About City Budget Watch
Social Planning Toronto's City Budget Watch is back for the 2019 City of Toronto budget process! We'll be bringing you up-to-date reports and analysis on each step of the City budget process from launch date on Monday, January 28, to final votes at City Council on March 7. We'll let you know how you can learn more, get involved, and have your say on the 2019 budget.
The City Budget Watch Blog is authored by Beth Wilson. Beth is our lead on policy and research at Social Planning Toronto, starting at our organization in 2002. She has a Master of Social Work (MSW), Policy, Organization and Community.
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Most recent blog entries
Budget Process Concludes with Minor Tweaks, Leaving Big Challenges Ahead for City Council and the Next Mayor
On February 15, the Mayor and City Council met for a marathon 12½ hour budget meeting, resulting in a final 2023 budget that looked much like it did when it was launched just over five weeks ago.
Welcome but Minor Tweaks
A majority on Council, including the Mayor, supported an amendment, allocating $7 million to enhance select programs and services using savings identified by City staff and funds from a non-program account. An additional $1 million from a non-program account was used to expand eligibility for property tax cancellation and deferral and water and solid waste rebate and deferral programs for qualifying low-income households. Several councillors across the political spectrum worked together to craft this ‘consensus motion.’
Stunning News from City Hall, Strong Mayor Powers, & the Budget Vote
On Friday evening, the Toronto Star broke the story that Mayor Tory had been in a relationship with a former staff member from his office which came to an end last month. The mayor indicated that the relationship started during the pandemic when the former staffer was in his employ. Shortly after this stunning news became public, the mayor announced his intention to resign from office at a hastily-organized press conference. The mayor’s announcement that he would resign has raised many questions about the final budget vote, set for Wednesday, February 15, and the operation of Council going forward under strong mayor powers (or not).
In a 15–11 Vote, Toronto City Council Rejects Board of Health Recommendations to Declare a Public Health Crisis & Open 24/7 Warming Centres
At its meeting on Wednesday, a majority of City Council (15-11), including the Mayor, voted against opening 24/7 warming centres for unhoused residents and declaring a public health crisis in the City of Toronto related to the lack of access to 24-hour indoor space.
The following Toronto Board of Health recommendations were rejected by a majority of Council:
- City Council declare a public health crisis in the City of Toronto based on systemic failure of all three levels of government to provide adequate 24-hour, drop-in and respite indoor spaces, and call for the immediate provision of safe, accessible 24-hour respite spaces that are accessible through walk-in access.
- City Council direct the General Manager, Shelter Support and Housing Administration to provide 24/7 indoor warming locations until April 15, 2023, possibly including City of Toronto Warming Centres, and locations provided by community organizations, including faith-based groups, that would provide low-barrier, walk-in access to people in need of a safe place to spend the night.