Without federal or provincial help, Toronto will have to fire cops, shutter libraries and close subway lines
Mayor John Tory laid out in the starkest terms so far what it would mean if the higher levels of government don’t come to the table with significant help for Toronto and Canada’s other financially devastated cities.
Toronto is facing a best-case scenario shortfall of $1.5 billion in lost revenue this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city would have to raise property taxes by an estimated 47 per cent in order to make up that shortfall, Tory said, adding that such a raise would be “unacceptable.”
In Canada, municipalities fall under provincial jurisdiction. Ontario law prohibits municipalities from running operational deficits, meaning the city cannot simply borrow money to make up for shortfalls in its budget.Without help from other levels of government or a massive property tax hike, the only remaining option would be drastic cuts to city services.
Among the cuts, more than half-a-billion dollars would be slashed from the TTC’s budget. That would mean service on lines 1 and 2 would be cut in half, while Line 3 (Scarborough) and Line 4 (Sheppard) would be completely shut down.Service on the city’s busiest streetcar and bus routes would operate only every 10-20 minutes and the city would provide 4 million fewer WheelTrans trips.
Millions would also be slashed from the police force, fire service, shelters, recreation programs, libraries and city-owned long-term care homes.In all, Tory said, some 19,000 city employees would lose their jobs.The city would also be forced to cancel youth hubs that were set to open in September in order to address the roots of gun violence in the city.
The mayor has been pleading with Ottawa and Queen’s Park for weeks to announce some sort of relief for Canada’s hard-hit municipalities.So far, his pleas have mostly been greeted with "encouraging words," but not much else.“I’ve had a lot of encouraging words, but encouraging words don’t buy child care and they don’t buy transit and they don’t buy help for homeless people; they don’t buy anything, quite frankly,” Tory vented Friday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said little about what help Canada’s cities can expect. Premier Doug Ford, whose government is responsible for Ontario’s municipalities, has said that help for municipalities will be a “big ticket” item and that Ontario can’t help cities unless Ottawa comes on board.
Tory didn’t rule out property tax increases, but said he doesn’t believe they should be necessary if other levels of government come to the table in a proper way.Asked for a timeline on when the cuts might be implemented, Tory said “the days of reckoning are approaching” and suggested that some cuts might have to be implemented by September without any reassurances of alternate revenues.
The mayor said that even if the projections are off one way or another, thousands of city employees would lose their jobs, a situation that would be “devastating” for the GTA.“You can cut it any way you want, you can use any number as the base number. The bottom line is this would be a disaster in terms of a working humane, livable city which we’ve created here and there’s no reason for it,” Tory said.
He said when the pandemic first struck, he was reassured that help for cities would come after individuals were helped, but there has been no word since then.“Plenty of other groups have gotten help from the other governments and I’m very happy about that,” Tory said. “I supported that strongly and still do. But I think that cities, given everything they do to deliver on a lot of the services people rely on – including the most vulnerable people – are in need of that help now.”
According to Tory, the city could be facing the following cuts without help from other governments:$575 million reduction to the TTCService on line 1 and 2 would be cut in halfThe Sheppard and Scarborough subway lines would be shut downStreetcar and major bus service would be half as frequent – roughly every 10-20 minutes
$73.6M reduction to WheelTrans service, eliminating 4 million Wheel trans rides per yearToronto Fire - $23 million cutToronto Police Service –$31.3 million would be slashed from the budget, eliminating 500 frontline officers$40 million cut to child care subsidies, eliminating 40,625 subsidies to families
$101.5 million would be slashed from shelter services, resulting in a 50 per cent reduction in shelter space$40.8 million would be slashed from the city’s recreation budget, meaning a roughly 50 per cent reduction in recreational services, the closure of 61 community centres and/ or loss of 600,000 hours of recreational programming
50 per cent reduction in spaces in city-owned Long-term care facilities, saving $12 million (1,320 spaces would be cut)Library branches would closeSubsidies for Toronto Community Housing would have to be reducedNew investments that were set to go into effect for youth hubs and spaces to fight the roots of gun violence would have to be cancelled.
A well spoken mayor for a overpopulated city residents of little respect for each other, or the street& homeless peoples are running the city POLITICS. Maybe th cith is to big for its britches Some thing wrong with this picture ? JohnTory there’s a smart move What? To many invited guests attending the Party?
Doubt it. What about pay reductions like everyone else in the province that isn’t getting a check from the Ontario government? Cut the Mayors pay All thanks to the dysfunctional governance of the Red Tory and his so called Council!! Fakenews “Fire” Cops? ya ok. You’re stupid TO to have your library’s open and should B closed. Then “shutter” the “lines” down? Are the “lines” like on the streets? If you have your Subway system running at full captivity then who mismanaged those depts. Asking for JoeBiden
Fire or layoff cops. Now with releasing prisoners because of C19, we the general public are in trouble. I think its time to open up...or we stay closed for 2 years Well since all the brain dead liberal dummies live there and voted for Trudeau I say good! Live with your choice! Sounds like a Toronto problem, not mine
Gangbangers already police the city, nothing changes in that aspect. Raise the taxes! It's city of millionaires anyway 🙄 Where is taxpayer money going . I am sure Doug Ford gives taxpayers money to land mafias Raise property tax by 47%? Sounds like a solution. Homeowners and tenants will surely vote you out of office in the next election. So I bet anything you won’t do it!
Or declare bankruptcy. Ontario will be gone, Canada will lose GDP similar to Alberta. Shut libraries is ok too. All the stuff are online. Close the subway is ok too. It’s not reliable service anyway. If you fire cops, please only fire those give out parking tickets. The rest are OK Has Ford ever thought of just cutting city employee salaries by 25% and ask the federal government to for go collecting federal income tax of civic employees pay cheques until after the crisis over. sure most unions would agree to such a deal if it could be made.
Good thing you idiots championed taking people’s legal guns away at a cost of billions instead of funding police Toronto is the Hotspot for Covid19 in Ontario. Toronto should continue to be shut down while NorthernOntario should be allowed to open. This whole thing is half backwards. Magna Carta so now john tory cries for help......................
That’s a shame... Maybe they shouldn-t have been given them full pay to sit at home, short sighted and lack of any finacial management skills. Empty threats. The mayor is completely incompetent. This is all bullshit. They were having a budget issue before this virus. Same as all democrat run states. So you wanna try some NationalPurgeDay scenarios
That is a far left excuse for a failed mayor. They will always cut cops first. Cut council ffs. If this POS wasn’t shoving $5 bills down the thongs of drag queens over his last term, perhaps he would have been more responsible with city funds. STOP Spending so much. At least try to keep the City safe. If you lay off the police, I'm sure the criminals won't be laying off anyone.
EVERY large city in Canada is having the same budget concerns. Time to cut GOVT. DEFINED PENSIONS YET MAYOR TORY? D. FORD? J TRUDEAU? Toronto isn’t the only city that will face this problem. How about charging the right amount of taxes on their properties ! Perhaps instead of politicians getting raises, they should all take a massive pay cut and allow our police force to keep their jobs. You people do not know how to handle our money.
fire cops! now we're talking baby! get rid of em! Or budget better? Cities hate this, but they are going to have to cut their budgets. Toronto has 36,000 employees, not including place, TTC and library and community centre workers, there is a lot of room to cut. Great Depression v2.0? No sympathies. GTA voted the cowardofthecottage back in. And perhaps Tory’s current financial problems are a bit of karma I’m sure those fined on his orders had to cut back to afford groceries.
The center of the universe needs to shrink by half anyway. Darwin at work. best get at it then Oh no not the libraries bud! Where will all the homeless people hang out during that day? Hey rest of the province, thats why you don’t elect politicians from Toronto. They work for Toronto first, goodbye cash !
Fearmongering Line up behind the NDP & Cons...
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