Council Watch-September 14 2007

Urgent Letter from the Executive Director: Please Tell your Councillor to Build a Green and Healthy Toronto!, TEA Opposes TTC Fare Hike, TEA Joins “Fair Deal For Our City" Coalition, Calls on Members to Take Action, Help Put a Face to the 1,700 Annual Smog Deaths in Toronto!, New Faces at TEA.


Dear TEA Member,

The financial crisis facing Toronto has put us at a crossroad. City Council will decide in the next few weeks which Toronto we will live in. Today, we’re asking you to call your City Councillor to let them know you want to live in a healthy, green Toronto. To make that happen, we need City Council to adopt the new revenue tools that will provide City Hall with the funds required to build a prosperous Toronto.

Here’s why: adopting the revenue tools will allow City Council to build the kind of city TEA has been advocating for over 17 years. Toronto will have breathable air and be a leader in stopping global warming, thanks to expanded and affordable transit, an extensive bicycle network, energy efficient buildings and green power production in our neighbourhoods. Torontonians will be exposed to far fewer toxics, thanks to communities and businesses working together to identify and eliminate toxic emissions.

If the new revenue tools aren’t adopted by City Council, we will not be able to build this healthy and green Toronto. Rather, things will just get increasingly worse: rising smog-related deaths from the current 1,700 a year; worsening energy practices adding to global warming; more road congestion, a TTC that doesn’t work; and toxic emissions from companies across the city.

For over 18 years you have helped TEA defend our health and environment. But if City Council votes against adopting the new revenue tools, our many successes at City Hall –including the city’s comprehensive smog and climate change plan, building the Transit City, and commitment to introduce a Community Right to Know Bylaw- will be undermined.

That’s why I am asking you and every other TEA member to call your local Councillor and tell them you support the new revenue tools to help build a healthy and green Toronto.

Our members have a deep commitment towards bettering Toronto’s environment.It’s time to once again show Toronto City Council how deep this commitment is. Thank you for your efforts.

Franz Hartmann
Executive Director

TEA Opposes TTC Fare Hike

On September 12th, the Toronto Transit Commission hiked fares once again. The move translates to a 15 cent increase in tokens and $9.25 more for a monthly pass. It is the third fare increase in as many years, and if alternative funding arrangements aren’t found for the TTC, we’re likely to see another fare increase early next year.

The TTC is chronically under funded. The province, which used to pay for 50% of the net operating cost of the system, now pays less than 20%. The cash-strapped city has been unwilling to make up the difference with tax hikes. The result is an overcrowded transit system with the highest fares among comparable cities in North America. Our monthly pass is now $29 higher than the next highest monthly pass and our tickets are $.30 to $.60 higher. Riders are burdened with 75% of the TTC’s bill, while in other cities they only pay for 50%, with the other 50% coming from various forms of tax revenue.

Where do continued fare increases get us? The TTC’s own survey indicates that 1 in 4 riders would consider switching to car travel if fares go up. That is a horrible blow for a City Council and a Mayor who has committed to reducing smog and combating climate change, and is now calling on the public to do likewise. Those with fixed or low-incomes and no access to a car will be left making tough choices with the little money they have.

Toronto needs a sustainable funding strategy for the TTC. Fare increases are not the answer.

What you can do:

  • Please let your Councillor know that you oppose TTC fare increases.
  • Up to October 10, ask your provincial candidates what they will do to make TTC fare increases a thing of the past.

TEA Joins “Fair Deal For Our City" Coalition, Calls on Members to Take Action
Each year, billions in taxes go from Toronto to Queen's Park and Ottawa. Yet to deliver all its services, the City only gets six cents of every tax dollar Torontonians pay to deliver all of its services. The provincial government has still not restored fair funding for public transit, and continues to download social service costs onto property taxpayers. In fact, Ontario is the only province in Canada where property taxes pay for social programs.

Why does this matter? Because until the province pays its fair share, Torontonians will be unable to build the healthy and green Toronto TEA and our members have spent over 18 years fighting for. As it stands, Toronto doesn’t have the money it needs to implement its aggressive smog and climate change plan nor to help neighbourhoods eliminate toxics. This is not acceptable.

That’s why TEA has joined a strong, new coalition of community, environmental, labour and social justice groups to fight for a fair deal for Toronto and its residents. Between now and October 10th, the coalition will be demanding that every candidate for provincial election commit to immediately resolving this unjust and unsustainable reality. After October 10th, we will continue to pressure the newly elected provincial government to provide a fair deal for Toronto, as well as calling on the federal government to invest in cities.

Up until October 10, Torontonians should be demanding that every candidate for provincial election commit to immediately resolving this unjust situation.

  • Send an e-mail to the candidate in your riding now 
  • Go to an all-candidates meeting and demand a straight answer
  • Phone the candidates’ offices and tell them you want their party to fix the problem instead of stalling

Be sure to vote on October 10th for a fair deal for our City.

For more information about the coalition, please visit the Fair Deal For Our City website 

Help Put a Face to the 1,700 Annual Smog Deaths in Toronto!

Join the TEA and the David Suzuki Foundation for the Toronto Smog Hike on Sunday September 23rd.

New Faces at TEA

We’d like to welcome two new people to our TEA Team!

Dave Meslin joined the TEA Team in early August. He’ll be collaborating with TEA staff to work on a number of projects that will help green Toronto. As many Council Watch readers will know, Dave has already made a huge contribution to engaging Torontonians in making a greener and more democratic Toronto. We look forward to incorporating his innovative, committed and successful campaigning into TEA’s activities.

Heather Marshall joined us in late August as our new Community Educator. She’ll be working with community partners on a project to reduce home energy consumption. Heather brings with her a degree in Environmental Science with a specialist in International Development studies. As part of her studies she completed a ten month co-op term in Cambodia where she studied urban infrastructure and community-based development. Welcome Heather!