City Hall News
City Hall News provides information on the annual City Budget process. It also highlights opportunities for civic engagement in this important process. Information on the City Budget 2014 process is posted here. This page also highlights City program news. The latest highlights will also be posted under What's New on the Home page.
For any questions, please contact Joan Anderson at THN.
For information on City policy on "political activities" please see below.
City Housing services and the Budget
(as of Nov 25, 2013)
Funding for City housing services including the Housing Stabilization Fund, Housing and Shelter services and other programs in the upcoming Housing Stability Service Plan, for 2014 go through the City budget process and will be adopted by City Council at the end of January. See information on the City budget process (on right side of the page). The budgets for City programs will not be fully known until the end of January.
There are deep concerns about the annual loss of funds for most services in City budgets. For a short, helpful analysis see Wellesley Institute: Backsliding 2014 operating budget leaves Toronto at a loss
- Housing Stabilization Fund - Maximum Allowable Asset level raised from $500 to $2,500!
$2,500 is the new maximum allowable asset limit for the Housing Stabilization Fund for people on OW and ODSP. The $2,500 amount applies for singles, couples and families.
Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) brought a report to the City's Community Development and Recreation Committee in September. The report showed that expanding the new program last April has resulted in the Housing Stabilization Fund being accessible to more Toronto residents on OW or ODSP who need it. Staff recommended increasing accessibility further by raising the allowable asset limit from $500 to $2,500 to better "align the program with the change in new asset limit rules for Ontario Works in the 2013 Ontario Budget". The Committee and City Council adopted the recommendation. This change is in effect.
Information on the Housing Stabilization Fund, who is eligible and what it covers, can be found at this link, which includes the updated maximum asset limit of $2,500.
If you wish to see the full report from Staff of Toronto Employment and Social Services, here is the link to the motions and report:
2013.CD23.4 - Housing Stabilization Fund - Updates and New Housing Allowance
- Housing Allowances 2014-2017 - In the same staff report, it was estimated that the Housing Stabilization Fund would not use all of its provincial funding for 2013. Staff recommended any unspent 2013 monies, at the end of this year, to be reallocated to Hostel Services for Housing Allowances to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. There was some confusion if money was going to be taken from the Housing Stabilization Fund before the end of 2013 but it is not. Monies will only be transferred at the end of 2013. People can now continue to access the Fund.
- Housing Stability Service Plan - The plan will shape the direction for Toronto's homeless prevention and support services for the next five years. The City staff report on the service plan will be available on November 27th, and that people will be able to depute on their response to the service plan at the December 4th Community Development and Recreation Committee meeting or submit written comments by Dec 3rd.
City "Policy on Political Activities"
The City recognizes the importance of civic engagement and encourages civic engagement.
THN has received questions about limitations for not-for-profits in educating City Council (Councillor visits, e-mails, deputations) about the importance of City services, especially for organizations which depend upon City funding for some of their important work in the community.
The City has a Policy on Political Activities that outlines activities that are "restricted" and "unrestricted activity" within any City grant-funded activity. The policy is consistent with Canada Revenue Agency regulations for registered charities and applies to political activity related to municipal, provincial and federal elections.
As a general rule, for City grants funding, or any government funding and for charitable organizations, the key is to be non-partisan. In the language of the City policy: "A grant recipient may not use funds provided by the City to oppose or endorse a named candidate, party, or elected official." In general, a protective and strategic approach is to focus criticisms or agreement on the policies or proposed policies of elected officials. It's about what they have proposed or are doing, not who they are, not about preferences.
Information on how to make deputations to committees of Council is found on the City web-site.
2014 Tax Supported Operating and Capital Budgets
- Nov 25, 2013
- Proposed Budget announced by Budget Committee
- Nov 26
- Budget Drop In (Open House)
- Dec 2-3
- Budget Committee - presentations from the public
- Dec 10-13
- Budget Committee program reviews
- Jan 8, 2014
- Budget Committee wrap up
- Jan 22
- Executive Committee considers proposed Budget and makes recommendations to Council
- Jan 29-30
- City Council considers and votes on 2014 Budget
Resources for more information on the City Budget 2014
- Social Planning Toronto - updates by Beth Wilson, Senior Researcher, Social Planning Toronto (SPT). Beth covers the budget process every step of the way and highlights motions related to important community and social issues.
- Social Planning Toronto provides easy to understand information and news on its City Budget Watch Updates
- The City of Toronto has a City Budget 2014 web-site that includes detailed background documents for each service area.
Toronto Public Health - community funding
Until 2012 the Toronto Public Health administered the AIDS Prevention and Drug Prevention Investment Programs but 100% of the funding came from the City's broader Community Partnership and Investment Program (CPIP). Starting in 2012, the AIDS Prevention and Drug Prevention Investment programs became administered completely by Toronto Public Health and cost-shared with the province of Ontario, the way most Public Health programs are funded. The City funds 25% and the Province funds 75%. For every dollar invested by the City, the Province provides three dollars. Any time the City might cut a dollar, we lose 3 dollars from the Province.
NEW consolidated community grants program
September 30, 2013, the Board of Health approved consolidation of the AIDS and Drug Prevention Programs into a new program named Toronto Urban Health Fund (TUFH) with three funding streams: HIV Prevention, Harm Reduction and Youth Resiliency. THN provided a submission with Process Recommendations that were accepted by the Medical Officer of Health.
Further information, application guideline and one and three year application forms for submission by February 5, 2014 are on the City web-site Toronto Urban Health Fund.
The City of Toronto Grants - not HIV specific
These are partnerships or investments that help the City of Toronto achieve its social, economic and cultural goals for its residents. The City's goals are better achieved by supporting the work of organizations that are closer to the communities they serve. City of Toronto Community Partnership and Investment Program (CPIP) includes:
- Community Service Partnerships (CSP) funds services that facilitate "access to services that improve social outcomes for vulnerable, marginalized and high-risk communities." HIV-related services partner with a number of these agencies.