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.
Tired of Waiting for Vital Community Services, Budget Launch Rally at City Hall, November 2017
Community Partnership and Investment Program (CPIP)
- funds a broad range of community services through nonprofit organizations; read more about the value of the City's investment to the nonprofit sector including through CPIP here
- the preliminary budget INCLUDES a 2.1% inflationary increase ($409,100) for CPIP
- the division has requested additional funding of $450,000 for CPIP to support 4 new projects; these funds are NOT INCLUDED in the preliminary budget; if funded, these projects would support Black youth leadership, the development of a Social Development Plan and the redevelopment of Alexandra Park as part of the Downtown West Study, an Indigenous-led organization to build capacity among Indigenous organizations to respond to service needs and engage communities, and the engagement of residents and build resident leadership as part of the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020
- the preliminary budget does NOT INCLUDE funds to support nonprofits to meet Bill 148 legislative requirements, including an increase to the minimum wage of $14 in 2018 and $15 in 2019 and the provision of 2 paid days for personal emergency leave
Toronto Urban Health Fund (TUHF)
- funds nonprofit organizations to provide health-related programs and services in the areas of HIV prevention, harm reduction, and child and youth resiliency; the Toronto Board of Health has a 5-year plan to expand initiatives provided through TUHF; for the past 3 years, Toronto City Council has supported the plan by contributing an additional $150,000 each year to the base budget (with $112,000 from the provincial government and $38,000 from the City); the expansion of services proposed for 2018 has been referred to the budget process for consideration but is NOT INCLUDED in the preliminary budget; according to the budget notes: "The enhancement will contribute to strengthening local community response in the youth and Indigenous sectors to address HIV incidence rates and illicit substance use rates."
- the Toronto Board of Health also requested a 15% enhancement to TUHF, amounting to $339,000 ($255,000 from provincial funding and $84,000 from the City) which is NOT INCLUDED in the preliminary budget; according to the budget notes: "The enhancement will contribute to strengthening local community response to address HIV incidence rates and illicit substance use rates within the Black community. HIV rates among Black youth and women continue to represent a high proportion of cases in Toronto."
- the preliminary budget also does NOT INCLUDE funds to support nonprofits to meet Bill 148 legislative requirements, including an increase to the minimum wage of $14 in 2018 and $15 in 2019 and the provision of 2 paid days for personal emergency leave
Community Grants Funding through Toronto Arts Council (TAC)
- funds individual artists and community arts organizations; according to the City of Toronto: "City of Toronto grant programs are a strategic tool used to achieve the City’s social, economic and cultural goals. These funding programs represent a form of partnership with community based organizations which in turn contribute significantly to the goals in relation to community capacity, equitable access, well being, diversity, civic participation and civic cohesion."
- the City of Toronto committed to a multi-year plan to increase arts and culture funding to $25 per capita; 2018 is the final year of the plan; with a $2 million investment, the City can reach this goal; these funds are NOT INCLUDED in the preliminary budget; of the $2 million proposed for arts and culture funding, $500,000 would be provided to the Toronto Arts Council for its community grants program
- the preliminary budget also does NOT INCLUDE any funds specifically earmarked for organizations to meet Bill 148 legislative requirements, including an increase to the minimum wage of $14 in 2018 and $15 in 2019 and the provision of 2 paid days for personal emergency leave
On a related note, this City staff report considers the impact of Bill 148 on the City budget. However, it does not consider impacts for the nonprofit organizations that it funds to advance City priorities and goals.
Toronto Public Health
- The Toronto Board of Health requested funds to support the 6th year of the Student Nutrition Program (originally a 5-year plan aimed at increasing City funding for student nutrition programs to 20% of program costs); this request is NOT INCLUDED in the preliminary budget
- The 6th year of the plan calls for an additional $2.124 million including $1,681,400 to strengthen existing student nutrition programs (to allow them to buy more food), an additional $442,800 to expand the program, funding an additional 20 publicly funded schools reaching an additional almost 7,000 students (which will increase the number of children and youth reached up to 205,000), and $624,800 to expand the program into independent schools that meet criteria for student need and school readiness to implement the program (these include religious schools outside of the Toronto District School Board and Toronto Catholic District School Board); according to the budget notes, the funding for the independent schools will include "$0.015 million to complete the assessment of need through contract with Statistics Canada for sociodemographic data and analysis; $0.040 million in community capacity building support for new sites to support program success and municipal oversight of grants; and $0.570 million is to fund program grants that would be directed toward the purchase of healthy food by eligible programs at a municipal contribution rate equal to other municipally funded programs." Following the release of the preliminary budget, the Budget Chief Gary Crawford told media that he and the Mayor will try to include funds in the 2018 budget to support the expansion of the Student Nutrition Program; however, currently the funds are NOT INCLUDED
- The Board of Health also requested funds to expand the Student Immunization program which are NOT INCLUDED in the preliminary budget; the $530,000 required to expand the program includes $397,000 in provincial funding that is already committed and $133,000 in City funding; the provincial Immunization of School Pupils Act requires every student attending school to be immunized against 9 diseases (meningococcal, varicella, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and polio). That sounds like a good idea! Currently, Toronto Public Health is not meeting the enhanced provincial minimum requirements for pupil immunization established in 2013. These funds would allow TPH to meet those standards and safeguard the health of Toronto children.
- As mentioned above, the Board of Health also requested funds to expand the Toronto Urban Health Fund (details above); these funds are NOT INCLUDED in the preliminary budget
- In total, these program recommendations require $3,768,400 in new funding which includes $3,003,800 in City funding with the remainder using provincial funds that have already been committed.
- The Toronto Public Health budget INCLUDES an expansion of the adult dental program for Ontario Works recipients; the $101,000 is fully funded by the provincial government; expansion of this program will increase dental care access to approximately 1,200 Ontario Works recipients in 2018
- The preliminary budget includes the elimination of City funding for the Ambassador Program; the City contributes $50,000 annually including $30,000 that supports a project coordinator and $10,000 for TTC tokens and passes for student travel; the preliminary budget proposes to eliminate this funding at the end of the 2018 school year; this program is a joint initiative with Children's Aid Societies and operated by the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre; according to the budget notes: "This proposal will have a negative impact on youth from equity-seeking and vulnerable groups, who are the primary participants of this program. It will decrease access to education and training and these students' opportunities to complete their high school diploma." No rationale is provided for making this cut.
- Remember the cooling centres for vulnerable residents that were at risk of being eliminated in a prior budget? Here's the update: "During the 2017 budget process, City Council requested the Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the Executive Director, Social Development, Finance and Administration, the Director, Office of Emergency Management and the General Manager, Employment and Social Services, to conduct a review of the summer cooling centers in time for the 2018 Budget process. In 2017, Council approved $0.070 million gross and $0.018 million net to be funded from Tax Stabilization Reserve for the summer cooling centres for a total of $0 net. Funding of $0.018 million from Tax Stabilization Reserve will continue in 2018 for the operation of summer cooling centres. The review of the summer cooling centres is currently underway, although there have been challenges due to the relatively cooler summer temperatures to date. A report back to the Board of Health is planned for Q1 - 2018."
Stay tuned for more human services budgets tomorrow plus the TTC budget comes to Budget Committee.