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Toronto Police Services Board approves $1B budget for 2021

Last Updated Jan 13, 2021 at 2:16 pm EST

Officers stand in a line at an award ceremony at Toronto Police Service headquarters on March 29, 2017. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera

The Toronto Police Services Board has approved an operating budget of just over $1 billion for 2021.

The $1.076 billion budget request put forth by Chief Jim Ramer at a special meeting of the Board on Wednesday amounts to a zero per cent increase from the 2020 approved budget.

“This year, we’re committed to doing more without asking for more,” Chief Ramer said in advance of the presentation, noting the budget balances the need to provide the policing required while recognizing Torontonians need for a reformed, efficient police service.

Ramer points out that the flat budget increase means 50 fewer officers and 90 fewer civilians will be hired this year after the force absorbed $46 million in “budget pressures.”

Last summer, there were calls from various groups and organizations to “defund the police” with Black Lives Matter Toronto demanding a 50 per cent reduction in the budget.

Toronto city councillors Josh Matlow and Krystyn Wong-Tam put forth a motion to cut the budget by at least 10 per cent, however that move was rejected by council.

Mayor John Tory, who is a member of the Police Services Board, says he will support the budget put forward when it comes up for debate at city council.

The Board also approved the Toronto police 10-year capital budget request, parking enforcement unit request, and police board operating budget request – the latter two also calling for a zero per cent increase from the previous year.