2017 Toronto Budget Approved

Dear neighbours,

Last week, Toronto City Council adopted the City's 2017 tax-supported budget of $10.5 billion and a 10-year capital budget and plan of $26.5 billion. The 2017 budget maintains and continues to provide the services Torontonians rely on while making strategic investments to meet Toronto's goals and priorities. The 2017 budget property tax increase is 2% for residential properties. Residents this year will also contribute an additional 0.5% for the City Building Fund which supports important infrastructure projects such as transit and housing. After taking into account the City's overall strategy to enhance Toronto's business climate, the average home assessed at $587,471 will incur an additional $90 in municipal property taxes.

The City's ongoing measures to modernize how the City works and to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of our services is an important part of controlling our expenditures. Following a detailed yearly review of the City's operations, the City's total operating expenditures will increase by 1.3%.

By controlling our expenditures and making new strategic investments, the city will deliver $40 million this year in service enhancements in addition the the services we already provide, including investments in poverty reduction, childcare and community wellness, safe transportation, environmental sustainability and city building. Importantly, we expanded subsidized childcare with 300 new spaces and will continue to fund the childcare occupancy grant as we work with our provincial and federal partners to establish a long term childcare funding strategy for Toronto families. This year the TTC will receive an additional $80 million in funding from the City to allow our system to better meet the needs of Torontonians. Importantly, this funding allows the TTC to expand Wheel-Trans Service to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable residents.

On the capital side, the City has been able to fund an additional $5.8 billion in our critical infrastructure and capital projects through better aligning project timelines, financing capacities and investments leveraged through the tax-supported City Building Fund. These projects include SmartTrack, TTC and transportation infrastructure projects, Toronto Public Library State of Good Repair backlog, necessary Port Lands Flood Protection work and more.

After working intensively with our City staff and Toronto Community Housing (TCH), I am also proud to share that TCH will invest $250 million into capital repairs in 2017. By the end of this year we will have invested over $1 billion to undertake critical repairs and tackle the $2.6 billion dollar repair backlog. In addition, $37 million more is being provided to Toronto Community Housing to address operational needs and to finance the completion of the Regent Park Phase 3 Revitalization. 

Even after our enhanced investments in the 2017 Budget, the City has approximately $30 billion in capital projects that are currently unfunded. These include important capital projects such as the Relief Subway Line, further reducing our state of good repair backlogs, waterfront transit and much more. These projects are critical to our long term prosperity. We cannot however expect to fund these projects on the property tax base alone, a revenue source which was never structured or intended to pay for such large infrastructure projects. 

The funding sources currently available to the City of Toronto are insufficient and carry risks to the long term quality of life in Toronto. Large property tax increases have the potential to significantly impact seniors and residents struggling to maintain affordability. Further, asset sales would only provide one time funding and repeat the long term funding instability which we currently confront. The City Manager has been very clear that in order to continue making the necessary investments to keep our city strong, we need to seriously consider revenue tools as a means to diversity the City's budget.

This year we took action to address this challenge. City Council supported the harmonization of municipal and provincial Land Transfer Tax rates to improve consistency of this revenue stream. In addition to modifications to commercial tax polices, the City is also modifying our income sharing agreement with the Toronto Parking Authority to improve the the long term sustainability and predictability of these revenue streams. The City will also be working with the Province to seek regulatory approval for the implementation of a hotel tax and to eliminate the long term vacancy rebate which will boost revenues and enhance the vitality of our neighbourhood streets. City Council has previously voted to request the City Manager to include in our Long Term Financial Plan Review consultations with residents and other levels of government an alcohol tax, commercial parking levy, sales tax and an income tax. The results of these consultations will be brought forward through a report in the future and I look forward to updating you on these and other measures.

I have been clear in my support for exploring fair, sustainable and transparent revenue options to allow our City to address these challenges. Road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway could have generated up to $300 million dollars annually and every penny raised would have been dedicated to building new transit and fixing our roads so we can make a real difference and boldly confront our traffic congestion and transit challenges. The City of Toronto also requested the Province to consider sales tax revenues as a solution to our infrastructure challenges, however the province immediately denied this request. Having a dedicated funding stream to address these needs would have allowed the City to focus on the multiple other priorities we must address to support Toronto's long term prosperity. 

The Provincial Government decided not to support the bold plan we put forward to implement road tolls and take control of our finances and city building priorities. While the Province announced it will allocate additional gas tax revenue to us, the City Manager has been clear that gas tax revenues are not and appropriate revenue stream to finance our longer term projects as gas tax revenues can change with gas prices and vehicle efficiency improvements.  Many of you at my Budget Town Hall noted that funding our long term priorities is important to you and that working with our federal and provincial partners to find sustainable solutions to tackle our challenges should be a key City goal. I share this view with you and will continue working with our federal and provincial counterparts to help ensure Toronto's long term prosperity.

Events 

Bloordale Movie Night Presents Minions - D-Beatstro (1292 Bloor St. W.) - Saturday February 25, 2017 at 4pm

Join with neighbours for a free screening of Minions hosted by the Bloordale CIA at D-Beatstro! Snacks for the kids, food specials and free fun prizes for everyone! 

EXHIBITION - JCT. GALLERY (213 Sterling Rd) - Monday February 27, 2017 from 6pm to 8pm

Exploring the intersection of art, site, architecture, landscape and urbanism in the Junction triangl, one of Toronto's fastest changing neighbourhoods and new home of Canada's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Free. All are welcome.

15 students (candidates in the Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture programs) from the John H. Daniels School of Architecture Landscape + Design) share their work with the community: Suhanija Arullsothy, Sebastien Beauregard, Jianing Chee, Xingchen Dong, Richard Freeman, Shahrzad Khatami, Tom Kwok, Daniel Lecik, Yusong Li , Lauren Marshall, Noah Mcgillvrary, Alex Okuka, Karima Peermohammad, Julie Wong and Shaine Wong.

Public Meeting to Discuss College Street Construction - College Shaw Library (766 College St.) - Tuesday February 28, 2017 from 7pm to 8:30pm

In October 2016, the City terminated its contract with the contractor delivering streetscaping work on College Street between Havelock and Shaw. I will be co-hosting a community meeting with City staff and neighbouring Councillor Mike Layton to discuss the remaining work and the next steps for this contract.

Gentrification in the Junction Triangle - Freshbooks (1655 Dupont St, in the Planet Storage Building) - March 2, 2017 from 7pm to 9pm

This COMMUNITY SPEAKER AND DISCUSSION EVENT ABOUT GENTRIFICATION is being hosted by a group of community members in order to provide an opportunity for learning and discussion about the impacts of gentrification in the Junction Triangle, such as rising rents and displacement of people, and possible responses. We aim to help build a diverse and inclusive community.

The questions we will be addressing are: What is gentrification? What is the impact of gentrification in the Junction Triangle? How can community members respond to gentrification? How can we increase inclusivity, diversity and equality in the Junction Triangle? How can neighbourhood improvements and development benefit all community members?

Thank you to Freshbooks for donating their space for the event!

Kid's Author Series - Ted Staunton Reading - Ciro's (1316 Bloor St W) - March 12, 2017 at 11am

The Bloordale CIA is hosting with Tundra Books a Kids Author Series featuring a Ted Staunton Reading at Ciro's (1316 Bloor St W).

CALL FOR READERS FOR A COMMUNITY READING OF THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION'S REPORT (TRC Report) - Community Office (1240 Bloor St W) - Friday March 24, 2017 from 11am to 2pm

I invite you to take part in a community reading of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Report at my Community Office on March 24, 2017 between 11am and 2pm. The reading will be facilitated by local resident claude wittman and Adam Herst. You can find below more information on the reading and this project below.

Background: In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada published a long report on the residential schools that children of Indigenous ancestry were forced to attend in the beginning of the 20th century and sometimes even until the 1990s. The schools were meant to westernize the mind and body of the children and they were often extremely traumatic while politically justified. The Commission interviewed survivors of these schools, wrote their history and also composed a series of 94 recommendations for us so that we start to work towards an equal relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.

Our Action: Your City Councillor Ana Bailão, together with facilitators claude wittmann and Adam Herst, are calling for 18 community members who would like to join us to read from the TRC report. We will read out loud, each for about 10 minutes and the readings will be live-streamed on an Internet radio and recorded for later playback. We will not worry about mistakes. We will even welcome them as they will be signatures of our presence with the text. Our focus will be to learn and feel what happened in the past, nothing else. Everybody is invited to read or to sit with us to witness the readings. This action is part of a larger project entitled 2894. It is about Truth, before (Re)Conciliation.

The Internet radio where the readings are broadcast can be found at http://claudewittmann.ca/stream/2894.html

To sign up to read: If you would like to be one of the 18 readers, please RSVP asap to 2894.claude@gmail.com and choose one of the following windows of time during which you would like to read: 11am-12pm, 12pm-1pm or 1pm-2pm. Your RSVP will be used to create a reading schedule that will be sent to you a few days before the reading.  

Local and City Updates

Wallace Ave Pedestrian Bridge Temporary Closure

The City of Toronto has approved Somerset Wallace Developments Inc.’s application to install new stairs on the pedestrian bridge at the terminus of Wallace Street. The stairs need to be realigned to accommodate construction of a mixed-use development at 362 Wallace Avenue, community centre, and the completion of Sousa Mendes Street. In order to complete the work effectively, there will be a temporary closure of the stairs from March 20th to March 28th. 

This project will involve

  • Construction and testing of the new staircase
  • Closure of the existing staircase and connection of the existing bridge to the new stair case
  • Demolition of the existing staircase

Work will typically take place from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday and residents can expect noise and temporary inconveniences. You can view the complete work notice by clicking here.

Open Door Call for Affordable Rental Housing Applications is now open!

The City has issued the 2017 Open Door Call for Affordable Rental Housing Applications.

Private and non-profit organizations are encouraged to participate in the program by submitting a complete Open Door Application package no later than 12 noon on May 31st, 2017. City Council approval of successful applications will occur in early October 2017.

NOTE: The first information session for the Call for Applications will be held Monday, March 20 from 9 to 11 a.m. at City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, Committee Room #2.

Sign up for the Open Door Registry

By signing up for the Open Door Registry, you will be the first to:

  • be notified when affordable rental and ownership housing RFPs/ Calls for Applications are available
  • Learn about affordable housing development opportunities on public land across Toronto.
  • Learn about other Open Door projects which are creating affordable housing

How to sign-up

News Clippings

The province must deliver long-term funding support to Toronto: Editorial - Toronto Star

Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club proposing to build teaching garden - Bloor West Villager

Public Consultations

THE CITY OF TORONTO INVITES YOU TO TAKE THE ONLINE SURVEY FOR THE KING STREET PILOT STUDY!



The King Street Pilot Study is about testing out how to redesign King Street to achieve three broad city-building objectives: moving people on transit more efficiently, improving placemaking and the public realm, and supporting business and economic prosperity. 

In this online survey, the City wants to hear your feedback about three key aspects of the pilot being explored in this phase of work:

1. How should we evaluate success of the pilot project?
2. What is your preference of three different block design options being considered?
3. Where along King Street should we undertake the pilot?

Please click on the link to the survey below…it should take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete: http://cityoftoronto.fluidsurveys.com/s/kingstreetpilot/

Thank you for participating in this important initiative. If you have any questions, please contact:

David J Hunter, P. Eng
Sr. Transportation Planner
City Planning Division, City of Toronto
www.toronto.ca/kingstreetpilot 
kingstreetpilot@toronto.ca

McCormick Arena Survey

The McCormick Arena is conducting a survey on maintaining high standards for the facility. Please take a few minutes to answer a short online survey (or pick up a hard copy at the Arena Office) to provide your feedback.

You can start the survey by clicking here and find more information about the arena at www.mccormickarena.com.

Exhibition Place Strategic Plan Public Consultation

The community is invited to attend Exhibition Place Public Consultation Sessions to review the Draft Strategic Plan 2017 to 2019 that the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place has developed. Free parking will be available to attendees.

We are offering two consultation session dates:

Wednesday, March 1, 10:30-12:00 noon – Allstream Centre, Room 203, Exhibition Place.
Wednesday, March 8, 6:30-8:00 pm – Allstream Centre, Room 200, Exhibition Place.

Please RSVP specifying which session you plan to attend by February 24th and if you require free parking to feedback@explace.on.ca

If you are unable to attend either session we welcome your feedback. Please send all comments to feedback@explace.on.ca - all commentary will be read and taken into consideration.

Find the Strategic Plan 2017-2019 (DRAFT version) here. 

Public feedback wanted in City of Toronto survey on provision of multilingual information

The City of Toronto is requesting input from residents and other members of the public through an online survey that will help determine how and when the City makes information available in languages other than English.

The survey will be available until March 10 at http://www.toronto.ca/languagesurvey and is offered in several languages including English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Tamil, Tagalog, Italian, Portuguese, Farsi, Russian, Urdu, Korean and French.

This feedback is being sought as a part of the City's review of the Multilingual Services Policy to ensure it continues to meet the needs of Toronto's diverse communities. Toronto's Multilingual Services Policy includes criteria for translating information into other languages to make sure information reaches residents, keeps them informed and engaged, and that City resources for translation and interpretation are used effectively. You can also access the policy by clicking here.

This news release is also available on the City's website here.

Important Notices

Let's Clean Toronto Together! April 21 - 23

Hey Toronto! It's time for some spring cleaning. Gather your friends, neighbours, co-workers and classmates to clean a park, laneway or any other space that needs your help. Friday, April 21 is the Corporate & School 20-Minute Makeover, and Saturday April 22 and Sunday April 23 are the Community Cleanup Days. Learn more, register your event and find out when and where to get your free GLAD® garbage and recycling bags at livegreentoronto.ca or call 311 for details. Here's to a cleaner, greener Toronto!

Time for Torontonians to get ready to register for spring/summer recreation programs

The City of Toronto offers recreation programs for all ages, skill levels and interests. Registration for spring and summer general programs, spring skating and swimming, and summer camps begins in two weeks. 

Registration dates
Registration is by district and starts at 7 a.m. on each date: 
Etobicoke York: Saturday, March 4
Scarborough: Sunday, March 5 
North York: Tuesday, March 7 
Toronto and East York: Wednesday, March 8 

Residents should visit http://www.toronto.ca/torontofun before registration day to build wish lists (program titles and bar codes) and have a few options ready in case they don’t get their first choice.

Those who want to register for programs will need to set up an account. Residents can call 416-338-4386, email pfrcustomerservice@toronto.ca or speak with staff at a City community centre to get a family number and a client number. 

Parks, Forestry and Recreation will offer extended customer service call centre hours on March 1, 2, 3 and 6 from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to assist with account information and answer questions about registration for spring/summer programs.

New this year, residents can stop by a recreation registration information table at one of the following four locations on Family Day (Monday, February 20) to find out more about recreation programs, get a family number and learn how to register for programs:

More information about these locations is available here.

Welcome Policy yearly credit 
The Welcome Policy credit can be used to register for City recreation programs. People receiving social assistance (Ontario Works) and living in Toronto are pre-approved to receive this credit and should speak to their caseworker. You can visit http://www.toronto.ca/wp for more information about the yearly credit.

Free programs 
Many community centres offer free recreation programs including leisure swimming and skating, and drop-in programs for children, youth and older adults. More information about free and low-cost programming options is available at http://www.toronto.ca/lowcostrecreation.

Older adult discounts 
Older adults (60 plus years) who register for adult recreation programs receive a 50 per cent discount off the regular price of those programs.

Attention Toronto Charities!

Kiwanis Toronto is celebrating 100 years of helping children and youth in Toronto; and, we’re celebrating this milestone by awarding 100 grants of $2500 each to Toronto-based charities working with children and/or youth.  

Please visit our site: www.torontokiwanis.ca to apply.   The deadline is mid-April 2017.

​Are you a student or recent grad? Need money for post-secondary school?

Between the cost of tuition, books, food and transportation, it can be tough for many students to find the money to cover the cost of post-secondary school. We can help! 

Apply today for the Investing in Our Diversity Scholarship (IIOD) and you could win up to $4,000 for your first year of post-secondary education or training. 

Now in its 16th year, the scholarship program is a joint partnership between Toronto Community Housing and Scadding Court Community Centre. The IIOD program has awarded over $973,000 in scholarships to 362 youth from across Toronto.
What does this ​scholarship offer?

You could receive up to $4,000 to cover tuition fees for the first year of your post-secondary education or training (college, university, trade school, apprenticeship)

  • Applicants are also eligible for second year scholarships of up to $4,000 if they attend one of the following Toronto schools​:
    1. ​Ryerson University
    2. ​University of Toronto
    3. ​York University
    4. ​Humber College
    5. ​George Brown College
    6. ​Seneca College
    7. ​​Ontario College of Art and Design University

Who is eligible?

  • High school students and/or recent high school graduates involved in anti-racism, diversity, community-building activities
  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • Youth who are 25 years of age or younger (as of May 31, 2017)​

Everyone who applies for a scholarship will receive:

  • One-on-one counselling to assist with resume writing, job searching​
  • Employment services offered through St. Stephen’s Community House Employment and Training Centre and Toronto Youth Employment Services
  • Assistance with looking for and getting a job
  • Job matching assistance​
How are recipients selected?
Successful scholarship recipients are selected from among Toronto's up-and-coming diverse young leaders. Each recipient must have made a strong contribution to their communities in promoting diversity, equity and anti-racism dialogue.

The scholarship funds can be used by students to pay for tuition fees, books and residence fees at publicly-funded, Canadian post-secondary institutions or related expenses. The funds may also be applied towards the costs of a recognized trade apprenticeship program or to support a transitional year for mature students returning to school.
Applications for the 2017/18 program are now open! 

 

 

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