Media Releases

With low taxes and large investment needs, Torontonians must make hard choices

August 13, 2014

TORONTO, ON – Toron­to does not face a fis­cal cri­sis by any means. But with low res­i­den­tial tax­es, high pub­lic expec­ta­tions for City ser­vices, and sig­nif­i­cant infra­struc­ture main­te­nance and invest­ment needs, Toronto’s can­di­dates and vot­ers face tough choic­es dur­ing this October’s elec­tions.

This is the con­clu­sion of a new paper by Enid Slack and André Côté of the Insti­tute on Munic­i­pal Finance and Gov­er­nance (IMFG). The first in a Pre-Elec­tion Per­spec­tives series, the paper assess­es the state of the City’s finances to help inform Toronto’s munic­i­pal elec­tion debate as it heats up this fall.

The authors pro­vide four main find­ings:

1. Toron­to does not have a “spend­ing prob­lem” – with expen­di­tures rough­ly the same as they
were a decade ago, when infla­tion and pop­u­la­tion growth are tak­en into account.
2. The real prop­er­ty tax bur­den has been falling – and Toron­to res­i­dents, on aver­age, pay low
prop­er­ty tax­es com­pared with res­i­dents of oth­er Ontario cities.
3. The City faces a major infra­struc­ture fund­ing short­fall – and will not be able to main­tain
the infra­struc­ture it has or invest in what it needs with­out new, reli­able rev­enue sources.
4. Toronto’s debt is rel­a­tive­ly mod­est and man­age­able for a grow­ing city.

“If Toron­to­ni­ans and their politi­cians want to main­tain pub­lic ser­vices, make need­ed invest­ments in infra­struc­ture, and ensure the City’s eco­nom­ic com­pet­i­tive­ness, they need to be hon­est about the costs
and how they’ll raise the rev­enues to pay for it,” says IMFG Direc­tor Enid Slack.

The paper, Is Toron­to Fis­cal­ly Healthy? A Check-up on the City’s Finance, can be accessed here:

Find 10 Fre­quent­ly Asked Ques­tions (FAQs) about Toronto’s finances here:

About the Insti­tute on Munic­i­pal Finance and Gov­er­nance (IMFG)
The IMFG is an aca­d­e­m­ic research hub and think tank that focuss­es on the fis­cal and gov­er­nance
chal­lenges fac­ing large cities and city-regions. It is locat­ed at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Munk School of
Glob­al Affairs.


For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact:
André Côté
Tel: 416–978-2168