Strategic Actions Progress Report
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The information below spotlights key achievements for select themes of the Strategic Actions. Information is current as of 2016 and provides a progress update for the City’s Strategic Actions. Click on each of the six themes for more details. View the full Strategic Actions Progress Report.
Infrastructure for a Successful City: Toronto has the necessary social and physical infrastructure to ensure community and individual well-being throughout the city, and to attract investment and succeed in the world economy.
Service Excellence: Public services are high quality, well-coordinated and easy to access.
Smart Urban Growth: Toronto’s urban form is well planned with efficient, accessible and integrated City services and transportation systems.
Quality of Place: Toronto’s vibrant arts, culture, heritage, entertainment and urban design enrich the city’s quality of life and enhance its international image.
1. Implement Smart Urban Growth Strategies
Ensure growth positively contributes to Toronto as a place to live, work, play and invest by:
- Reviewing the Official Plan: The Official Plan sets out goals, objectives and policies to manage physical growth and change across the City to the year 2031. To ensure the Official Plan is fulfilling its vision, Toronto City Planning performs regular ‘check-ups’. Since the 2013 Strategic Actions, several amendments to the Official Plan were enacted on the themes of heritage, employment lands, transportation, neighbourhoods, environment and Section 37 policies related to housing. Section 37 allows the City to negotiate contributions towards local community benefits in exchange for development applications that exceed a site’s zoned height and density. Unlike other municipal financing tools such as Development Charges and Parkland Contributions, Section 37 benefits are provided primarily in the local community in which the development is located. The review also addressed conformity with the provincial Growth Plan and Greenbelt Plan.
- Improving Public Spaces: As Toronto continues to grow, there is an increasing need and demand to revitalize and create new parks and open spaces. Since the launch of the Strategic Plan, over a 100 publicly-accessible open spaces were secured and built through the development application process. In order to provide much needed open space within Toronto’s dense urban landscape, the City negotiates with private developers to include Privately Owned Publicly-Accessible Spaces (POPS) as part of the development application and review process. Other major initiatives include exploring the feasibility of a Rail Deck Park and the recently launched Bentway (Under Gardiner) project.
- Reviewing and Establishing a Comprehensive Transportation Planning Framework: The review of the Official Plan’s transportation policies was undertaken under the banner of the “Feeling Congested” initiative. This engagement supported and informed the review of transportation policies in the City’s Official Plan, the development of a new long-term transportation plan and the development of a funding and investment strategy. In addition to the Official Plan Amendment, Transportation Services developed a five-year Congestion Management Plan, adopted by Council in 2013.
2. Invest in Culture
Implement the arts and culture strategic plan, Creative Capital Gains, by 2017 to create a more vibrant cultural sector to increase employment in the arts, to improve the liveability of the city and to make Toronto a larger presence on the world stage by:
- Providing Access to Culture: More than 28,000 cultural events are either directly or indirectly funded every year by the City of Toronto. These events are attended by over 19 million people per year. During the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, the City of Toronto also ran a 19-day Indigenous arts, culture, and sports festival at the Fort York Historic Site.
- Supporting Creative Clusters: The film industry is a key economic driver in Toronto. Film and screen-based industry expenditures topped over $1 billion for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. In 2015 alone, the City of Toronto permitted over 6,000 filming locations and co-ordinated over 1,500 on-screen productions.
- Being A Creative City: A number of cultural events are hosted by the City every year, including Nuit Blanche and Doors Open Toronto. The 2015 Nuit Blanche event attracted an audience of more than one million and generated an economic impact of $41.5 million. The City also continues to grow the music industry with the development of the Austin-Toronto Music Cities Alliance, the opening of the Toronto Music Office and the creation of the Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council.
3. Develop a Long-term Transportation Plan and Policies
Develop a Long-Term Transportation Plan and Policies by 2014 to guide future City transportation priorities by:
- Creating an Integrated Framework for Movement (Pedestrians, Cycling & Goods): The City’s Official Plan integrates a wide range of transportation policies and opportunities that will support the city’s continued growth and health. It recognizes that Toronto’s streets must serve a multitude of roles, functions and users. For this reason, the City created guidelines for Complete Streets. Complete Streets are streets that are designed to be safe for all users, such as people who walk, bicycle, take transit or drive, and people of varying ages and levels of ability. The City also continues to develop and expand the following programs and services; the Toronto Cycling Network Plan, the Toronto Walking Strategy, and the Road Safety Plan.
- Expanding the Transit Network: In the next six years, Toronto’s transit network will be expanded to include the Eglinton Crosstown, the Finch-West Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Toronto –York Spadina Subway Extension. In addition to this, a number of transformative projects are currently in planning and design including, the Scarborough Subway, the Relief Line, SmartTrack and the Regional Express Rail (RER). These projects have significant potential to meet the Official Plan objectives in regards to mobility and connectivity.
- Reviewing the Taxicab Industry: The Vehicle-for-Hire bylaw, in effect since July 15, 2016, substantially changes the city’s approach to regulation within the ground transportation industry. By creating the new Private Transportation Company (PTC) licensing category, companies such as Uber are permitted to operate in Toronto, with regulation. It also focuses on public safety and consumer protection, ensures accessible vehicle-for-hire services and allows for increased competition and innovation.
People: Toronto’s workforce has the skills, education and knowledge demanded by an evolving and competitive economy.
Generating Employment: Toronto’s economy generates high levels of employment, providing quality jobs and a range of employment opportunities.
Dynamic Economic Base: Toronto has a diversified business and employment base and builds on its competitive strengths through excellence in education, research, entrepreneurship and innovation.
International Image: Toronto is internationally recognized as a desirable place to live, work, visit, invest and conduct business.
4. Increase Employment Opportunities
Increase employment opportunities in Toronto by the end of 2018 by:
- Aligning Workforce Development, Strong Neighbourhoods & Economic Growth: City divisions collaborate on a number of joint initiatives that help people find jobs and employers secure skilled employees. For example, the Partnership to Advance Youth Employment (PAYE) provides work-based learning and employment opportunities for young job-seekers. Another program, StarterSpace, trains youth on Ontario Works to start their own business.
- Ensuring Equitable Opportunities for All: To better support Ontario Works (OW) clients, the City has reviewed and modernized its suite of employment services through the Purchase of Employment Service (POES) programs. These programs help prepare clients for employment, advancement in the workplace and self-employment. POES received an additional investment of $4.5 million in 2015. In addition to POES, the City continues to advance the objectives of Working as One: A Workforce Development Strategy for Toronto. A central focus of Working as One is the current employment services landscape. The absence of an integrated and coordinated employment services system in Toronto makes it difficult for both jobseekers and employers to find and access the services and supports they need, when they need them. Therefore, the City has revitalized its web presence for Employment & Social Services, emphasizing employment programs and services in Toronto.
- Creating Jobs through Affordable Housing Investment: Creating and maintaining affordable housing is a key City of Toronto priority. It is also a way to create jobs through construction, conversion and community revitalization. New affordable housing completions between 2014 and 2018 are expected to create an estimated 5,500 jobs. Essential repairs/modifications completed between 2014 and 2018 will should create an additional estimated 1,500 jobs.
5. Accelerate Economic Growth
Implement the economic growth plan, Collaborating for Competitiveness – A Strategic Plan for Accelerating Economic Growth and Job Creation in Toronto, by the end of 2018, to create a more attractive business climate to encourage business growth and investment, foster job creation and improve the City’s finances by:
- Enhancing Toronto’s Business Competitiveness: The City provides governance and capital investment support to 82 Business Improvement Areas (BIAs). Since 2012, eight new BIAs were created and six expanded, representing 40,000 businesses across the City. Support to Toronto’s businesses through programs, such as the Goldstar Investment Facilitation and Enterprise Toronto, helped to create and retain more than 50,000 jobs.
- Enhancing Toronto’s Business Climate: City of Toronto’s businesses are now benefiting from changes being made to the City’s property tax policies. Council’s adopted policy will reduce the tax ratios for the multi-residential class and the business class to 2.5-times the residential tax rate by 2020. In 2015, this was achieved for the residential rate for small businesses. Targets for office and industrial uses are close to being met.
- Boosting Toronto’s Business Growth: Advice and consultation to Toronto’s high-growth industry sectors resulted in enhanced business-to-business and business-to-government collaborations. Initiatives include TO Health! (The Toronto Region Human Health Sciences Initiative), the Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research Consortium, the Downsview Aerospace Campus Hub and the new location of the Toronto Food Business Incubator (Food Starter).
- Using Toronto’s Diversity as an Economic Driver” The 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games showcased the City and promoted business-to-business and business-to-government alliances and connections through a number of initiatives. These include the Toronto Global Forum, the Pan American Economic Summit (2,800 delegates from 41 countries) and the Latin American Export Development Showcase.
Environmental Awareness: Awareness of environmental impact results in active public participation in environmental improvements.
Environmental Sustainability: Human activities and consumption are balanced with the environment’s ability to absorb emissions and impacts.
Environmental Health: The health of residents is protected from environmental risks.
6. Support Environmental Sustainability
Develop an Environmental Sustainability Framework by the end of 2013 which advances the City of Toronto’s corporate and divisional environment and energy objectives by:
- Monitoring Environmental Outcomes: Environmental and energy outcomes are tracked and documented in several reports; including, an annual report on the estimated greenhouse gas emissions for the community and for corporate operations; an annual report identifying the actions and achievements of the Environment & Energy Division and the Environmental Progress Report, which identifies Toronto’s progress against Council adopted environmental goals.
- Moving Forward Environmental Priorities: TransformTO is a collaborative project to engage the community in reducing Toronto’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. To date over 2,000 people have participated in person in a TransformTO event, consultation or engagement activity. The Environment & Energy Division, in conjunction with The Atmospheric Fund, leads the initiative.
- Integrating Environmental & Energy Policies: The Environment & Energy Division provides cross-corporate leadership and is accountable for the City of Toronto’s environment and energy sustainability outcomes. City of Toronto divisions also work together on a number of working groups and advisory boards. For example, the Live Green Toronto Initiative was established to support and engage businesses, residents and community groups in utilizing their own talents and resources to take local action on environmental issues of concern.
7. Develop a Long Term Solid Waste Management Strategy
Develop a Long-term Sustainable Waste Management Strategy by 2015, in partnership with community and divisional stakeholders, that is environmentally sustainable and economically viable by:
- Maximizing the Lifespan of the Green Lane Landfill: Waste management and diversion programs in the City have significantly evolved over time. In 2013, City Council recognized the need for an updated and comprehensive Long-Term Waste Management Strategy. The final Waste Strategy was adopted (with recommendations) in 2016. The development of the Waste Strategy placed a priority on maximizing the life of Green Lane Landfill by minimizing the amount of garbage sent for disposal. Recommended options include testing new technologies that will reduce waste sent to Green Lane landfill in order to increase its lifespan to 2040.
- Increasing Waste Diversion Targets” Solid Waste Management Services operates an efficient, world class system; particularly when considering the size and variability of its customer base. The Waste Strategy includes a recommended residential and non-residential waste diversion rate target of 70 per cent The Strategy prioritizes reducing waste and minimizing the amount sent to landfill. Enforcement, coupled with ongoing education and engagement of existing programs, services and by-laws, will improve system performance and divert significant amounts of material currently being landfilled.
Civic Participation: Open, democratic decision-making processes and effective dialogue invite people to contribute their ideas, opinions, and energy to the well-being of the city.
Organizational Excellence: The City has appropriate legislative authority, financial tools and organizational structures and processes to undertake its responsibilities and achieve goals that support and enhance the city’s quality of life.
Intergovernmental Affairs: Toronto is a full partner with other orders of government when making decisions that affect the city.
International Relations: Toronto is regarded internationally as a role model for cities, and benefits socially, culturally and economically from its international linkages.
13. Open Government by Design
Shift the organizational culture to be more accountable, open and transparent by the end of 2017 by:
- Creating an Information Sharing Culture: Open Government is about improving the delivery of services, making information more accessible and supporting initiatives that build public trust in government. It is guided by four principles: transparency, participation, accountability and accessibility. To learn how the public and City staff view open government, the City engaged Ipsos Reid to conduct a City of Toronto resident survey and a City of Toronto staff survey. Both surveys demonstrated that the City faces challenges with open government. Several solutions, such as a City Council YouTube channel and Participatory Budgeting pilot projects, were developed to foster a culture of information sharing. More projects are listed in the Open Government Progress Report.
14. Engage the Public
Enhance the City’s capacity to inform, engage and consult the public by the end of 2014 by:
- Enhancing the way the City Engages the Public: The City’s re-launched Get Involved web portal provides information on current, future and past opportunities for the public to learn about their local government, participate in consultations and provide input to staff and City Council. Information is searchable by neighbourhood, ward, and issue, posted on a calendar and mapped. A Civic Engagement Strategy also builds on the City’s organizational capacity. It supports continued staff training on best practices and a community of practice for civic engagement practitioners.
- Enhancing the City’s Use of Web-Based Tools: Launched in 2015, Engage Toronto is an online platform enabling the organization to use web-based engagement tools to engage with and consult the public. It is also a knowledge base to improve organizational learning and capacity, as well as a database to record, track, monitor and report on City and divisional engagements.
16. Strengthen Intergovernmental Relationships
Develop an enhanced corporate intergovernmental protocol and strategy by 2015 that supports collaboration and awareness of City divisions and agencies by addressing the following:
- Supporting Relationships with other Levels of Government: The City’s direct relationship with the Government of Canada is facilitated and nurtured through the administration of the Federal Gas Tax Fund and Waterfront Toronto. Provincially, the City works in partnership with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on several issues, including the implementation of the Toronto-Ontario Consultation and Cooperation Agreement (T-OCCA). The T-OCCA provides guidance for early and consistent two-way cooperation and consultations between the two governments on matters of mutual interest. How the City engages in intergovernmental relations was recently reviewed and validated to verify the City’s objectives, principles and scope.
17. Enhance the City’s Capacity to Serve Toronto’s Diversity
Enhance the City’s capacity to deliver policies, programs and services that serve the diversity of Toronto’s population by the end of 2018 by:
- Integrating Diversity Objectives into Corporate – Wide Structures: Diversity is a key priority of the City, with a goal of having a public service that reflects the population it serves and champions diversity, access, inclusion and respectful behaviour. It is also one of the four strategic focus areas in the 2014 -2018 Talent Blueprint – the City of Toronto’s workforce plan. Actions to integrate diversity objectives into corporate-wide structures include identifying and implementing workforce data collection, developing and implementing a Positive Space program and increasing senior leadership knowledge of equity and diversity issues.
- Developing an Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Corporate Framework: The Equity, Diversity and Human Rights division ensures that the City’s services, programs and policies are responsive to the needs of Toronto’s diverse communities. Three new prototypes of the revised Equity Lens have been developed and tested. The Equity Lens is a practical tool that helps ensure City policies and programs result in equitable outcomes for all residents. It is a tool that helps the Toronto Public Service to consider equitable treatment of Toronto’s diverse communities and workforce when planning, developing and evaluating City policies, programs and services.
18. Develop and Implement a Workforce Plan
Develop and implement the Toronto Public Service workforce plan, Talent Blueprint, by 2018 to ensure an engaged, diverse, high-performing, adaptive and productive workforce to meet our current and future needs by:
- Creating the 2014-2018 Talent Blueprint: The Talent Blueprint outlines critical actions that the corporation must accomplish over the next five years to ensure the public service is able to anticipate and meet the needs of residents, businesses and visitors of the city of Toronto. Its focus is to place people in the right roles and optimizing their skills, abilities and capacities to drive our organization’s success. The Talent Blueprint identifies actions within four focus areas that management and staff, in partnership with Human Resources, must participate in and implement to increase the quality of talent of all employees and managers across the Toronto Public Service.
19. Improve Customer Service
Improve the delivery of City information and services to Toronto citizens by the end of 2015 by:
- Building a Customer Service Culture: Customer service is the responsibility of all City staff; however, it is championed by the Office of the Chief Corporate Officer. The Chief Corporate Office established a customer service governance model, a customer service strategy and a Centre of Excellence. City staff continue to work towards creating a positive client experience, anticipating the needs of our clients and championing an attitude of service.
- Implementing Technology that Supports Seamless Customer Service: Technology helps to add value and reduce the cost of service delivery. For this reason, the City supports a “Digital First” service delivery model. Accomplishments include the implementation of a 311 mobile App/Payment module and the introduction of a mobile work order management system by Facilities Management. Several other projects are underway including the implementation of an ePayment solution. This will help facilitate the migration of channel/counter services provided at Civic Centres, Metro Hall and City Hall to an online environment.
- Developing a Counter & Multi-Channel Strategy: The Channel/Counter Strategy outlines the overall vision for optimal counter service across the city. A counter is defined as a horizontal surface located in a City facility that is staffed and handles business transactions in-person, with external customers. The project is currently assessing 73 counters. The new service delivery model will migrate services to digital channels, optimize traditional channels (phones and counters) and expand self-service channels.
Stewardship of City Resources and Assets: Provide stewardship of City resources and assets through sounds financial planning.
Sustainable Financial Mechanisms and Sources: Establish sustainable financing mechanisms.
23. Update the Long-term Fiscal Plan
Update the City’s Long-term Fiscal Plan by 2014 with an emphasis on identifying viable solutions to the major issues impacting the City’s finances. The Plan is expected to identify key strategies to address the following:
- Implementing Surplus Management Policy: The City’s surplus management policy dedicates 75% of any annual operating surplus to the Capital Financing Reserve. The Capital Finance Reserve directly funds capital investments augmenting City debt funding for capital works. At the same time, the City has maintained the State of Good Repair (SOGR) backlog at normalized levels.
- Funding the City’s Growth: The City has allocated, or approved in principle, $21.8 billion for growth in transportation, transit and waterfront renewal. These projects include the cost of building and upgrading Regional Express Railway infrastructure; Scarborough Subway; LRT funding (municipal and other governments); annual contributions to Waterfront Toronto; money allocated to the Gardiner; and specific transit projects (e.g., Cherry Beach, Queens Quay, St Clair, etc.). However, there is an additional $30 billion in identified, but unfunded, capital projects.
25. Ensure State of Good Repair for Infrastructure
Enhance State of Good Repair for City assets and infrastructure by developing and implementing a corporate-wide strategic asset management plan by the end of 2015 by:
- Prioritizing State of Good Repair Investments: The Financial Planning Division, through the annual budget process, places a high priority on funding State of Good Repair investments. This ensures the City’s $76 billion in assets are safe and reliable in supporting service delivery. Annually, the State of Good Repair (SOGR) Backlog analysis is updated for each asset type. Funding is then dedicated to those service areas where the backlog is increasing. In order to address the City’s $33 billion in unfunded capital needs, criteria was established in 2015, and used again in 2016, to prioritize unfunded capital projects and allocate funding accordingly. State of Good Repair projects were placed as the third highest priority after (1) approved projects with cost escalation and (2) projects to meet legislative compliance.
- Leveraging Funding from Other Governments: In 2016, the Federal government announced its Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) which provides matching funding for eligible state of good repair projects. The purpose of the PTIF is to help accelerate municipal investments in the rehabilitation of transit systems, new capital projects, and planning studies for future transit expansion. The City, through the 2017 Budget process, funded its 50 per cent matching share of $706 million; leveraging this federal Fund to undertake $1.5 billion in Transportation and TTC State of Good Repair projects. The City was also able to leverage $96 million through the Federal Social Infrastructure Fund (SIF) for state of good repair investments in social and seniors housing.
26. Finance the City’s Growth
Implement an integrated City-wide approach to finance the city’s growth ensuring alignment with the City’s Official Plan and Long-term Fiscal Plan by:
- Establishing a Framework for the City’s Long-term Fiscal Plan: In 2016, staff from the City Manager’s Office, Corporate Finance and Financial Planning, provided Council with a long-term fiscal outlook for Toronto. The report, Immediate and Longer-Term Revenue Strategies, outlines principles and directions for developing new strategies that manage expenses and expand revenues. Staff will report back in 2017 with strategies for a multi-year expenditure management plan and revenue strategy as well as strategies to strengthen strategic decision-making.
- Aligning Financial Policy & Tools to Address Infrastructure Needs: Corporate Finance updated the City-wide development charges (DC) bylaw to reflect updated growth-related capital plans in 2013. It was then amended in 2015 to include the Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) Project. Through 2017 and 2018, the DC bylaw rates and policies will further be updated to reflect new legislation, including the elimination of the 10 per cent deduction for transit and any updates to the scope and costs of growth-related capital plans. Other financial policies and tools introduced include the implementation of a Municipal Land Transfer Tax administration fee (2016) and the optimization of debt financing using various terms to maturities and arranging loans and debentures when applicable (2015/2016).
- Securing Capital Funding to Address Growth: The City continues to secure funding for growth, with a focus on transportation. Approximately $2.56 billion in federal/provincial funding was secured for the Scarborough Subway Extension project. Partnership funding was also developed for SmartTrack, with secured commitments of $1.76 billion in federal and provincial funding and $600 million in York Region contributions for the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension project (2016). A business case seeking funding for the Gardiner Expressway Rehabilitation project was also submitted to the federal government in 2016.