Toronto’s Executive Committee just requested $2.5 million in the 2018 City Budget to fund the TransformTO climate action plan. But this still falls $4.5 million short of what is needed in 2018. If the Mayor and City Council are seriously committed to climate action, here are three ways to strengthen the plan.
Mayor Tory and members of Council have already started to claim that they are supporting full funding for TransformTO in the 2018 City Budget. However, the commitment of $2.5 million in 2018 falls far short of the $6.7 million originally put forward as the cost of implementation by City Staff when the plan was approved.
City Staff have reasoned that the timeline for implementation has changed because of the initial underfunding of the TransformTO plan in 2017. In 2017, there was a request for $1.53 million in funding to begin implementing short-term actions included in Part 1 of the plan. Mayor Tory and City Council only approved $330,000 for implementation. Now, we’re faced with another year of delays based on a poor decision made by Council last year.
Toronto cannot afford another year of delays. Given that we fell behind last year, the City needs to do more to catch up to ensure we can meet our long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets.
This is part of a bigger problem at City Hall where the Mayor and Council continue to pass plans without actually allocating the resources to fully implement them. TEA is working closely in coalition with Commitment to Community and Social Planning Toronto to identify the many gaps that exist in the 2018 Budget. We are concerned that a number of actions including the Poverty Reduction Strategy, affordable housing measures and TransformTO are only set to be partially funded and implemented.
That’s why we’re putting forward a set of demands to Council to keep their promises and fund the plans they have committed to. As part of this, TEA is putting forward a request to the Mayor and City Council to allocate an additional $1.53 million in 2018 to accelerate climate actions.
Here’s a breakdown of our request to strengthen the TransformTO climate plan in 2018:
1. Accelerate the hiring of 10 positions to support TransformTO to begin in December 2018 instead of the Spring of 2019.
Total Cost: $100,000
2. Increase funding for the Better Building Partnership to support the City in improving energy efficiency and undertaking building retrofits. This action received funding in 2017 and therefore presents an opportunity to accelerate implementation in 2018.
Total Cost: $776,000
3. Support community groups and residents to take action by providing full funding for community engagement activities and for leveraging Live Green Toronto.
Total Cost: $647,000
Toronto’s City Council will vote on the 2018 City Budget on February 12th. Before then, we need a wave of emails sent to Mayor Tory. Add your voice and call for additional funding for TransformTO in the 2018 City Budget.
Read the report: PROMISES, PROMISES: CITY COUNCIL COMMITMENTS & THE 2018 BUDGET.
Dusha Sritharan is the Climate Change Campaigner for the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA).