Toronto is due for a hefty property tax hike, a City official has confirmed.
City Councillor Shelley Carroll, who is also budget chief for the city, spoke to reporters on Monday ahead of the Budget Committee’s first meeting of 2024, and said that the property tax increase will be “substantial.”
When pressed on specifics, Carroll said that more details will come to light on Wednesday.
The City’s budget process kicked off in November with pre-consultation meetings and will resume tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. It will culminate on February 14 when Council votes on the final budget package.
In addition to property taxes, certain budgetary processes will be under the microscope in the coming weeks, including with respect to how pandemic-related costs are reflected in the City’s budget, as reported by the CBC.
But Toronto’s staggering $1.8B operating shortfall is sure to take centre stage as the budget process unfolds.
Toronto has been sustaining the costs of transit and social services since the Province withdrew its support in the early 1990s, creating a structural deficit that has only worsened over the past decades. And even though Mayor Olivia Chow managed to secure the city billions in federal and provincial funding at the end of last year, property taxes remain the City’s primary revenue source for municipal services.
Toronto’s municipal property tax rate is currently lower than anywhere else in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, according to the City of Toronto’s website
Former Toronto Mayor John Tory was habitually finicky when it came to property taxes. During his term in 2022, Tory raised the property tax rate by just 2.9%. In 2023, he raised it by 5.5%. Though last year’s hike was the highest since the city's amalgamation, it was still below Toronto's 6.6% rate of inflation.
Under Chow’s leadership, it seems that the City will take a decidedly more aggressive approach to property taxes — but bear in mind, this was always the plan. Chow clearly stated while on the campaign trail last year that she intended to raise property taxes in Toronto, although she didn’t specify by how much at that time.
Although the exact amount of 2024’s property tax rate hike is presently unknown, Chow did say last year that, unlike her predecessor Tory, she isn’t committed to keeping the increase under the rate of inflation.