Toronto approves lowest property tax increase during Tory's time in office

Feb 18 2021, 1:15 pm

Toronto City Council approved the lowest property tax increase during Mayor John Tory’s time in office, as the city continues to feel financial pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, City Council voted 20-3 in favour of a 0.7% residential tax hike, which is the lowest since Tory became mayor in 2014.

This will mean an additional $22 for the average Toronto household. There is also a 0.35% increase for commercial properties and a 0.23% increase for industrial properties. There will be no increase for multi-residential or apartment buildings, as per provincial legislation.

Last year, the property tax hike was 2%, with the highest being 2.55% in 2019, and the lowest being 1.3% in 2016.

“We’re working hard to find savings while also recognizing that individuals and businesses simply can’t afford significant tax increases and should not be asked to absorb them,” Tory said.

However, those not in favour of the small tax hike said it could help with economic recovery to raise it more.

Councillor Gord Perks noted that increasing taxes could bring needed revenue from people who will come out of the pandemic not too financially impacted to help those more in need after the pandemic is over.

Perks then moved to send the property tax rate item back to staff, but it was not supported by the majority of the council.

Tory said “raising taxes is the easy way out” and called the tax hike “reasonable, bearable and appropriate.”

Toronto’s 2021 budget will rely heavily on federal and provincial support to combat the significant financial cost of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around $1.6 billion will be needed in supports this year from other levels of government – $740 million is currently secured.

Currently, the City has saved $573 million in cost-mitigation strategies.

The recommended tax-supported 10-year capital plan is $29.05 billion. And with the additional $15.65 billion rate-supported capital budget approved by City Council on December 16, the total 10-year capital plan is $44.70 billion.

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