In the lead up to the 2018 City of Toronto municipal election, Social Planning Toronto, Commitment TO Community, and Faith in the City asked candidates for Mayor and City Council to sign the “Prosperity Pledge”, an election promise to follow through on actions to advance the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy during the 2018-2022 term of Council. The Pledge included specific, measurable commitments to be met by 2022, with a focus on housing and homelessness, public transit, child care, and recreation.
A total of 73% of the members of the new Council, including Mayor Tory, signed the Pledge. The 2019 City budget offers the first opportunity for Toronto City Council to begin to make good on its election promises to act on poverty.
A City Left Behind: Poverty Reduction, Election Promises, and the 2019 Budget documents Toronto City Council’s progress to date on the Prosperity Pledge, and the news isn’t good. Social Planning Toronto’s analysis of the preliminary 2019 City budget suggests that, if Toronto City Council maintains its current pace of action, it is unlikely to deliver on six of the seven specific actions it committed to by 2022.
The good news is the 2019 City budget process is not over. The Mayor’s Executive Committee meets on Monday, March 4. Toronto City Council holds the final vote on the budget at its March 7 meeting. At either meeting, the Mayor and members of Council have an opportunity to get this budget back on track. There’s still time for the Mayor and Toronto City Council to make real change for the hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents struggling in our city.
Read "Toronto council falling behind on election pledges to reduce poverty, report finds" in the Toronto Star.