Toronto City Council Preview: December 2016
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Toronto City Council Preview: December 2016

From road tolls to water rates, we read Council's agenda so you don't have to.

The rate-supported budget—water, waste, and parking—will be passed this meeting. But it’s a regular Council meeting, too! Try to contain your excitement!

The Big Ticket


  • Urban Forestry needs extra tree inspectors to crack down on bylaw infractions. The surge in permit applications and complaints may reflect bylaw and process improvements made last year.
  • Related: John Filion (Ward 23, Willowdale) is concerned that Urban Forestry isn’t acting to protect City trees in his ward.
  • The Planning and Growth Management Committee wants to make it easier and more profitable for people to build green roofs.
  • A pair of environmental reports are out: one on short-term low carbon strategies, the other on resilience in the face of climate change.
  • Related: Mary Fragedakis (Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth), a bit of a foodie, is raising the possibility of an urban farm in the Lower Don south of the Brickworks.
  • Tree Removal Permit of the Month: a Siberian elm in Downsview. While this tree, according to staff, is healthy and there is no reason to remove it, Siberian elm in general is a prolific invasive species described as “one of, if not the, world’s worst trees.” We will be very disappointed if noted tree-hater Stephen Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre) doesn’t quote that line if it comes to a debate.

Ethics and Governance



Social Issues

  • Good news: the Housing Stabilization Fund, an emergency housing benefit for people on social assistance, is getting easier to access. Proposed changes include reducing paperwork and eligibility criteria. People dealing with bed bug infestations will be able to get money to replace “soft furniture,” as well as beds.
  • Tenant associations and some on Council have been pushing for a landlord licensing system. Landlords, unsurprisingly, opposed any reform. In a move sure to disappoint everyone, staff’s final recommendations fall in the middle: a stricter bylaw and more user fees, but no licensing. For more background, read Tannara Yelland’s article.
  • Toronto Public Health cements its position as the wokest City division with its update on the Intimate Partner Violence Action Plan. Their report focuses on the unique vulnerabilities of LGBTQ2S and Indigenous communities.
  • A low-income transit pass is in the works for 2018. As Steve Munro writes,

    Whether Council will simply add this on to the mounting TTC operating deficit, or actually come up with “new money” remains to be seen. City staff intend that it be at no net cost to the TTC, but nothing prevents Council from juggling the books simply by giving the TTC less subsidy than it might otherwise have received. The hard decisions will not come until the next term of Council for 2019 and beyond.


Getting Around

Your Moment of Zen

Did we miss anything interesting or important? Let us know in the comments, and tune in on Tuesday for the liveblog.

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