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.
What's Your Better Toronto? Community Vision for a Better Toronto, Big on Bloor, Summer 2017
Preliminary Budget Highlights
Human Services Overview
City staff presented an overview of the 2018 preliminary budget for Cluster A, which includes many of the human services budgets. The presentation provided an overview of 2017 accomplishments, challenges affecting these City services in 2018 and beyond, some plans for the future, and an introduction to the operating and capital budgets. Some new priorities for 2018 include the development of a plan to grow the shelter infrastructure system and the development and implementation of a Youth Employment Action Plan focused on work-based learning opportunities for youth. Ongoing priorities include continued implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy and Child Care Growth Strategy, implementation of Toronto for All and the Anti-Black Racism Action Plan, and continued advancement of the Seniors Strategy and the modernization of the social housing system.
On slides 65-68, the Cluster A presentation details the new and enhanced programs and services that are NOT INCLUDED in the preliminary budget and have been referred to the budget process for consideration. These include several poverty reduction initiatives including:
- 825 new child care spaces plus several additional child care related initiatives and supports (paid for mostly by provincial funding; of the $48 million required to include these spaces and supports in the budget, the City of Toronto needs to add $2.1 million; the rest comes from senior orders of government)(the Budget Chief has stated that he and the Mayor will support the addition of these spaces and supports in the budget)
- Toronto Community Housing's Tenants First Implementation Project; while not included in the preliminary budget, the $3 million required to implement Phase 1 of the recommendations, if added to the budget, would be fully funded by TCHC reserves and not impact property tax or other municipal revenues; according to the Budget Notes: "The program includes three pilots: one in Etobicoke that will test a decentralized service model that is more responsive to tenant needs, and two other community development pilots focused on aligning Youth programs and services in Rexdale and the creation of a local action plan in Scarborough." For more on the Phase 1 recommendations, read this.
- Transit Fare Equity Program, Phase 1; this is the discounted TTC pass for Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients who do not receive transportation supports; City cost is $4.6 million in 2018
- Equity responsive budgeting ($105,000) and Poverty Reduction Strategy evaluation ($150,000) to guide the successful implementation of the strategy; read Tuesday's City staff briefing note on the equity impacts of the 2018 budget. The additional funding would support further development of equity responsive budgeting at the City and facilitate evaluation of the PRS.
- Community Medicine @ Home Program expansion ($355,000); according to the City Budget Notes: "This enhanced service priority requires $0.355 million gross and net in 2018 for 5 Community Paramedics and four (4) vehicles to provide coverage throughout the City from 6:00 am to midnight with the potential for 24 hour coverage 7 days a week. Currently, the Program operates from 06:00 am to 4:00 pm, which leaves significant gaps in service delivery. The Program will help in mitigating 911 emergency medical call demand, which has been increasing by 4% to 5% per year. This will be achieved through community paramedics visits to frequent user clients and connecting them with existing supporting resources, thus getting them the care they need which mitigates further 911 calls." Capital funds will also be needed for vehicles for this program.
These are the new and enhanced programs from Cluster A divisions that have been referred to the budget process and NOT INCLUDED in the preliminary budget.
The Toronto Public Health budget, also presented at the meeting, includes new and enhanced programs and services that have been referred to the budget process and NOT INCLUDED in the preliminary budget, including Student Nutrition Program expansion (part of Poverty Reduction Strategy), adult dental program expansion for Ontario Works recipients (100% provincial funding already committed for this program expansion), expansion of the Toronto Urban Health Fund, and student immunization expansion. Read our previous post on this topic here and see Toronto Public Health budget presentation here.
Part 2 of the human services budgets analysis will be posted tomorrow.
Social Planning Toronto + Partners Host City Budget Forums
We've had great turnouts and wonderful participation at our first two City budget forums in South Etobicoke and Thorncliffe! Come out for one of our next three forums in downtown (Dec 13 @ 1:30 PM, YWCA, 87 Elm Street), Rexdale (Dec 13 @ 6 PM, Rexdale Hub, 21 Panorama Court), or Scarborough (Dec 18 @ 6 PM, Dorset Park Hub, 1911 Kennedy Road, Suite 105). Check here for details.
City Budget Documents
- Find the Cluster A and Toronto Public Health budget presentations here
- Read the City's Budget Notes for details on each individual budget.
- Check out the City's Briefing Notes for more information on selected budget issues, including an equity analysis, gapping levels, user fees and more.
Next Up ...
- Budget Committee continues its review of the City budget on Thursday, December 14, City Hall, Committee Room 1, starts at 9:30 AM. Come down or watch online. Budgets to be reviewed on Thursday: Accountability Offices (Auditor General’s Office, Office of the Integrity Commissioner, Office of the Lobbyist Registrar, Office of the Ombudsman), Citizen-Centred Services (“Cluster B”; City Planning, Engineering & Construction Services, Fire Services, Municipal Licensing & Standards, Policy, Planning, Finance & Administration, Toronto Building, Transportation Services, Waterfront Revitalization Initiative-capital only), and Toronto Transit Commission