City Budget Watch
2018 City Preliminary Budget Fails to Make Good on Toronto City Council Commitments: Top 10 List
The City of Toronto’s 2018 preliminary budget fails to make good on many of Toronto City Council’s commitments to create a healthier, inclusive and equitable city for all. In recent years, the Mayor and City Councillors adopted several important plans and strategies to improve the quality of life of Toronto residents and respond to serious challenges facing our city. Plans were approved to increase access to affordable housing, recreation and child care, build strong neighbourhoods, and promote social inclusion for newcomers, seniors, youth and children. Initiatives were passed to respond to the challenges of climate change, confront anti-black racism, forge respectful partnerships with Indigenous communities, make public transit more affordable for low-income residents, and reduce poverty.
The preliminary budget does little to move the city forward on these plan to build an inclusive city for all. However, there’s still time to fix this budget. Toronto City Council votes on the final budget on February 12-13. That’s why it is so important for residents to participate in the Budget Committee’s public hearings (deputations) taking place on January 8, 9 and 10. Have your voice heard!
Happy 2018 Toronto City budget fans & followers!
It's time to sign up for the City of Toronto budget deputations/public presentations. This is your chance to have your say on the 2018 City budget!
- What should the priorities be for the City of Toronto in 2018?
- What programs and services should the City of Toronto fund?
- What programs and services need to be improved?
- What issues need the City's attention?
On January 8, 9 & 10, Budget Committee members will hear from members of the public. Don't forget to register!
In this post, we continue our analysis of human services budgets including social development initiatives (within the Social Development, Finance & Administration budget) and children's services.
Here's part 2 of my analysis of the City's human services budgets. Read part 1 here.
Let's start with community grants.
The City of Toronto funds nonprofits to provide a variety of community services in conjunction with City goals and priorities. There are three main vehicles for delivering this funding: 1) the Community Partnership and Investment Program (CPIP) administered by the Social Development, Finance and Investment division, 2) the Toronto Urban Health Fund (TUHF) administered by Toronto Public Health, and 3) community arts grants funded through the Economic Development & Culture Division and administered by the Toronto Arts Council.
On December 12, the City's Budget Committee met to begin the 2018 City budget review process - the first day of a 4-day review process. The committee did a quick review of the Citizen-Centred Services (“Cluster A”) budgets including Affordable Housing Office, Children’s Services, Court Services, Economic Development & Culture, Long-Term Care Homes & Services, Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Shelter, Support & Housing Administration (includes TCHC), Social Development, Finance & Administration, Toronto Employment & Social Services & Toronto Paramedic Services budgets, as well as, the Toronto Public Health budget.
Read Part 1 of the highlights, plus information on upcoming Social Planning Toronto and partner City budget forums, links to City budget documents and more. Coming tomorrow: Part 2 of the human services budget highlights. Lots more to share.
Launched on Thursday, November 30, the 2018 preliminary City of Toronto budget fails to make good on several Toronto City Council commitments - some made as recently as the day prior to the budget launch. It largely freezes funding for City services, includes a list of budget reductions described as service efficiencies (we'll have a closer look at this list in the days to come), and leaves out funding for several key commitments that have been made by Council.
Toronto City Council has adopted several action plans and strategies in recent years to improve the quality of life of Toronto residents, address serious service deficiencies, and promote equity and inclusion in the city. Much of this work is not funded in the 2018 preliminary budget.
City Budget Watch is back for the 2018 City of Toronto budget process! We'll be bringing you up-to-date reports and analysis on each step of the City budget process from launch date on Thursday, November 30 to final votes at City Council on February 12 & 13. We'll let you know how you can learn more, get involved and have your say on the 2018 budget.
2017 City Budget Passes: Service Cuts for Vulnerable Communities, Lack of Action on Poverty Reduction
That's it. That's all. Toronto City Council passed the 2017 City budget on February 15. Despite calls from community members to "have a heart and stop the cuts", the final budget included some troubling services cuts affecting vulnerable communities. While filling in budget gaps to maintain many critical services, the 2017 City budget failed to take substantive action to advance poverty reduction goals in Toronto.
On February 7, the Mayor's Executive Committee met to review and make its recommendations on the 2017 City budget. The Executive Committee made one significant change to the proposed budget, reversing the massive child care fee hike for families using child care centres in schools. Other than that, we did not see any other significant movement on this budget. The budget still contains over $1 million in cuts to shelters, elimination of the cooling centre program for vulnerable residents, over $1.3 million in cuts to care in long-term care homes, the elimination of 111.3 full-time equivalent recreation worker positions, and big increases to recreation user fees and transit fares. As it stands, this budget fails to make real progress on the City's poverty reduction strategy.
On January 24, the Budget Committee held its final meeting on the 2017 City budget. While taking many service cuts off the table, the 2017 City budget, at present, contains service cuts including cuts to hundreds of staffing positions, makes big increases to user fees, and fails to make real progress on City Council's commitment to reduce poverty in Toronto.
But there's still time to change this budget ... Next up, the Mayor's Executive Committee meets on February 7 to make its recommendations. Toronto City Council meets on February 15 and 16 to make final decisions on the budget.