Ontario Construction News staff writer
Toronto is encouraging all Toronto residents and businesses to urge the Government of Canada to honour its funding commitment of $235 million for the city’s 2022 budget.
During the 2021 federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to help Toronto through the pandemic, however, the Government of Canada has not provided this promised funding.
Without federal support, officials say funding for future frontline services will be affected.
“We are standing up for Toronto – Canada’s economic engine – and asking residents to join us in this fight,” Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie said in a statement. “The City of Toronto does not have the resources or revenue tools to address the unprecedented financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need the Government of Canada to keep Prime Minister Trudeau’s election campaign promise. Beyond the immediate support of $235 million required for the 2022 budget shortfall, a new fiscal framework for Toronto is absolutely required, one that recognizes our city’s complexity, diversity and significant contribution to the success of the region, province and country.”
Council has launched a public campaign to pressure the feds. The campaign website details the plan which includes:
- An easy-to-use automated email for Toronto residents to contact their Member of Parliament to urge them to honor the Government of Canada’s commitment to the people of Toronto
- A message on all residential and non-residential final property tax bills (regular, pre-authorized, mortgage, print and eBilling); 873,308 accounts in total
A message included on residential property tax bills and the 2023 Final Property Tax Bill Information brochure reads:
“Federal Funding Shortfalls – Toronto needs the Federal government to provide promised support of $235 million for the City’s COVID-19 impacts for 2022, to match the Province’s commitment.
“As of March 31, 2023, the Government of Canada has not provided funding that was promised largely for pandemic transit and homelessness costs. Without federal support, City funding for future frontline services will be affected.”
Messaging encourages residents and business owners to contact federal Members of Parliament “to urge the Government of Canada to help the people of Toronto.”
More information can be found at toronto.ca/shortfall.
The city was impacted by reduced TTC ridership, increased costs to shelter the growing number of people experiencing homelessness and much more.
“This year, we introduced the largest residential property tax increase since amalgamation, and we have increased other taxes and fees such as the Municipal Accommodation Tax and TTC fares,” said budget chair and councillor Gary Crawford. “The city and its residents have done what we can. It’s time for the Government of Canada to keep its promise and provide the necessary funding for our pandemic-fuelled 2022 Budget shortfall and beyond.”