“Working in coalition with others to get concrete and specific about the investments and funding needed to create the Toronto we know we need and deserve, and to organize ourselves to ensure they are in place for communities, community organizations/groups, the City of Toronto, and other key institutions”
Every year, SPT and partner organizations advocate for a better City Budget. While overall the 2022 budget was not exactly the one we wanted, there would have been little challenge to a status quo budget if not for strong community advocacy including ours.
Some highlights from this year’s budget work:
- We shared detailed budget analysis, as usual, on our City Budget Watch blog (in its 13th year!) and also through a Budget Town Hall;
- In the spirit of our 2021 People’s Budget Platform, we held a Community Dialogue, giving residents of neighbourhoods often underserved and underrepresented in policy and program decisions a chance to share their budget demands, and sent a summary of their asks to the Budget Committee;
- Executive Director Jin Huh deputed before the Budget Committee, calling for acceleration of delayed, but urgent, initiatives to tackle poverty and the housing crisis (including the Fair Fare Pass and the Housing Commissioner);
- SPT and partners drew attention to the chronic underfunding of essential programs, services, and capital projects and the dire need for additional City revenue streams;
- On the eve of the budget vote, SPT and 58 other organizations issued a statement calling on the Mayor and Councillors to urgently address serious gaps in the budget process, including the lack of time that residents and communities had to fully engage; and
- We convened a coalition of partners committed to organizing not just during budget season, but throughout the calendar year.
“Communities across our city are in the midst of a five-alarm fire. This budget does not address the urgent situation. We have heard this is another pandemic budget, and certainly the city is facing a tough financial situation, but amidst this emergency we need council to push further and faster.”
— Jin Huh, executive director of Social Planning Toronto
“Mayor Tory and City Councillors, our city is at a crossroads. Amid multiple and intersecting crises, if you continue to take a ‘business as usual’ approach you will preside over a rapid decline in the wellbeing and quality of life of Toronto residents. Instead, we urge you to show bold and brave leadership and set Toronto on a different course.
— Joint statement from 59 organizations
“I didn’t realize the massive discrepancies [between] the budget [and] the targets that the City themselves have set up, i.e., the HousingTO 2020–2030 plan. Thank you for presenting this educational moment that showcases the dissonance between the budget and the City’s own policy targets.
— Parkdale Activity–Recreation Centre team member reacting to our joint budget statement