Toronto proposing 4.4% property tax hike as part of 2022 COVID budget

The proposed residential property tax increase would be the largest under Mayor John Tory since he was first elected. Mark McAlister reports on some of the reasons being offered while still in the pandemic.

Toronto residents are facing a 4.4 per cent property tax increase in 2022 as part of the City’s budget proposal.

It’s the largest increase in John Tory’s tenure as mayor and comes one year after the lowest base property tax increase for homeowners was approved in 2021.

The $14.9 billion budget includes a 2.9 per cent base increase plus a 1.5 per cent building levy which was previously approved in 2019 to fund such things as housing and transit.

The average homeowner with a property valued at just over $697,000 will see an increase of $141 on their taxes this year. The property tax bill for an average priced home will be $3,339.

“I know we all hoped we would be in a much better place by 2022 but Omicron has made things more challenging yet again,” Tory said in a statement.

The City says almost half of the $1.4 billion budget shortfall is due to lost TTC revenue from lower ridership numbers while there are added costs for shelters and other public health measures due to COVID-19. City staff estimate the impact of Omicron alone will be responsible for $195 million in costs.

In the last two years, both the federal and provincial governments have delivered financial help to top up the budget shortfall but there is no indication at this point that it will do the same in 2022.

“As I have made clear many times in the lead up to this budget, that cooperation between all governments and support for Toronto and all municipalities must continue this year as I am confident it will,” said Tory.

The City says it has implemented a range of spending restraints and measures to offset the financial impact of the pandemic and sustain critical operations, and that for the third consecutive year, those mitigation strategies will result in a savings of almost $500 million.

The proposed budget also includes $135 million in new investments, including money to hire 62 additional paramedics.

Public consultations on the budget will take place on January 24 and 25 before going to city council for final approval on Feb. 17.

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