City of Toronto 2023 Budget protects frontline services and invests in housing, community safety, transit, parks and emergency services

News Release

February 15, 2023

Today, City Council considered the 2023 rate and tax-supported operating and capital budgets proposed by Mayor John Tory. The 2023 Budget protects frontline services in the face of a challenging financial year, makes much-needed investments in housing, community safety, transit, emergency services and parks, and manages affordability by keeping property tax increases below the rate of inflation. The Mayor has issued a Mayoral Decision indicating he will not be exercising his veto, making the 2023 Budget final.

Highlights of the City of Toronto 2023 Budget

The 2023 Budget improves, protects and preserves frontline City services:

  • Protects recreation centres, outdoor pools, wading pools and outdoor rinks.
  • Continues to deploy seasonal parks works teams for spring and fall cleanups.
  • Ensures seasonal washrooms and drinking fountains in City parks are open earlier in the spring and later in the fall through an added investment of $2.86 million.
  • Keeps all youth spaces open in City facilities.
  • Invests more than $140 million in the central waterfront including two replacement ferries, shore-side electrical infrastructure at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, Rees Street Park and Love Park development, completion of the East Bayfront and Lower Yonge Community Recreation Centres, and High Lake Effect Flooding and Windstorm shoreline infrastructure rehabilitation projects.
  • Increases the Toronto Public Library budget by $5 million and provides an additional $3.5 million to cover COVID-19 pandemic-related costs.
  • Protects the Winter Maintenance budget to continue providing expanded sidewalk snow clearing across the city.

The 2023 Budget invests more than $2 billion to build and protect vital housing:

  • Supports the full implementation and legalization of multi-tenant housing through $3.5 million in new funding.
  • Protects tenants through $7.08 million investment in the Eviction Prevention Intervention in the Community program.
  • Increases housing supply through $18.85 million in funding for the Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition program.
  • Drives progress through $146 million for operation of the City’s Housing Secretariat.
  • Mitigates the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Toronto Community Housing Corporation through $10.8 million investment in addition to a subsidy of $295.8 million.
  • Calls upon other orders of government to fulfill their jurisdictional housing obligations, including $48 million from the Province of Ontario to support 2,000 units of supportive housing under its responsibility for mental healthcare and $97 million to support refugee housing costs from the Government of Canada under its responsibility for immigration and refugees.

The 2023 Budget invests in transit to keep people moving and safe:

  • Increases the City’s operating subsidy for the TTC by $53 million to a total of nearly $1 billion.
  • Hires 20 additional Streets to Homes outreach workers to help vulnerable people on the transit system.
  • Hires 50 additional TTC Special Constables to increase safety and security.
  • Increases cleaning in streetcars on the busiest routes.
  • Expands the Fair Pass Transit Discount Program, making 50,000 additional low-income residents eligible.
  • Freezes TTC fares for seniors, Fair Pass users and all monthly and annual pass holders.
  • Ensures transit expansion can continue through a below-inflation 3.1 per cent increase – amounting to 10 cents per ride – on single fares.

The 2023 Budget invests in emergency services and community safety:

  • Hires 200 more police officers (including 162 more police officers to priority response units – with 25 of those officers focused on downtown, 22 more officers for major case management as recommended in the Epstein Report, and 16 more officers for neighborhood community policing).
  • Hires 90 special constables to support frontline delivery and 20 additional 911 operators to improve response times.
  • Invests an additional $2 million in anti-violence programming to support youth and families.
  • Invests $13.8 million – a 25 per cent increase from the 2022 Budget – to expand the Toronto Community Crisis Service pilot, launched last year to provide non-police responses to persons in crisis.
  • Hires up to 200 firefighters in 2023 (including 52 new positions, part of a three-year plan to add 156 new firefighters to Toronto Fire Services’ complement).
  • Invests $6.8 million in fire safety education and $30.6 million in fire prevention, inspection and enforcement.
  • Hires up to 250 paramedics in 2023 (including 66 new positions).
  • Invests $10.3 million in community paramedicine and emergency call mitigation and $35 million in emergency medical dispatch and preliminary care.

During today’s meeting, City Council approved more than $8 million in additional spending to:

  • Increase the number of seniors and people with disabilities eligible for Property Tax, Water & Solid Waste Relief and Rebate Programs.
  • Increase the number of mental health outreach workers on the TTC.
  • Provide an above inflationary increase for the Community Partnership and Investment Program.
  • Provide support to the Malvern Family Resource Centre for youth hubs in Danzig and Empringham.
  • Provide funding for one additional 24/7 Warming Centre.
  • Provide more rent relief for people who need it.
  • Invest more in the Scarborough Business Association as part of the economic recovery.
  • Provide more for SafeTO to support anti-violence programming in Etobicoke and North York.
  • Improve cultural, social and economic opportunities for youth, in consultation with the Toronto Arts Council.
  • Invest more in The 519 Community Centre.
  • Invest more in the 5N2 Food for All soup kitchen.
  • Scale up the Home Energy Loan Program to take climate action.

Mayor Tory indicated at the end of the meeting that he fully supports these investments which were the result of collaboration with Councillors over the last few weeks. The Mayor will not exercise his veto on these matters and a Mayoral Decision confirming this has been issued on the City’s Mayoral Decision webpage.

For the fourth consecutive year, the City has implemented a range of spending restraints and measures to offset the ongoing financial impact of the pandemic and recent global economic volatility. City-led mitigation strategies will result in significant offsets of $786 million in 2023 for a total of $2.5 billion since the start of the pandemic.

The 2023 operating budget expects $1.08 billion in necessary funding from the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario to address the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic ($933 million), refugee shelter response ($97 million) and supportive housing ($48 million). When combined with the 2022 pandemic-related shortfall of $484 million, the required funding from other orders of government totals $1.56 billion.

In addition to these existing funding requirements are the pressures of rising fuel, food and debt-servicing costs. To meet these significant budget pressures, the 2023 Budget includes a property tax increase of 5.5 per cent for residential properties. The increase amounts to an additional $183 for the average assessed value of a Toronto home; 2.75 per cent for multi-residential properties, 2.75 per cent for commercial properties and 5.5 per cent for industrial properties. The budget continues to include a 15 per cent property tax rate reduction to support more than 29,000 small businesses across Toronto.

The 2023 Budget includes a planned 1.5 per cent increase to the City Building Levy consistent with the City’s approved capital funding strategy, an additional $50 for the average assessed value of a Toronto home. This dedicated levy supports $6.1 billion in transit and housing investments in the 10-Year Capital Plan.

The 2023 operating budget of $16.16 billion includes the $2.04 billion rate-supported operating budgets for Solid Waste Management Services, Toronto Parking Authority and Toronto Water.

The 10-year capital plan of $49.26 billion funds strategic areas such as transit, housing and climate action and includes the $1.05 billion capital plan for Solid Waste Management Services and the $15.34 billion capital plan for Toronto Water.

A recording of today’s meeting is available on the Toronto City Council YouTube channel. The meeting agenda is available on the City website.

A Backgrounder on the City’s 2023 Budget process is available in the City’s Media Room.

More information about Toronto’s Budget is available on the City’s 2023 Budget webpage.

Quotes:

“This budget protects frontline services and invests in housing, transit and keeping our communities safe. Today, we worked together as a City Council to make additional investments in housing and homelessness, in anti-violence initiatives, in young people, in mental health, and in key organizations in the city. I want to thank the members of the Budget Committee, Council and the public for their thoughtful contributions to the budget process this year.”

– Mayor John Tory

“The 2023 Toronto Budget protects frontline services that Toronto residents and businesses rely upon while making investments in housing, transit, parks, emergency services and community safety. Working together with the members of Budget Committee and Council, we have also found additional savings and adjustments to further invest in community initiatives that were approved today.”

– Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park)

“I want to thank the Mayor for his leadership and the members of the Budget Committee for their work on this budget as well as Toronto residents and organizations who participated in the public consultations that we held across the City, in person and online. Despite the numerous challenges of this budget – the pressures of inflation and interest rates, the significant financial repercussions of the pandemic, and global economic volatility – we have delivered a budget committed to fiscal responsibility and sound financial management.”

– Councillor Gary Crawford (Scarborough Southwest), Chair of the Budget Committee

 

Toronto is home to more than three million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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