As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exert major stresses globally, the City of Toronto has been assessing, evaluating and monitoring the financial impacts to Toronto.
To address the situation, the City has assembled a COVID-19 financial impact working group to focus on stabilization and rebuilding. The working group is assessing the implications of COVID-19 on the City of Toronto budget, as well as the financial impacts that could result from this emergency continuing for an extended period of time.
The City of Toronto today announced that it is experiencing a financial pressure estimated at $65 million a week. The pressure is driven by decreased TTC and other revenues, coupled with increased costs. Revenues are decreased due to closures, decreased demands, and property tax and utility payment deferrals, and increased costs are stemming from COVID-19 related needs like additional personal protective equipment supplies, cleaning, additional shelter space, and overtime.
Work is underway, led by the Mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force, to begin the rebuilding efforts after the City transitions into the recovery phase, with a focus on growth and building resiliency. To achieve this, the City is conducting research to understand the economic impacts already experienced in the city and determine how to best support our many vital business sectors. Led by the Mayor, the City is engaging other orders of government and requesting relief funding from the federal and provincial governments to offset the cumulative financial impact to City expenditures and revenues as a result of the pandemic emergency.
The City is continuing to evaluate its workforce requirements and service levels. Many staff who are not in essential or critical roles are being redeployed to other areas to help the City continue to deliver essential, critical, and priority services during this time. Additionally, as a temporary measure, approximately 5,400 recreational workers that are normally hired at this time of year are not being hired because of the cancellation of spring recreation, arts and museum programs. These programs are being cancelled based on the advice of the Medical Officer of Health to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This step will also provide those staff with the option to access supports such as employment insurance as soon as possible. The City is hopeful that upon a return to regular business practices, these valued employees can be hired to continue to help deliver the excellent programming the City provides to the community.
Refunds will be processed for cancelled spring recreation, arts and museum programs and permits for community recreation facilities and parks. Although the customer service call centre is closed, residents can contact email@example.com with questions or concerns about recreation or firstname.lastname@example.org about arts and museums.
More information about the City’s response to COVID-19 is available at https://www.toronto.ca/covid-19/.
We are doing everything we can at the City to continue delivering essential, critical, and priority services to our residents. It is critical that as we continue to manage the City’s emergency response to COVID-19, that we also ensure that impacts to Toronto’s strong economy and strong pre-crisis financial position are addressed and that action plans are in place to best position the City when we emerge from this. We are committed to helping the many business sectors through recovery and rebuilding, and will be relying on our partners in the provincial and federal governments to continue to support our efforts.
– Mayor John Tory
We are proud of the incredible dedication our staff demonstrate every day to serve the residents of Toronto. We are mobilizing and adapting to ensure that we can continue to meet critical and essential needs throughout these difficult times. No employer wants to have to reduce their staffing, but we had to make the difficult decision to implement this temporary solution that is both fair to our taxpayers and respectful of City workers.
– City Manager Chris Murray
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit http://www.toronto.ca or follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/CityofToronto, on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/cityofto or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cityofto.