The Mayor's Budget

On February 1, Mayor Olivia Chow released her version of the budget. This iteration comes after the Staff budget was released on January 10th and underwent extensive public consultation at pre-budget consultations last November, budget town halls, and budget committee meetings. 

 

The Mayor's budget aims to fix the financial mess the City is in due to previous leadership that used bandaid solutions to budget shortfalls to avoid making hard choices. With the historic New Deal Mayor Chow negotiated with the Provincial government and big Federal investments in housing, this budget is another step on the journey towards a more affordable, caring and safe city. 

What has changed from the Staff budget to the Mayor’s budget? 

 

Property tax: The Staff budget included a 10.5% increase to the total property tax rate for residential properties. The Mayor’s budget has reduced this to a 9.5% total increase. The multi-residential property tax rate will increase by 3.5% total to ensure that landlords cannot apply for an above guideline rent increase. 

 

Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition (MURA): The Mayor’s budget includes a historic $100 million investment in MURA over three years. This program supports the purchase and conversion of private market rental housing to create permanent affordable homes owned by non-profit and Indigenous housing organizations. 

 

Renter Empowerment: An additional $3.1 million in support for renters through the Eviction Prevention in Community program, RentSafeTO, the Rent Bank and the Tenant Support Program. These services all work to help Torontonians stay housed and out of the shelter system. 

 

Homelessness Support: The 22 City-supported drop-in centres will receive $1.4 million to continue providing services including food, healthcare, laundry and referrals for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 

 

Transit: The Mayor’s budget will fully fund the Scarborough Busway and increase service such that it reaches 97% of the pre-pandemic levels. 

 

The Back on Track Fund: A $50 million investment in this fund will be used for urgent state of good repair work and accelerating capital projects. This work is made possible by the New Deal and upload of the Gardiner and DVP to the Province. 

 

Investment in Young People: $2 million has been allocated to community-driven, locally-developed youth programming in priority neighbourhoods. This funding will support more community recreation workers to design and run programs as well as more employment and skill-building programs. The Mayor’s budget also supports young people by funding the Student Nutrition Program to meet the inflationary rise in grocery prices and expanding community grants focused on building strong neighbourhoods and youth violence prevention. 

 

What is the next step in the budget process?

As the Mayor will not be using her Strong Mayor power to push her budget through, it will be up for approval by City Council at a special council meeting on February 14. At the meeting, Council may make amendments to the Mayor’s budget and will decide how to use $8 million of unallocated funds.

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