Today, Toronto City Council approved a motion from Mayor John Tory, seconded by Councillor Chris Moise (Toronto Centre), to have an updated review completed of revenue generating options for the City of Toronto available under the City of Toronto Act 2006.
The motion, which was adopted with amendments, calls for City staff to return to Council with a report by no later than the third quarter of 2023, with an updated assessment of revenue generating tools at Council’s disposal under its jurisdiction, as guided by the City of Toronto Act, including an in-depth study of the feasibility of implementing a commercial parking levy. Per amendments approved by Council, the parking levy study will include any potential impacts on Toronto’s climate goals. City Council also requested that the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) Board direct TPA staff to complete a review of rates for on-street and off-street parking.
As directed by Council, City staff will include in the report the total amount of taxes paid by Toronto residents to all three orders of government and what percentage of taxes paid by Toronto residents leave the City to pay for programs and services outside of Toronto.
The results of the City’s upcoming report to Council will inform ongoing discussions to establish a new fiscal framework for Toronto and other cities with the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. A new framework has the potential to provide more reliable revenue streams, as the City’s remaining revenue tools are limited in addressing the scale of the City’s financial challenges.
In 2016 Mayor Tory, along with Council, requested a similar report be undertaken to study potential revenue tools available under the City of Toronto Act. That report, which acknowledged at the time the unsustainable financing model of Canada’s largest city, led to a Council decision on tolling roads under the jurisdictional ownership of the City, the institution of the Municipal Accommodation tax (commonly referred to as the Hotel Tax), and harmonizing of Municipal Land Transfer Tax rates along with other minor changes. This year, the City also instituted a new Vacant Home Tax.
The City’s 2023 Budget is more challenging than City budgets in any previous year. The City continues to experience significant, ongoing financial pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs of operations and capital work. At the same time, the City continues to deliver on crucial priorities such as housing, transit, and economic recovery, while continuing to deliver the high-quality services Torontonians rely on.
More information about Toronto’s Budget is available on the City’s 2023 Budget webpage.
“It’s high time for a new fiscal deal for cities. While we are doing our best to protect services and invest in crucial priorities like housing, transit and safety, we would be able to do more with a new fiscal framework that would allow the City’s revenues to grow alongside the economy. That’s why I am so pleased that City Council decided to support my motion today to have an updated review done of revenue generating tools that are available to the City. The upcoming report on those revenue tools will be crucial to informing our discussions with other orders of government about our funding challenges, by providing us with the latest available information. City Council will be considering all revenue tools available to us within our jurisdiction, in the context of their feasibility, how they align with Council directed objectives, and how the tools do or do not address the City’s substantial budgetary pressures.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The City’s 2023 budget is more challenging than any of the previous budgets I have been involved with. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is profound — we continue to actively respond to the pandemic while investing in the City’s economic recovery. The prospect of new revenue generating tools for the City is promising, but I just want to be clear that new revenue tools allowed us under the City of Toronto Act will not be enough alone to resolve the pressing challenges of this City.”
– Councillor Gary Crawford (Scarborough Southwest), Chair of the Budget Committee
“The City’s need for more revenue streams is more critical than ever. Through these new streams, we can protect and continue to invest in the programs and services that Toronto residents rely on – housing, transit, critical infrastructure and community programs.”
– Councillor Chris Moise (Toronto Centre)
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 the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.