cents to cover these much-needed investments—a well-below inflation increase of 3.1%—after having been frozen for two years.
The 10 cent fare increase applies to both cash and PRESTO card single fares. Fares for seniors, for Fair Pass program users, and monthly and annual passes will be frozen, and will not go up.
Additionally, Mayor Tory reiterated his calls to other levels of government for a new, sustainable, long-term operating funding model. This is all the more important given the persistent impacts of the pandemic and to support the City’s efforts to create more transit-oriented, lower-carbon communities with more housing.
Mayor Tory said “Investing in our transit system is one of my top priorities for the next four years. While this is a challenging year for the city, we are investing to keep transit safe, improve service, and support seniors and low-income residents. Protecting nuts and bolts services residents rely on and expect us to deliver is my priority throughout the 2023 budget.”
Budget Committee Chair Crawford expressed his support for the investments and the 2023 budget’s focus on protecting services saying “The investments we’re announcing today into improving transit service and keeping riders safe are much needed and speak directly to the concerns of Torontonians. This month we will be rolling out a budget that protects frontline services while meeting a challenging year without making the affordability crisis worse for Torontonians.”
TTC Chair Councillor Burnside also expressed his support saying “The investments we’re announcing today reflect the needs of residents, of TTC workers, and of the transit system itself. I’m confident with these investments and focused improvement of services we are setting up our transit system to be safer, more reliable, and more accessible for all.”
Including today’s announcement, the City’s subsidy to the TTC in the 2023 budget is $958.7 million, a 5.85% increase, or $53 million increase, over the 2022 approved budget. This is also a 75.3% increase since John Tory was first elected Mayor—reflecting his and Council’s commitment to ensuring transit is safe and accessible to all Torontonians.
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.
For more information on the 2023 budget process, please see here.