City Council Preview: September–October 2015
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City Council Preview: September–October 2015

In which we provide your cheat sheet for this month’s city council meeting, and let you know how you can follow along.

Today City Council returns from its summer break, and there’s a lot to cover on the agenda. Read about Toronto’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis; the taxi mess; the Gardiner mess; new shelter standards; and more.

Big-Ticket Items

    Photo by Miles from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

    Photo by Miles from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

  • Staff deliver a long-awaited report on taxis, limos, and Uber. Since coming to Toronto, Uber has been giving the taxi industry stiff competition. Taxi brokers hate it; many taxi drivers use it on the side; consumers love it; and the courts have left the decision in the City’s hands. The City is wary of some of UberX’s practices, which include: “surge pricing,” sidestepping insurance, flimsy screening procedures, and a lack of shared standards. To address these allegations and concerns, the City wants to create regulations to cover this new class of transportation.

    Accessibility for cabs and Uber is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish, which, staff say, deserves its own report. In the meantime, they recommend issuing a bunch of the new taxi licenses, which require making vehicles accessible. This will be the mayor’s key item, which will make it the first item debated after the order paper is established.

  • Related:

    Council Will Debate Uber in the Fall

    Op-ed: The Uber Controversy and Dysfunctional Municipal Regulation

  • Hoo boy. The Province has launched its mandatory five-year review of key legislation regarding municipal government, including the Municipal Elections Act, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and the City of Toronto Act. It’s a good opportunity to consider and reshape the City’s governance structure to ensure it has the tools it needs. Some proposed amendments:

    • cutting ties with the much-maligned Ontario Municipal Board;
    • allowing the City to make affordable housing requirements for new developments;
    • letting the City create more kinds of taxes;
    • putting new limits on the vacant commercial property tax rebate

    Other possible changes, like term limits, ranked ballots, and new powers to enforce the MCIA, will be a tougher sell. Anyway, remember that this is just the beginning of a long process.

  • Joe Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) has spearheaded the development of a resettlement strategy for Syrian refugees. Many municipal governments across the United States and Canada have already pledged to welcome and support refugees.

State of the Union

  • Six month operating budget variance report. Land transfer tax continues to be indispensable, the City continues to save money by not hiring people, water revenue is down, blah blah blah. There’s no doubt much more to be found in the 70-something-page full report [PDF].

  • Related:

    What the Projected Operating Surplus means

  • The police union’s collective agreement, which was still being negotiated when the City budget was approved, requires $17M more than estimated. For context, over the course of the contract that’s the equivalent of a 0.2 per cent property tax increase for the city.

  • The quarterly Social Development Dashboard is out. A sprinkling of statistics:

    • youth unemployment and the proportion of part-time jobs continue to rise;
    • the percentage of Toronto households in “core housing need” rose 10 per cent between 2006 and 2011;
    • the decline in permanent residents landing in Toronto (they have been going to the suburbs/elsewhere instead) has levelled off over the past two years.

  • Related:

    A Look at Persistent Youth Unemployment

  • We also have an Economic Dashboard, which notes trends like the international decline in oil and commodities prices and Canada’s weak dollar (great for the Toronto film industry, bad for Toronto’s mining finance industry). Also, experts still can’t agree on whether there’s a housing bubble or not.

Housing & Shelter

Culture & Sport

The Great Outdoors

Food & Liquor

Completely Terrible Ideas


How to Follow Along
Watch the Livestream
Follow the Agenda

City Hall Council Chambers (100 Queen Street West)

September 30, 9:30 a.m.


Your Glossary of City Council Terms

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