City of Toronto 2023 Budget process
Logan D Suza
The City of Toronto 2023 Budget process is largely similar to previous budget cycles.
While the province’s Bill 3 amends the City of Toronto Act to provide for the Mayor to present the City’s annual budget to City Council, Mayor John Tory has approved a budget process that will remain largely the same and will continue to provide opportunity for input from the public and City Council. The Mayor and Councillor Gary Crawford (Scarborough Southwest), Chair of the Budget Committee, support the continuation of the City’s open, collaborative and participatory budget process, and will continue to follow a process that includes public consultation, input from the Budget committee, and public reviews of divisions’ and agencies’ budgets.
While legislation that guides municipal budgeting processes has been changed by the province, the adoption of revenue sources, including the tax levy, user fees and direct taxes remains within Council authority. Council also retains authority on any matters in which the Mayor declares an interest, in writing, in advance to the City Clerk.
Due to the 2022 municipal election, the City’s 2023 rate and tax-supported operating and capital budgets will be considered together. Toronto Water and Solid Waste Management Services interim rates and fees were approved by Council at its December 2022 meeting and will be in effect Sunday, January 1. In addition to this, as was passed by Council on December 15, 2022, should the Government of Canada fail to honour its election commitment and come to the table with the provincial government to support Toronto with its COVID-19 pandemic-related budget shortfall, the impact on Torontonians will be clearly outlined during the 2023 budget process.
For the 2023 budget process, the Budget Committee will launch the budget process with a presentation from the City Manager and Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, review service area and selected agency presentations, hear presentations from the public and provide advice to inform the budget, as has been the process in previous years.
As is legislatively required by provincial Bill 3, the Mayor will propose a budget to the City Clerk and Members of Council by Wednesday, February 1. Before the Mayor’s budget is presented, this budget will go through the same processes of public and committee consultation as has been done in previous years, as directed by Mayor Tory and Councillor Crawford. Council will then consider the Mayor’s budget, along with budget-related items within Council authority at a special meeting on Wednesday, February 14.
Toronto residents and business are encouraged to participate in the 2023 Budget process. Comments and feedback may be provided to Budget Committee in person, online or in writing, and to Members of Council in writing.
This year, for the first time since the 2020 budget process and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Budget Committee will hear from Toronto residents and businesses in person as well as by video conference. Meetings will be held:
- Tuesday, January 17, Toronto City Hall, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. onwards
- Tuesday, January 17, North York Civic Centre, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. onwards
- Wednesday, January 18, Scarborough Civic Centre, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. onwards
- Wednesday, January 18, Etobicoke Civic Centre, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. onwards.
Speakers are asked to register by email: [email protected] or call: 416-392-4666 by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, January 16. Individuals may only make one presentation. Registered public speakers will be provided with instructions on how to appear at the Committee meeting. The meeting will be streamed live on the Toronto City Council YouTube channel .
Written comments can be submitted to the Budget Committee by email: [email protected] or by mail: Attention Budget Committee, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St. W., 10th floor, West Tower, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2.
Comments can also be provided to Members of Council in writing. Contact information is available from 311 or 416-338-0TTY (0889) or on the City’s Members of Council webpage.
2023 Budget process timelines
The 2023 Budget process timelines are as follows:
- Budget Committee Launch: Tuesday, January 10
- Budget Committee Review: Thursday, January 12 and Friday, January 13
- Budget Committee Public Presentations: Tuesday, January 17 and Wednesday, January 18
- Budget Committee Wrap Up: Tuesday, January 24
- Mayor’s Proposed Budget Release: by Wednesday, February 1
- City Council (Special): Tuesday, February 14
Council has the power to amend the budget that the Mayor presents. The Mayor may then veto such amendments. The veto can be overturned by a two-thirds vote of Members of Council (16 votes).
Regulations released in relation to Bill 3 prescribe the new process for the annual budget:
- The Mayor may present a proposed City budget no later than February 1 by providing it to each Member of Council and to the Clerk. If the Mayor does not present a proposed budget, Council must do so.
- Council has 30 days to amend the proposed budget after the Mayor presents it or may choose to shorten this period (for 2023, Council adopted a meeting calendar with a Special Council meeting on February 14 for consideration of the proposed budget, which shortened this period). If Council does not amend the proposed budget within this time, the Mayor’s proposed budget is deemed to be adopted
- The Mayor may veto Council amendments up to 10 days after the time period for Council to pass amendments ends (the shorter of the 30 days or the shorter time adopted by Council) or the Mayor may choose to shorten this period. If the Mayor does not exercise his veto the amended budget is deemed adopted.
- Council may override the Mayor’s veto with a two-third vote up to 15 days after the time period for the Mayor to veto an amendment (the shorter of the 10 days or the shorter time adopted by the Mayor), in which case the amended budget is deemed adopted. This time period may also be shortened by Council.
- If Council does not exercise an override of the Mayor’s veto the proposed budget is deemed adopted.
Veto and Budget process scenarios are described visually on page two of Attachment six of the CC2.3 Legislative Changes to City Governance – Bill 3 and Bill 39 report to Council.