Community Newsletter: January 12, 2024

January 12, 2024 edition of Councillor Alejandra Bravo's Community Newsletter

Neighbour --

This week, the staff-proposed 2024 Budget was launched as the first step in this year’s budget process. In the coming weeks, the Budget Committee will meet to ask questions to staff, hear presentations from members of the public, and make recommendations to the Mayor on her budget to be released on February 1. 

This year’s budget process started with an honest look at the long-term financial outlook of our city and the need to fix the financial mess created by years of underinvestment. Toronto is facing an unprecedented financial shortfall, including a $1.8 billion hole in the operating budget, due to ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and previous administrations’ austerity budgets. You can learn more about the staff-proposed budget below.

I encourage you to get involved with this year’s budget process.

  • Join our Ward 9 Budget Information Session on January 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Joseph J Piccininni Community Centre to learn more and share your thoughts. You can RSVP on my website

  • Join a Telephone Town Hall with Mayor Olivia Chow, Budget Chief Councillor Shelley Carroll, and City staff on January 16, 17 or 18, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. To join a town hall, call 1-833-490-0778 [toll-free] at the start time.

  • Speak to Budget Committee on January 22 or 23, in person or by video conference. Register by email: [email protected] or call: 416-392-4666 before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 19; please indicate a preferred day, timeslot, and location. 

  • Write to Budget Committee and/or Members of Council. Submit written feedback via email: [email protected] or mail: Attention: Budget Committee, 100 Queen St. W., Toronto City Hall, 10th floor, West Tower, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2 

You can find local updates and more below.


Alejandra Bravo
City Councillor • Ward 9 • Davenport
Chair, Economic & Community Development Committee

In this edition

  • 2024 Budget Launch
  • Time to Declare: Vacant Home Tax
  • Reservations Open for Winterlicious
  • Call for Nominations: 2024 Toronto Community Champion Awards
  • City & TTC Construction: King Street West, between Dufferin St & Shaw St
  • In the community
  • Other updates

2024 Budget Launch

Investing in our city

During pre-budget consultations, I heard clearly that our community wants city services like transit, affordable housing, and community programs to be protected and expanded.

The staff-proposed budget includes the following investments:

Shelter & Housing: $82 million

  • Winter Warming Response Plan
  • Refugee Claimant Response: 450 new dedicated shelter beds
  • Multi-Tenant Housing Program
  • Community Housing anchor agency supports
  • Homelessness Prevention Program

Transit Services & Environmental Sustainability: $30 million

  • Passenger safety, security and wellbeing
  • High-visibility staff presence & incident management
  • TTC People Strategy including trauma assistance & mental health training
  • Development of emissions performance standards
  • Home Energy rating and disclosures

Community Initiatives: $20 million

  • Direct Care initiative for Long-Term Care Homes
  • Open Hours implementation plan for Toronto Public Library

Community Safety: $19 million

  • Expansion of Toronto Community Crisis Service city-wide
  • Toronto Fire Services and Paramedic Services staffing (52 new firefighters and 62 new paramedics)
  • Additional 911 call takers and dispatchers
Addressing Toronto's financial challenges

To meet the $1.8 billion budget shortfall mentioned above, the following measures are included in the 2024 staff-proposed budget:

  • $620 million in cost reductions and offsets, found by the City’s Finance team 
  • $400 million in funding from the Province of Ontario through the 2024 New Deal
  • A proposed residential property tax increase of 9% ($26.75/month for the average home)
  • A proposed city building fund levy increase of 1.5% ($4.46/month for the average home) 
  • Multi-year bridging funding strategies

If not for the above actions, Torontonians would be facing a 42% property tax increase this year. The City of Toronto, unlike the Federal and Provincial governments, cannot run a deficit, and must approve a balanced budget each year. 

Federal support needed

We still need the federal government to honour its commitments and provide funding for its core responsibilities. The City of Toronto operates the largest public transit system in Canada, invests $1.3 billion each year in extensions of federal and provincial responsibilities, and supports more per-capita shelter beds than any other city in Canada. It is critical that the federal government step up and meet its obligations to Toronto. Without federal assistance, Torontonians could face an additional increase on their property taxes of up to 6%. 

Time to Declare: Vacant Home Tax

All residential property owners in Toronto must submit a declaration of their property’s occupancy status every year – even if they reside there. The deadline to declare occupancy status for the 2023 calendar year is February 29, 2024.   

Declarations can be made by property owners or their authorized representative. The best way to submit the declaration is through the City’s secure online portal – it's quick and easy! All you need to get started is the 21-digit assessment roll number and the customer number found on your property tax bill or property tax account statement. If unable to declare online, owners can complete and submit a paper declaration form.  

More details, including allowable exemptions and declaring occupancy status, are available on the City’s Vacant Home Tax webpage. 

Reservations Open for Winterlicious

Winterlicious begins January 26! Gather with friends and family to enjoy three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menus at more than 200 restaurants across Toronto. Reservations are now open at participating restaurants. 

Call for Nominations: 2024 Toronto Community Champion Awards

The 2024 Toronto Community Champion Awards are accepting nominations until February 4th at 11:55pm. The Toronto Community Champion Awards acknowledges the extraordinary contributions that community organizations make to support the health and solidarity of our city, particularly those from Black, Indigenous, and other equity-deserving communities.

Stories of community resilience, inclusiveness and service are worthy of recognition, for they honour the collective commitment and unwavering determination of our communities to support each other through challenging times.

TTC & City Construction: King Street West, between Dufferin St & Shaw St

In February 2024, the City of Toronto and TTC will begin multiple infrastructure upgrades on King Street West from Dufferin Street to Shaw Street, including:

  • Replacing the water main on King Street West (Dufferin Street to Shaw Street). 
  • Renewing the aging streetcar tracks on King Street West (Dufferin Street to Shaw Street).
  • A full renewal of the streetcar tracks at the King Street West and Dufferin Street intersection.

Work hours and timeline

Construction is expected to take place in five phases from February to December 2024:

  • Phase one: from mid-February to August 2024, will include water main replacement on King Street West from Dufferin Street to Shaw Street.
  • Phase two: from mid-May to late June 2024, will include streetcar track renewal on King Street West from Dufferin Street to Fraser Avenue.
  • Phase three: from June to August 2024, will include streetcar track renewal at the intersection of King Street West and Dufferin Street.
  • Phase four: from August to late September 2024, will include top layer streetcar track renewal on King Street West from Fraser Avenue to Atlantic Avenue.
  • Phase five: from September to early December 2024, will include top layer streetcar track renewal on King Street West from Atlantic Avenue to Shaw Street.

TTC Service

Starting February 18, 2024, service on the following routes will be altered to accommodate the construction on King Street West, from Dufferin Street to Shaw Street:

  • 501 Queen streetcars will divert onto Dufferin Street (to Dufferin Gate Loop) until 10 p.m. After 10 p.m., 501 Queen streetcars will operate west to Long Branch Loop along its regular routing.
  • 504A King streetcars will divert onto Queen Street West between Shaw Street and Roncesvalles Avenue. 504B King streetcars will divert onto Queen Street West between Shaw Street and Roncesvalles Avenue and extend to Humber Loop before 10 p.m., and to Roncesvalles Avenue after 10 p.m.
  • 508 Lake Shore streetcars will divert onto Queen Street West between Shaw Street and Roncesvalles Avenue (starting February 19, 2024).
  • 63 Ossington buses will be extended along King Street West between Dufferin Street and Roncesvalles Avenue. This will provide service both ways along this section of King Street West, Liberty/East Liberty Avenue, and Strachan Avenue.

Travel and parking restrictions

  • In order to complete the watermain replacement work, the roadway will be reduced to a single lane in each direction on King Street West.
  • To safely facilitate streetcar track renewal during phases two, four, and five, the section of King Street West where crews are working will be closed to through traffic.
  • During phase three, the intersection of King Street West and Dufferin Street will be fully closed to through traffic in all directions to allow crews to replace the streetcar tracks. 
  • Sidewalk access will generally be maintained for pedestrians. Any temporary disruptions to access will be communicated with signage by the contractor.
  • Parking will not be permitted within the work zones.

You can learn more by visiting the City's project page and the TTC's project page

If you are interested in receiving updates about this project from the TTC, please email your contact information to the project's TTC Community Liaison: [email protected] 

If you are interested in receiving updates about this project from the City, please subscribe

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