January 30, 2021
Dear Toronto voters!
The Toronto 2021 budget is in front of the budget committee which will make its recommendations on Feb 4th. The proposed budget will then go to the executive committee on Feb 11th, and to full council on Feb 18th.
The position your Councillor takes on the budget is crucial to the future of the City we live in and love. City Council must follow through on the commitments made in the Climate Emergency Declaration, despite the budget pressures created by COVID.
We are asking that you take a few moments to carry out one of the actions listed below:
Write your councillor using the message below.
Phone your councillor using the message below as a telephone script.
Note: The letter is long; for a phone message please focus on ask #1 - $2.5 million for the Environment & Energy budget
Make an appointment to speak with your councillor. Let us know if you want to be matched with another constituent to set up a meeting.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this request.
A full list of councillor contacts and committee roles can be found here: http://www.climatefast.ca/city-toronto-councillors-contacts
If you have any questions about these asks please feel free to contact us! email@example.com
THANK YOU! OUR VOICES RAISED TOGETHER WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Here is a message you can copy and paste (feel free to modify), and send to your own councillor.
Please cc mayor_tory[at]toronto.ca,
Please bcc climatefast[at]climatefast.ca
I am a constituent and <short personal message> I’m writing today to ask you to support the following amendments to the City budget proposal submitted by the staff that will address the deep social equity issues and the climate emergency that we face as a city.
Currently, global temperature rise is slightly above a 1 degree increase and has already created serious climate events for the City of Toronto. I remind you of the flooding that has increased in severity and frequency over the years and has caused millions of dollars in damage. In 2020 alone, flooding cost Toronto residents and insurers $80 million. It is projected that global temperatures will increase to 4-5 degrees, which will have devastating economic and social effects and make the earth nearly uninhabitable.
We must prepare to address climate change and the serious threat it poses to the City, its infrastructure, as well as the safety of its inhabitants. I ask that you support the following amendments to the budget proposed by City staff:
Increase the budget for the Environment and Energy division by $2.5 million in order to fund the climate action necessary for Toronto to meet its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Increase Toronto’s property tax rate by an additional 1%. There is a city building levy of 1.5% for housing and transit. However, it is a very limited amount given the needs of the City. We propose an additional 1% property tax increase to restore $30 million in needed funds for community services and programs, and funding for the Environment and Energy budget.
Create a fund for climate emergency action using part of the $30 million that will be created by the recommended property tax increase.
Shift spending from law enforcement to build the resilience of vulnerable communities (for example: housing, mental health, food security)
If we are to achieve our 2050 commitment to have a carbon neutral city, we need to increase our funding for climate emergency and social equity investment. The amendments and the motion that I ask you to endorse are essential steps in this direction. There is no time to delay -- this is the year we must take bold action!
<your name, address, postal code>
Toronto Budget Committee Deputations Notes
Jan 25-26, 2021
Dear climate advocate:
Here are many links for you if you are considering writing a deputation on the City of Toronto's budget.
If you have time to send in even a short deputation, cc-ed to your councillor, it's a good thing.
You can see in you scroll to the end what was promised in the climate emergency motion
These actions have been deferred; but we really can't delay, that needs to be the message.
The more submissions they get on climate urgency the more they will realize climate action is what the public supports.
REVISED CLIMATE NOTES AND DEPUTATION TIPS
If you have signed up to depute orally the city will send you a confirmation, and information on how to connect with the city’s online app in order to speak in the budget committee session.
If you have not signed up to depute orally you can submit a written deputation on Monday or Tuesday (or over the weekend).
Address your email to the Clerk, Budget Committee, and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillors will judge the importance of an issue in part on how many people take the time to depute -so please do send in a letter or note of your concerns. It can be short, so don’t worry if you don’t have time for something comprehensive.
Please note that some of our reference materials have been updated – and additional links provided. Scroll down for these.
Some areas to depute on:
- The urgency of acting on climate: why now even in time of COVID?
- Why you are concerned and taking time to depute
- Where you live in the city (your ward) (optional but can help esp if outside downtown)
- The steps you want the city to take that will help reduce our emissions and improve quality of life
- Have a look below for some of our common asks, it would be helpful to include them, including our call for a dedicated climate fund (as promised in climate emergency motion).
Here are some materials to help you prepare a written or in-person submission:
These have been updated to indicate gap in funding is $2.5 million rather than $6 million.
You can see other material: deputations 101, meeting with your elected reps, letter writing below.
Advocacy Training Documents
Sharon Howarth - How to meet with your elected representative Lobbying attachment
Joyce Hall - Tips on meeting with elected representative Lobbying attachment
Lyn Adamson - Deputations 101
Cheryl McNamara - Letters to the Editor
The recording of our training session (with Mike Layton and Michael Polanyi)
You may also wish to review these links:
- The city’s budget page
- Environment and Energy Division is listed under corporate, finance and treasury services: https://www.toronto.
ca/city-government/budget- finances/city-budget/notes- reports-and-presentations/
- Background briefing note from Linda Swanston at Environment and Energy
- Budget briefings on city’s youtube channel and their own site:
Tips for your submission:
Overall goal: We need to let council know we expect them to Build Back Better. It is a good concept to include in your presentation.
Our asks: what should be changed about the budget?
- Increased revenue – e.g., increasing the property tax rate and parking levy. Currently the property tax increase is just 0.7%, $22 per year for an average household. There is a city building levy of 1.5% for housing and transit. However, it is a very limited amount given the needs of the city.
- Restoring the Environment and Energy Budget – Close the gap! the ($2.5 million) current cut from what was planned for 2021 so that climate emergency commitments are not delayed.
- Shift money from the Gardiner to active transportation to advance equity health and resilience in our city and from law enforcement to housing health and crime prevention.
- Establish a dedicated climate fund.
- Divest from fossil fuel investments.
- Council must apply a climate health and equity lens to ALL major spending decisions so that we can build back better.
So those are a few tips for deputations – please take a look as well at the links above.
If you would like someone to look over your submission before Monday, you can send it to email@example.com by 5 pm Sunday and we’ll read it over. We always appreciate a chance to see your deputation if you would like to bcc us when you send it in.
We recommend you cc your own councillor with your deputation when you send it in. If you are speaking orally its also recommended you email your submission in advance (beginning of the session good enough) so that councillors can follow along when you are speaking – and if you are using charts or graphs they can see them. They won’t be visible to the whole room but you can describe what you are sharing with them.
On the budget committee:
All councillors will be involved in the final budget vote scheduled for Feb 18th (exec meets Feb 11) so it is useful to send your own councillor what you’ve submitted.
Re: setting up meetings with councillors and writing letters to the editor.
If you are interested in writing letters to the editor you can join our climate article list-serv. Please let me know (lyn[at]climatefast.ca). And if you’d like support in setting up a meeting with your councilor on climate concerns please also be in touch.
Thanks again everyone. Together we can make a big difference for the future.
Our Kitchen Table Climate Conversation is on Monday Jan 25th at 7 pm.
Fossil banks? No Thanks! offers a webcast on Sunday, Jan 24th at 3 pm Learn more about their day of action Jan 29th.
Science for Peace forum on Overcoming the Climate Crisis on Tuesday January 26, 7 pm.
CITY’S COMMITMENTS UNDER THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY MOTION:
- 2021-2023 TransformTO implementation plan
- Net zero emission strategy
- 2023 and 2027 targets
- Dedicated climate funding
- Plan to reduce consumption-based emissions
- Climate lens
- Feasibility of carbon budget
There are many others within the full motion