All Aboard the Gravy Train: Business, Culture, Employment, Medical Supplies
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All Aboard the Gravy Train: Business, Culture, Employment, Medical Supplies

Medical supplies? Gravy. Photo by Still the Oldie from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Due to budgetary pressures, the City commissioned KPMG to evaluate municipal programs and services and compile a list of which could be cut, or cut back. The results of those findings are being released in a series of reports this month. Each day that a report is released, All Aboard the Gravy Train will look at what, in our current administration, is considered expendable.

Report for: Economic Development Committee [PDF]
Not Gravy: 96 per cent of services in this area described as “core”

  • Business services—including entrepreneurship supports, film and digital media services, and business retention and expansion services—could all be reduced or eliminated. These services include training, advice, consultation, permit issuances, and incentives for businesses in Toronto. As described in the report, “These services help small businesses establish and grow, resulting in job and investment growth.” Both the potential savings from and the barriers to implementing this change are described as high.
  • Cultural services—including arts programming, cultural development programs, art acquisitions, cultural facilities maintenance, community event programming, and museum and heritage programs—could all be reduced or eliminated. The report says: “These programs contribute to the cultural and heritage resources of the City, as well as the leisure options available to residents. Council recently unanimously endorsed principle of increased investment when the time is right,” and also, “These steps will impact the cultural vitality of Toronto.”
  • Economic competitive services—including BIA support, the hospitality program, economic strategy and consultation services, business support services, and economic sectors support services—could all be reduced or transferred outside of City control. As the report wryly notes, “All these services can be reduced or eliminated, however these steps will impact the Toronto economy.”
  • Employment and social services—including job search, placement and retention services; skills training and upgrading programs; self-employment programs; referral services; and job fairs—could all be contracted out. This is marked as having low savings potential (no more than 5 per cent of current program spending).
  • Social supports—including administering applications for City programs and funds to help the elderly and disabled purchase medical supplies—could be reduced or eliminated. “Low income families, elderly, and disabled persons may be negatively impacted resulting in potentially serious health and medical issues,” notes the report. The City has been looking to other areas of potential savings—specifically, the Hardship Fund is viewed as one possible source of undiscovered inefficiencies.