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E-BLAST: Mayor Tory's Resignation & The Final Budget

Feb 16, 2023


It's been an action-packed week, to say the very least. I know that most people are still focused on Mayor Tory's resignation. I've included information and my statement on that below this column. What I want to focus on today is our annual Special Budget Council Meeting that took place yesterday, and what it means for our city and our neighbourhoods here in Don Valley North in the year ahead.



I've presented the broad strokes of this budget in a couple of earlier E-Blasts this year (one on the need for more revenue streams in Toronto and another that gives a rundown of the Toronto Police & TTC budgets). This was the first budget introduced under Strong Mayor legislation, which means that Council did not vote on the budget as a whole. Rather, we had a chance to move motions to amend the budget, and then the Mayor decided whether or not to approve it as amended.


It took a long time to get to work at our budget meeting yesterday. There was a lot of unrest in the Council Chamber that you may have seen in the news. Many Torontonians are suffering as a result of a challenging economy, post-pandemic fallout, and deep housing and homelessness crises. The members of the public who came to the Council Chamber yesterday made sure these issues were top of mind for everyone on Council. Emotions were running high, and it was a very difficult time to be in the chamber, but that is part of the job


I spoke about the budget on Metro Morning today.


After things quieted down, we set to work on approving a budget. While we have all been rocked by the Mayor's announcement, the City of Toronto Public Service still needs sign-off on the budget for this year. They are the ones delivering the services that you rely on. It is imperative that they can get on with their jobs, so Council powered through a late-night session to make sure we delivered a budget they can work with.


I was particularly busy in the two days leading up to our Special Budget Meeting. On Monday and Tuesday, I worked with Deputy Mayor McKelvie and some other Council colleagues, the Mayor's staff, and City staff to pull together consensus around a variety of items that needed more investment. We dubbed this our "Omnibus Motion", as it allocated $7 million in funds to over a dozen City departments and initiatives. Through this motion and others passed at Council yesterday, we added:

  1. An investment of funds to expand eligibility for the property tax increase deferral and cancellation programs for low-income seniors;

  2. Funding for the operation of a 24-hour Warming Centre to run until April 15th of this year;

  3. More staff inspectors who conduct RentSafeTO inspections in multi-residential apartment buildings;

  4. $1 million in additional funding to the Rent Bank grant program to support tenants;

  5. A new pilot program to provide multi-disciplinary outreach and mental health supports to people experiencing homelessness who are currently seeking shelter on transit vehicles;

  6. A slightly above-inflation increase for our Community Partnership Investment Program grants, which support Toronto's not-for-profit community organizations;

  7. Two new youth service hubs in priority neighbourhoods;

  8. Additional support for anti-youth violence programs that are already underway, including Think 2wice in North Etobicoke and the Youth Association for Academics, Athletics, and Character Education (YAAACE) in the Jane & Finch community;

  9. Additional funds to enhance the Home Energy Loan Program, which helps you retrofit your home to reduce your environmental footprint.

The funding allocated to each of the points above ranges from a couple of hundred thousand dollars to over a million. I said it yesterday at Council, and I'll say it again—sometimes the smallest amount of money can make the biggest difference. Spending for impact is the best thing we can do as a Council, and it is why it so essential that Councillors listen to their communities.


A clip of me introducing the "Omnibus Motion" at Council yesterday night.


I was proud to move the motion that makes these investments, but it was a huge team effort. Every Councillor should be proud of these budget add-ons, and that our Chief Financial Officer found a funding source for these small but impactful changes while still protecting all other services. After a full day in the Council Chamber, Mayor Tory approved the final budget with the above amendments. Now, our dedicated public servants will get on with delivering those services and the enhancements above to you.


I want to thank everyone who took part in this budget process, whether you attended a meeting or sent my office a simple email with your thoughts. The budget sets our priorities for the year ahead, and those priorities need to be a reflection of all of Toronto. While there is much uncertainty on the horizon as we anticipate a mayoral by-election in the coming months, you can rest assured that City Council will keep going about our business to deliver results for you. Through whatever changes come our way, I will keep working hard to build a vibrant and liveable city, now and for our future.

 


Statement on Mayor Tory's Resignation

Last night, Mayor Tory submitted his letter of resignation to the City Clerk. His resignation will be effective tomorrow, Friday, February 17, 2023, at 5:00 PM.


I released the following statement on Mayor Tory's resignation this past Saturday, February 11, 2023. I have included the statement in it's entirety below:


"Last night, I, like many of you, learned that Mayor Tory will be resigning. At a time when our city is facing so many challenges, we need stable leadership. I respect Mayor Tory’s decision to step down and appreciate his apology to the people of Toronto.


There is understandably much confusion about what will unfold in the weeks ahead. City staff are hard at work determining next steps in this unprecedented situation. I have the utmost faith in Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie, the City Manager, and City Clerk to deliver a smooth transition as we continue to move Toronto forward, and I will do all I can to aid in that work.


My focus is to ensure that there is no interruption of service during this time. My Council colleagues and I were elected to address the many challenges facing our city today and deliver results for our communities. This is an immense privilege, and one we not only promised to undertake but must not take for granted. I am committed to continuing the hard work needed to build a vibrant and liveable city for generations to come.


The people of Toronto will get an opportunity to elect a new mayor in the months ahead. As Mayor Tory resigns from office, I want to thank him for his many dedicated years of service to our city.


I will continue to keep in communication with our community and, as always, I will continue to work to ensure that your voice is heard at City Hall."


Upon Mayor Tory's resignation tomorrow, Deputy Mayor McKelvie will assume many of the rights, powers, and authority of the Mayor until the position is filled via by-election. Notably, Deputy Mayor McKelvie will not assume the "Strong Mayor" powers that were recently introduced by the Provincial government.


I will keep our community informed once timelines are set for the Mayoral by-election. As always, please don't hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions.

 


Planning & Development Updates

Open Houses: Fairview Mall (1800 Sheppard Avenue East ) & 5 Fairview Mall Drive


My office has worked with City Planning to host two identical, in-person community open houses on the development applications at Fairview Mall (1800 Sheppard Avenue East) and 5 Fairview Mall Drive.


The open houses will take place from 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM on Monday, March 6, 2023 & Monday, March 13, 2023 at Parkway Forest Community Centre (55 Forest Manor Road).


Staff from various City departments, including City Planning, Urban Design, Transportation Planning, Transportation Services, and Parks & Recreation will be in attendance, as will representatives from the TTC and other agencies.


You do not need to register to participate, and I really do want to encourage you to come out to learn more and share your questions and concerns.


If you are unable to participate in the Open House, you can contact the City Planner responsible for these files, Michelle Charkow, with your comments and questions. Michelle can be reached at Michelle.Charkow@toronto.ca or (416) 338-7542.


I look forward to seeing you there. If you have any questions or concerns in advance of the open house, please don't hesitate to contact my office at Councillor_Carroll@toronto.ca or (416) 338-2650.

 


Economic & Community Development Updates

Highlights from this week:

  • Meeting our new Photo Laureate, Nadya Kwandibens, to congratulate her on her role and learn more about the impactful work she has done to showcases contemporary Indigenous lifestyles.

  • Joining Toronto Fire Services Chief Pegg and representatives from the provincial government to deliver a donation of much-needed supplies from the City of Toronto to Syria and Turkey as they recover from a devastating series of earthquakes.

  • Visiting Billy Bishop airport to see a wonderful new installation by artist Akshata Naik that was first developed as part of the City's ArtworxTO initiative.

  • Meeting with the Toronto Seniors Forum to discuss how to improve services like homecare, Wheel-Trans, and other community services so that every senior has the ability and the access to services they need to live with dignity.






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