The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and exacerbated the deep social, racial and geographic inequalities in our city. It’s more important than ever that Toronto City Council and all orders of government invest in critical programs, services and infrastructure to advance social justice and equity and safeguard and support struggling residents and communities.
About the Budget
Through the budget process, Toronto City Council makes important decisions about critical programs, services, and infrastructure — what it’s going to fund (adequately or not), if it’s going to cut programs or services, if it’s going to freeze budgets (given rising program costs, a budget freeze is, in effect, a service cut), and how it’s going to pay for these vital programs. These decisions are arguably the most important that Council makes all year — they tell us whether Council is going to move the city forward and address critical issues in our communities, or not. Budget decisions reveal the priorities of City Council and shape the quality of life of residents and communities across the city throughout the year.
The tax-supported budget includes operating budgets (to pay for the operation of programs and services) and capital budgets (to pay for infrastructure, such as purchasing buses or streetcars, or building a new library or community centre). The tax-supported budget includes all City service areas except for the Toronto Parking Authority (Green P parking), Toronto Water, and solid waste management (garbage and recycling), which are included in the rate-supported budget. Tax-supported budgets cover everything else — housing and homeless services, child care, public transit, recreation, libraries, Toronto police, emergency services, community services provided by nonprofits, and much more).
The tax-supported budget is funded through property taxes, federal and provincial funding, TTC fares, user fees and fines, the Municipal Land Transfer Tax, and other sources. In contrast, rate-supported services are paid for through user fees, including revenues from water and garbage fees and parking fees at Green P lots.
Key Budget Dates
You can watch all of these meetings live, or check out video recordings after the meetings, on Council’s YouTube channel. All meetings start at 9:30 a.m.
- January 10: Staff will table a budget. It appears that this budget will not be “staff recommended” as in previous years, but rather will be tabled by staff based on guidelines from the Mayor.
- January 10, 12, and 13: Budget Committee meetings will offer a chance for the public and Councillors to hear more about the budget (through a series of presentations).
- January 17 and 18: Public deputations.
- January 24: The Budget Committee will have its final wrap-up meeting and make a recommendation to the Mayor, rather than to the Executive Committee or City Council.
- February 1: By this date the Mayor is required to propose a budget to members of Council and the City Clerk. No meeting is required for this to happen.
February 15: Council’s final vote on the Budget.
Note: According to the strong mayor powers, Council has 30 days from the date the Mayor presents his budget to meet and amend the budget. But Council’s Striking Committee (which recommends the meeting schedule for Council) adopted a motion at its November 24 meeting to waive the 30-day requirement to align with Council’s scheduled February 14 meeting.
Joint letter from community-based orgs & workers: Toronto needs urgent investments in community-based supports to ensure a safer, livable, healthy, and equitable city
Social Planning Toronto has drafted an open letter calling on the Mayor and City Council to immediately invest in urgent community services in the 2023 City Budget. We are reaching out to community-based organizations and workers to sign on to the letter, as individuals and as organizations. On February 15th the signed letter will be both emailed to Council members and presented at the Have a Heart City Budget Rally outside of Toronto City Hall. Please sign on to the letter and join us on Feb 15th at 9am!
Deadline to sign letter: February 14th at 2pm.
City of Toronto Budget Resources
Check out the City of Toronto budget webpage, updated regularly through the budget process. All City budget notes, briefing notes, presentations, and related budget documents are posted here: www.toronto.ca/budget