Toronto budget proposal includes property tax hike of 10.5 per cent

  • Canadian Press

TORONTO — Homeowners in Canada’s most populous city could soon face a property tax increase in the double digits as Toronto grapples with a nearly $1.8 billion operating budget shortfall.

A proposed 2024 budget presented today includes a nine per cent property tax increase for residential properties as well as a 1.5 per cent increase to bolster a fund dedicated to building transit and housing.

That would amount to roughly an additional $31 per month for the average Toronto home, or just over $370 more per year, according to the city.

The city says it has found $600 million in savings to help tackle "significant budget pressures" fuelled by growing demand for refugee claimant support and shelter spaces as well as decreased transit revenues.

It says the proposal is also based on an expectation the federal government will provide a full reimbursement of costs related to support for refugee claimants, which it estimates to be $250 million for 2024.

Toronto Coun. Shelley Carroll, who chairs the city’s budget committee, says that if Ottawa does not provide that funding, she will have "no choice" but to propose an additional six per cent levy on homeowners to cover those costs.

Carroll said the tax hike proposed for 2024 could have been lower if the city had not kept property tax increases artificially low in the past.

"That’s not wise, that’s not prudent. What we’re trying to do here is to be very wise, very prudent, and chart a new course that actually does allow us to get better and better and better in this city," she told reporters Wednesday.

A report on the city’s budgetary outlook released last summer projected a $1.5 billion shortfall for this year. It said the city is facing a combined operating and capital pressure of $46.5 billion in its budget over the next decade.

The report suggested several measures to address the budget crisis, including a progressively increased land−transfer tax on high−value homes, raising the vacant homes tax from one to three per cent, and introducing a new commercial parking levy along with higher fees at on−street parking meters.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2024.

The Canadian Press