City Budget Watch
2021 City Budget: City Council Passes 1st COVID Budget, Some New Policy Directions, But Little New Funding
On February 18, Toronto City Council passed the 2021 City budget. City Council made few changes to the original staff-recommended (draft) budget launched back on January 14. Most significant, the budget shortfall resulting from the pandemic has been reduced to $649 million (plus an additional $15.4 million that is unfunded and required from the provincial government for supportive housing and $61 million that is unfunded and required from the federal government for supports for refugees).
Housing is a matter of human rights, public health, and racial justice. Every order of government has a responsibility to act. What about Toronto?
The Budget Committee's work on the 2021 City of Toronto budget is almost complete. Following the budget launch on January 14, the committee met to review the budget on January 20-22, receiving presentations from City staff, asking questions of staff, and voting on motions to request briefing notes to inform budget decisions. This week, the committee hosted two days of public hearings/deputations to hear from the public (Jan 25+26) and met for its first of two wrap up meetings. At the January 28th wrap up meeting, the committee received staff reports and briefing notes and had an opportunity to ask questions of staff. Here are the highlights from these recent jam-packed weeks.
That's a wrap for this year's City budget events! Hope you had a chance to take part in some of the amazing town halls, trainings, and webinars. Thanks to all the City Councillors who went the extra mile to reach out to their constituents and the community groups that worked with residents to advocate for a better budget and a better city.
In the midst of a pandemic that has revealed and exacerbated deep and devastating social, racial, and spatial inequities in our city, communities are looking for big changes and bold action in the 2021 City of Toronto budget. That's not what they got at Thursday's budget launch. In response to an unprecedented and dire emergency, the 2021 City of Toronto staff-recommended (draft) budget is, in many ways, a status quo budget.
It’s beginning to look a lot like City of Toronto budget season with the City’s 2021 staff-recommended (draft) budget launch set for January 14. Back for a twelfth year, SPT’s City Budget Watch is up and running. We look forward to providing you with in-depth analysis of the City budget and sharing information on how you can get involved, learn more, and advocate for a better budget to create a more livable and equitable city for all.