The 2023 Ontario budget offered little in the way of a financial lifeline for the cash-strapped city, leaving Toronto in the lurch at Queen’s Park.
The largest municipality in Ontario has requested $510 million in “COVID-19 hangover costs” from the province to assist cover its enormous 2023 gap.
However, the government chose not to ease the city’s current epidemic pressure, stating instead that it was watching to see how Ottawa would respond to a comparable request from Toronto during the federal budget announcement the following week.
In response to one of the three requests Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie made of Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy in a letter written earlier this month, it did give $48 million in financing for Toronto’s supportive housing expenditures.
Nevertheless, without additional cash from Queen’s Park and Ottawa, the city’s 2023 budget will still fall short by almost $1 billion.
Officials in Toronto also hoped the province would pick up the bill for the development fees the city would no longer be entitled to as a result of Bill 23, which reduced the payments to encourage the creation of more dwellings.
City staff estimated the loss at more than $200 million annually since they had relied on that revenue to pay for the infrastructure and services required to support the development.
The administration stated once more on Thursday that it would examine a few particular communities to create a baseline for municipal reserves and development fees, and that it would then decide how to make up any gaps related to Bill 23.
But, some detractors are cautioning that Toronto’s lack of investment may force the city to make some challenging choices.