2017 City Budget: $91 Million Budget Hole Leaves Harmful Service Cuts on the Table for Toronto Communities

On December 6, the City of Toronto released its 2017 preliminary budget. The budget calls for $10 million in service cuts and still has a $91 million hole that leaves harmful service cuts on the table for Toronto communities, especially our most vulnerable neighbours.

For the first time in memory, City finance staff have not brought forward a balanced budget. Instead, they have provided revenue and service cut options for Toronto City Council to balance its budget. The choice is clear: The Mayor and City Council can make a responsible choice, implementing revenue-generating options that can raise nearly $200 million in 2017 to stop the cuts and make meaningful investments in poverty reduction or it can endorse a long list of damaging service cuts.

The $10 million in proposed service cuts includes:

• $1.3 million in staffing cuts at long-term care homes
• Cuts to 200 frontline jobs in parks maintenance
• $30,000 cut to shut down emergency cooling program
• $1.8 million cut to shelter, support and housing including over a million in staffing cuts
• Flatlining of community grants and more

800px-Girl_with_styrofoam_swimming_board.jpg

Photo credit: Tommy Wong


To balance the budget, City Council could choose to raise revenues or implement service cuts.

The $76.8 million in service cut “options” include:

• Closure of 16 recreation facilities, 22 pools, 36 wading pools
• Cutting $27.7 million out of shelter, support and housing including elimination of homeless
prevention services at $18.5 million
• $622,000 in cuts to community grants and $680,000 cut to the arts
• $1.58 million cut to public health including over $700,000 cut to student nutrition and over
$200,000 cut to dental programs
• $6.19 million cut to public library hours and collections
• $792,500 cut that would discontinue food production for Meals on Wheels programs
• Cuts to fire services, economic development, transportation services, and the conservation
authority

Just one short year ago, the Mayor and Toronto City Council unanimously adopted TOProsperity, a bold
plan for poverty reduction in Toronto. With one in four children and one in five adults living in poverty in
Toronto, the plan recognizes the urgent need for action. However, in the 2016 City budget, City Council
made only modest new investments, falling short of community goals in the first year of the plan by over
75%.

The 2017 City budget, not only fails to make meaningful new investment to reduce poverty, it threatens
to reverse the modest gains made in last year’s budget and make deep cuts to critical services for
residents struggling with basic needs in our city.

 

Budget Analysis to Come ... This budget is chock-full of potential service cuts, user fee increases and un- and under-funded programs and services. In the days and weeks ahead, we will provide a detailed look at the proposed and potential cuts, and regular updates on how you can get involved and have your say on the 2017 City budget.  

In the meantime, check out the City of Toronto budget tables identifying proposed service cuts (included in the preliminary budget), service cut options (not included in the preliminary budget but could be used to fill the $91 million budget hole), new and enhanced programs that are not included in the preliminary budget, and revenue tools (not included in the preliminary budget but could be used to fill the $91 million budget hole).

City Budget Presentation: See pages 134, 135, 136 and 138.

 

What's Up Next? The City's Budget Committee begins its budget review process, hears from the public in early January, makes its recommendations in late January, and then passes the budget on to the Mayor's Executive Committee in February. After the Executive Committee reviews and makes recommendations on the budget, it goes to City Council for a final vote in mid-February.

Here are the dates:

  • December 8, 12, 13, 14: Social Planning Toronto hosts 5 City budget forums. Register here
  • December 8: Commitment to Community budget deputation training in Scarborough - Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre, 93 Birchmount Road 1:00-3:00 PM. Register here
  • December-February: (some) City Councillors hold budget town halls for community members (details to come)
  • December 16, 19, 20, 21 (optional): Budget Committee reviews the budget
  • January 5, 9, 10: Public deputations where you can share your views on the 2017 City budget with the Budget Committee
  • January 12, 24: Budget Committee makes its recommendations
  • February 7: Mayor's Executive Committee reviews the budget and makes its recommendations
  • February 15, 16: Toronto City Council makes final decisions about the budget

 

Help Stop the Cuts - Have Your Say on the City Budget!

Public Deputations:
January 5, 2017
Scarborough Civic Centre
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and 6:00 p.m. onwards

January 5, 2017
Etobicoke Civic Centre
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and 6:00 p.m. onwards

January 9, 2017
East York Civic Centre
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and 6:00 p.m. onwards

January 9, 2017
North York Civic Centre
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and 6:00 p.m. onwards

January 10, 2017
City Hall
9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and 6:00 p.m. onwards

January 10, 2017
York Civic Centre
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and 6:00 p.m. onwards

 

Resources

 

Stay tuned for more budget analysis in the days to come. 

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