December City Council Wrap Up: New Deal for Toronto Adopted

CaféTO improvements and my East York centenary & CEBA extension motions were also approved.

This week was the final City Council meeting of 2023. A key item was the new deal for Toronto that Mayor Chow negotiated with the province.

A New Deal for Toronto

We unanimously adopted recommendations to implement this agreement, which will provide $4.2 billion in funding to the city. This is urgently needed to build affordable housing, fix our infrastructure and maintaining and expanding our overburdened shelter system.

Many of the areas covered in the new deal were 'downloaded' by previous provincial governments onto the city. This included buying new subways, expanding our shelter system and maintaining the DVP and Gardiner.

Province to Upload Gardiner and DVP

Most impactful is the pending upload of the Gardiner and DVP. Prior to the agreement, the city was solely responsible for the over $1 billion needed to repair and rebuild the Gardiner, making it the single largest capital expenditure on our books.

The province has agreed to fully assume these costs in 2024 once due diligence is completed and outstanding technical issues in the plan are resolved. They also agreed to cover the city's cost in the interim.

Shelter Funding

The province also committed $600 million over the next three years to help fund shelter operations. Our shelter system not only serves Toronto residents, but also an increasing number of refugees.

Not only are these core infrastructure and service needs critical for Toronto, the province's economic linchpin - they deliver benefits across the region. Yet, until Mayor Chow's deal with the province, these costs were borne by Toronto alone.

As with any negotiations, there are elements that are hard to swallow, particularly the city's withdrawal of its formal opposition to the redevelopment of Ontario Place. I am still personally opposed to the province's plans to redevelop Ontario Place and relocate the Science Centre.

I will continue to support the community's efforts but I recognize that the city does not have the power to stop the redevelopment.

As a Council, we have to make tough choices to put the city on a firm financial footing. The money secured in this deal will help avoid service cuts and support expanding critical priorities like affordable housing, shelters and transit.

Read the city's news release and staff report on the new deal to learn more.

Housing Accelerator Fund

As part of Mayor Chow's new ambitious housing plan, we approved the city's application to the federal Housing Accelerator Fund, which will support new affordable housing across Toronto.

As part of the application, the city will continue its efforts to increase density around transit stations, permit new forms of multi-residential housing and speed up housing approvals.

I moved an amendment to develop a fund that would help Indigenous, co-op and non-profit housing providers with the crucial work of designing and approving new buildings or units.

Learn more.


The CaféTO improvements I discussed last week were adopted at Council yesterday.

These changes will make the program more simple, accessible, transparent and convenient for businesses.

Thank you to all the businesses and BIA's whose feedback helped improve this program.

CEBA Repayment Deadline

City Council also passed my motion calling on the federal government to extend the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) repayment deadline to December 31st, 2024.

The federal government has refused to meaningfully extend the CEBA repayment deadline. This will result in financial strain for small businesses, many of which are still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.

With time running out, the motion tells the federal government loud and clear that they need to act.

Recognizing 100 Years of East York

This January is East York's 100th birthday.

Council adopted my motion to recognize East York's centenary and as an important founding community of the City of Toronto.

One of the six municipalities amalgamated by the province into the City of Toronto, East York has maintained its strong community identity and produced many famous Canadians in art, culture and sports.

East York was also home to Agnes Macphail, Canada's first elected woman Member of Parliament and a trailblazer for Canadian women in politics.

My motion also calls for the city to support East York 100th anniversary celebrations, in particular at the annual Agnes Macphail Award and the East York Canada Day Festival.

I will share more details about centenary celebrations with you soon.

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