Making "Cents" of Toronto’s Budget
Every year, the City of Toronto embarks on a lengthy consultation process to review our budget. This is where we decide which programs to fund, including the Toronto Police Services, the TTC, housing and shelters, and youth and recreation programming, and how we intend to pay for them. A budget expresses our values. It should reflect a commitment to real community safety.
When COVID-19 hit, the pre-existing cracks in our social safety net were laid wide open. Much more needs to be done to create healthy, safe, inclusive neighbourhoods that work for everyone and the city budget can be a gateway for equitable access to programming. Since COVID-19, the City of Toronto is facing a substantial financial deficit and our desperately needed social programs are at risk of being cut altogether. These are recreation programs that keep our kids safe, and reduce violence. These are shelter beds, and support programs to house and help our most vulnerable residents. We cannot afford to lose them.
Why Budgets Matter
While Toronto looks to rebuild and recover, these conversations are critical in ensuring that no one is left behind. Now, more than ever, we have to be specific about how we direct our finances. How do we determine the health of our communities? How can we make sustainable investments in our future? How can we help take care of ourselves and each other? Community revitalization is not just about bricks and mortar. Successful community revitalization is one where both the physical infrastructure and social development receive equal commitment and focus. Looking towards the future, this is how we can make our priorities known.
In anticipation of the upcoming Toronto City Council budget season, Councillor Wong-Tam hosted a series of virtual panels from September to November 2020, which discussed critical issues facing Torontonians through a budget lens. Through a series of five virtual panel events featuring subject matter experts and community organizers, we unpacked the budget process and explained how investing in community supports sustains healthy neighbourhoods.
View the Panels
More information, including speaker information, a recording, and a transcript for each of the five panels, is included below. We look forward to continuing to generate conversation about critical issues facing our community and coming together to use our Toronto municipal budget to create change. Now is the time to stand together for a recovery for all.