The 2017 preliminary budget puts forward a $622,200 cut to nonprofit community services as an option for addressing the overall City budget shortfall. This service cut to the Community Partnership and Investment Program (CPIP) is not included in the budget, but brought forward to the Budget Committee as an option for partially addressing the $91 million budget shortfall. If implemented, this cut would affect thousands of residents who access community services from nonprofit organizations in Toronto. Under CPIP, 300 organizations provide a broad range of programs and services to residents in every neighbourhood across the city. If this cut is implemented, 14% fewer projects will be funded. The final decision on whether to cut community services rests with the Mayor and City Council.
Photo credit: Geoff Gans
Programs and services include everything from after-school programs, crisis counselling and seniors’ health programs to youth employment and leadership, newcomer civic literacy and community food programs, and many more. For every $1 the City contributes to nonprofit community services, organizations are able to leverage an additional $6.30 from other sources to support a dynamic web of services and supports.
In addition to the threat of service cuts, the 2017 preliminary budget also breaks with standard practice, failing to include inflationary increases for community services under CPIP. Toronto City Council has consistently provided inflationary increases to nonprofit services covering six out of the past seven years - 2010, 2013 (additional funds in 2013 to make up for budget freeze in 2012), 2014, 2015, 2016. It might not be a sexy budget item but it is essential to cash-strapped organizations to allow them to continue to provide vital community services.
Nonprofits struggle from shrinking funding dollars and rising costs of providing services. Loss of the City's annual inflationary increase will force further constraints on their already tight budgets. To make its annual inflationary increase at 2%, the City would need to add $382,000 to the budget.
Toronto Urban Health Foundation
The preliminary budget fails to include funding for the 3rd year of the Toronto Urban Health Foundation expansion plan. $150,000 is missing to fund the third year of the plan, but only $38,000 is required from the City of Toronto. The rest of the funds come from the provincial government. But the City only gets the provincial funding if the municipal dollars are committed. According to the Toronto Public Health budget, "The 2017 funding for an additional $0.150 million gross and $0.038 million net will continue to address the increasing rates of HIV/STI and high risk sexual and substance misuse behaviours among vulnerable youth living in underserved regions of the City, specifically targeting Indigenous populations and those residing in Neighborhood Improvement Areas.”
Arts and Culture Funding
The preliminary budget includes a cut of $131,000 for arts and culture operations affecting the Culture Build Investment Program and the Toronto Arts Council. This cut will not affect the total amount of arts funding allocated by the Toronto Arts Council. This budget also fails to honour the City's commitment to achieving $25 per capita in arts and culture funding. In order to stay on track to meet that goal, the City needs to invest an additional $2 million in the arts in this budget. The preliminary budget recommends that this new investment be deferred until 2018.
Arts funding is a good investment. For every $1 in City arts and culture funding, organizations are able to generate an additional $20 in ticket sales, donations and support from other levels of government. Check out the Toronto Arts Council website for more information and to take action.
Social Planning Toronto "Our Budget Matters" Forums
Last chance to join us at one of our City Budget Forums!
Come out to find out more about the budget, what it means for your community, and how to get involved in the budget process. Final date: Wednesday, December 14 in North York and Scarborough. Register here
For budget analysis on:
More on the way ... parks, forestry and recreation, libraries, public health, child care, employment and social services, long-term care homes, and more.
Plus Budget Committee starts its review on Friday, December 16 at 9 a.m. at City Hall in Committee Room 1. Drop by, or if you like to watch, check out the City of Toronto's youtube channel on Friday.