"City Budget Matters 101": What You Need to Know About the 2021 City Budget

Each year, the City of Toronto approves a City Budget, a financial plan for how it earns money and spends it on local services. It's funded by municipal revenues and by other levels of government, primarily the Province.

The decisions made during the City of Toronto's budget process determine the kind of city we have. In a series of backgrounders, we're bringing you the facts on key issues Toronto is facing today and what City Council could do in the 2021 municipal budget to make a difference. We've got you covered on:

 

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The budget process kicks off on January 14, 2021, and concludes with the final Council vote on February 18–19. Here are ways to stay in touch with what's happening, and participate, throughout the process:

 


Municipal Revenues

The tax-supported budget plans for services paid for by taxes, including parks, roads, and arts and culture.

The City of Toronto projects a $1.8 billion budget shortfall for 2021 — it cannot sustain current services and programs without more money. But it should not make budget tradeoffs that further disadvantage residents whose situations have worsened since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including women, seniors, and racialized, Black, and Indigenous communities.

What should the City do to find $1.8 billion?

 

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Nonprofit Organizations

If you have ever participated in a local dance program, used a social housing service, attended a cultural festival in your community, used a childcare program, or read a community research report on housing policies, then you have likely engaged with a nonprofit program or service.

Nonprofits have been essential to helping communities weather the pandemic's negative impacts. Already pushed to do more with less during the pandemic, they are also at risk of funding cuts in 2021.

What should the City do to prevent imminent closures of organizations that support vibrant, inclusive, and equitably resourced communities?

 

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Poverty Reduction

Many Torontonians — especially Indigenous families, newcomers, immigrants, non-white Torontonians, and people with disabilities — struggle with rising costs for childcare, public transit, and rents; precarious work, low wages, and lack of benefits; and social assistance rates that keep recipients in deep poverty.

COVID-19 has only magnified poverty and inequality.

Given the unprecedented hardships and financial pressures generated by COVID-19, how can the City lay the foundations for an equitable pandemic recovery?

 

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