City services impact your life every day. Each time you visit a recreation centre, borrow a book from the library, have your garbage or recycling picked up, drink clean water from the tap, ride the TTC or have emergency services rush to your aid – you are using a City of Toronto service.
That’s why the city’s budget is so important – it’s about setting our collective goals and building a great city. It determines the level of service provided to Toronto residents and guides decisions on what city infrastructure will be purchased, built and repaired.
Learn more about the city's budget and finances.
I heard from so many of you about the need for more compassion in the lead up to the 2023 City Budget. After many days of negotiation, City Council finalized Toronto $16 billion budget on February 15th, 2023 after a broad consensus was reached on some improvements that all but one Councillor supported. These included:
- Money for a 24/7 warming centre to run until April 15th
- Additional resources to successful violence prevention programs and youth hubs
- Money to expand multi-disciplinary mental health and homeless support teams dedicated to the TTC
- Increasing the access for low income seniors to the property tax deferral program
- An additional one million dollars to the Rent Bank to prevent tenants from ending up homeless
These additions to the budget were accomplished by Councillors of all political leanings, working together under very difficult circumstances to respond to the concerns of residents who spoke up throughout the budget process. They were passed by majority vote at Council.
This budget was approved under the shadow of changes made by Premier Ford’s Bill 39, which allows Toronto's Mayor to veto decisions by City Council, pass the budget without a majority of Council approval and impose bylaws through minority rule. I will continue to call for these powers to be repealed nor used by our next Mayor.
Despite the changes that were made at Council we can do better in the next budget. While ensuring safety on our streets we also must ensure compassion and care for those with nowhere to go in the freezing winter. Making our city into one that is safe, clean, and caring is possible. We can do better.
For more on the 2023 budget read my updates on the police budget and warming centres and my successful motion to increase EV charging funding.