Late last night, just an hour shy of Mayor John Tory’s official resignation, Toronto City Council finalized the 2023 budget.
In a meeting labeled “long” and “chaotic,” funding was designated to the City’s housing, transit, frontline, and emergency services. It also ensued the biggest tax increase since amalgamation, including a property tax increase of 5.5% for residential properties, amounting to an additional $183 for the average assessed value of a Toronto home.
“The 2023 tabled budget follows through on my commitment to protect the frontline services that Toronto residents and businesses rely upon, while investing in housing, transit and community safety,” said Tory in a news release.
Councillor Gary Crawford, Chair of the Budget Committee, added that yesterday’s meeting was “the most challenging to date,” given persisting inflation and financial repercussions of the pandemic. “Despite these challenges, we have tabled a budget that maintains frontline services, invests in transit, housing and community safety and manages affordability with a below inflation property tax increase.”
Housing a Hot-Button Issue
As promised earlier this year, more than $2B of the 2023 budget will be used to support a variety of housing-related initiatives across the City.
Housing supply continues to be a hot-button issue across Toronto, and as such, $3.5M in new funding will be put towards the full implementation and legalization of multi-tenant housing. This follows a bylaw, passed by City Council late last year that saw multi-tenant housing legalized across Toronto.
In addition, the budget invests $18.85M into the City’s Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition program, launched in March of last year to incentivize the creation of affordable housing supply by non-profit and Indigenous housing providers.
Given the immense pressures on renters in Toronto, the City will also be putting $7.08M into the Eviction Prevention Intervention in the Community program.
The largest allotments of the bunch will be invested in the City’s Housing Secretariat and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). The Housing Secretariat will receive $146M to support its operations, while TCHC will see $10.8M -- in addition to a subsidy of $295.8M -- to help the organization mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, the 2023 budget calls on other levels of government to fulfill their jurisdictional housing obligations, including $48M from the Province of Ontario to support 2,000 units of supportive housing under its responsibility for mental healthcare and $97M to support refugee housing costs from the Government of Canada under its responsibility for immigration and refugees.