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FORUM: A budget brief from the trenches (Spring 2022)

April 11th, 2022 · No Comments

Many progressive gains come out of city council

By Mike Layton

The 2022 budget process concluded in late February, followed by a few quick council meetings to address regular business. With the help of my colleagues, and the advocacy of many of you, we achieved notable improvements to a budget that began with glaring gaps in services, while continuing to work to improve safety in our communities. 

The successes during the budget process included: expanding supportive and affordable housing options, adding enforcement officers for RentSafeTO and increasing fees to support the expansion of this service, increasing funding for SafeTO, implementing the Fair Pass Transit Discount program sooner, and establishing the Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition program that will help keep properties affordable long-term.

However, council continues to put off difficult and essential decisions. As a result, new revenue tools that could diversify the city’s revenue streams have once again been punted indefinitely into the future. 

Unfortunately, motions that lost by a wide margin include funding for the purchase of TTC buses through increasing debt, establishing a housing commissioner, and reallocating less than one per cent of the Toronto Police Services budget to rent supplements for 1000 people.

We cannot continue this way. Our shelter system is in crisis, parks are lacking investment to keep them in a state of good repair, and enforcement of noise, property standards, and safety has fallen behind.

Toronto is a thriving city, and it is important that our policies reflect and share this wealth. 

As your city councillor, I will continue to fight for a budget that reflects and addresses the issues of greatest importance to my constituents. 

In other news, council has approved the installation of an additional 25 Automated Speed Enforcement cameras, which will increase road safety. They should become operational this year. 

Transportation Services will expand the program by developing a request for proposal that will consider all possible technologies. 

As our city continues to struggle with a housing affordability crisis, council has asked the province to curb foreign and domestic investment in real estate through the implementation of new taxes on home flipping and land speculation. I am hopeful for a positive response to our request. 

Further, in an effort to expand the supply and type of housing available in Toronto, council adopted amendments to the Official Plan and zoning bylaw to allow construction of garden suites on most residential properties in the city. 

A garden suite is usually located behind an existing house, but it is separate and detached. They are generally smaller and are a way to create rental units or homes for extended family.  

Finally, a new community crisis support service is set to launch in two phases this year, as one of SafeTO’s key priority actions. 

The four pilot areas were selected based on where apprehensions under the Mental Health Act and 911 calls for individuals in crisis were highest. 

The pilots in the northeast and downtown east will launch in March 2022, and those in the northwest and downtown west by June 2022. 

The service will provide an important community-led response to mental health crisis calls and wellness checks.  

A third-party evaluator will evaluate the pilots, and the data will inform the delivery and expansion of the service citywide by 2025.

If you have questions, or want more information on any of these topics please do not hesitate to contact my office. 

You can also visit for the latest, and other city-related issues.

Mike Layton is city councillor for Ward 11, University–Rosedale.


Tags: Annex · Opinion