- You pay a "user fee" for some services each time you choose to use them. The City collects over 3,000 different types of user fees including the price of admission to the Toronto Zoo, a TTC fare, or paying for a class at your recreation centre.
- Some other City services are paid for through property taxes. Services funded through property taxes include snow clearing, firefighters, and testing drinking water.
- Property taxes pay for services that the general public uses and user fees pay for services that individuals, groups or businesses choose to use.
- If an individual, business or group chooses to use a service, the City believes that they should pay the full cost of that service through a user fee. For example, the cost of a permit for a group to use a City gymnasium helps pay for the cost of heating and staffing the recreation centre.
- User fees can help the City keep the cost of property taxes down by making sure that services which only a few people choose to use are not paid for by everyone.
- Sometimes services are paid for in a combination of ways. For example, the City pays for the police to patrol neighbourhoods through property taxes, but community groups pay user fees for police at their special events.
- There is one type of user fee you may see on your tax bill called rate-supported fees. They include fees for solid waste (garbage, recycling, and organics) collection and water. The amount of these fees depends on how much water you use and the size of your garbage bins.
- The City collects over $2.811 billion in user fees each year including through rate-supported programs such as garbage collection and water and wastewater and the TTC.
- Each year the City looks at all of its user fees and the cost of delivering services to decide if any changes need to be made. Some fees are adjusted automatically on January 1st to reflect the rate of inflation. Other fees change based on direction from City Council.
Other examples of user fees:
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- Bingo, bazaar or raffle licences
- Parking permits
- Sign permit review
- Dog and cat licensing
- Fee for reviewing applications to put a sign on your building or demolish a rental property.
- Recreation fees such as indoor/outdoor rink time, or to use part of a park for a group picnic
- Collecting “green box” organics from businesses
- Renting a City wedding chamber