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. Through the City of Toronto’s 2022 budget process, the Mayor and Council have an opportunity to do just that.
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.
On January 13, Toronto City Council’s Budget Committee launches the staff-recommended tax-supported budget. 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 (which Council voted on in December). 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.
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
Advocacy for a Better Budget
SPT and many partner organizations are hard at work on the 2022 City budget. Each year, we work with communities to increase understanding of the City budget, engage residents to support civic engagement, and advocate for a better budget to improve life in Toronto. Here's how you can get involved:
- Follow @planningtoronto and @bethwilson416 on Twitter
- You can find the City Budget Watch blog and sign up to receive regular updates at socialplanningtoronto.org/city_budget_watch_2022. If you received updates for the 2021 budget, we’ve got you covered. No need to resubscribe.
- Come to our virtual Budget Town Hall on January 18 to learn how the draft 2022 budget invests in vital services like housing, childcare, community services & transit, and where it’s falling short. Register at socialplanningtoronto.org/citybudget2022_townhall
- On January 20, join us for a virtual Community Dialogue on the budget. Come share your budget demands, learn more about what’s in the budget, and learn how to influence it! Register at socialplanningtoronto.org/citybudget2022_dialogue
- We're keeping a list of all opportunities to learn more, get involved, and have your say — at budget events including community-organized budget town halls, webinars and trainings, City Councillor budget town halls, and City of Toronto budget deputation sessions. Want to add a budget event to the list? Email [email protected]
- We're strategizing with multiple organizations to collectively influence the budget before Council's final budget vote on February 17, and exploring our longer-term goals around the budget process and city-building outcomes. If you'd like to join the coalition, contact Senior Community Planner Israt Ahmed, [email protected]
Some other groups to connect with:
Get involved in Progress Toronto's Winter Training Series and ongoing advocacy work.
@progresstoronto on Twitter
Showing Up for Racial Justice Toronto (SURJ-TO)
SURJ has the defund police campaign calling for a 50% cut to the police budget.
@SURJto on Twitter
ACORN is advocating for more funding for the Rent Safe program.
@TorontoACORN on Twitter
Toronto Community for Better Child Care (TCBCC)
Join in TCBCC’s call for a comprehensive, high quality, universally accessible, non-profit, publicly funded child care system.
Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA)
Sign up for the TEA newsletter to stay up-to-date on important environmental issues in Toronto and take action for a green city.
@TOenviro on Twitter
Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC)
Join TYC to advocate for youth issues in Toronto.
@TOYouthCabinet on Twitter
Join fellow transit users who want better public transit.
@ttcriders on Twitter
Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR)
UARR works to provide educational programs and research critical to addressing racism in society.
@UARRToronto on Twitter