MobilizeTO Comments for 2023 City of Toronto's Budget Committee

Dear Mayor Tory and Members of the Budget Committee,

MobilizeTO is a Toronto-based group that works towards mobilizing citizens, politicians, communities and groups to take action against climate change.

While we applaud the City’s progress in achieving its 2020 target for admissions reductions, we believe that TransformTO’s current target of 65% by 2030 and net zero by 2040 is not ambitious enough. We recommend that the City strive for real zero emissions by 2030 (i.e. real reduction without the use of offsets). To achieve this rigorous target, we are calling for the Budget Committee to increase the funds allocated to Climate Action. Also, we strongly urge that a carbon budget be put in place and that it be reviewed annually. 

Recommendations to achieve these goals were itemized in a recent communication to all Toronto Councillors on November 16th, and include:

Buildings: Funds from the City Building Fund of $251,783.6K or the CARRF $1,000K) or the Capital Budget $23,882K

  • Apply the Green Standard for all new buildings to be net zero but with deeper retrofits for existing buildings, and provide financial incentives or assistance for these conversions, especially in low-income residential areas.

  • Toronto is committed to reducing its use of natural gas; therefore we should move to a standard use of heat pumps in all new buildings and houses, and begin a program of conversion to heat pumps for heating and cooling for existing housing stock; with incentives, if necessary;

  • Develop district heating with the help of Toronto Hydro;

  • Encourage use of green roofs in high rise dwellings to reduce emissions and provide cooling in summer, thus providing additional greenspace;

  • Use of thermal heating and air conditioning for industrial and commercial buildings;

Transportation: Funds from TTC Conventional Budget, $188,172.1K & Capital Budget $1,080,885K

  • Reduce inner-City vehicular traffic by encouraging greater use of public transportation.

  • Reduce parking fees at subways and transportation hubs to encourage commuters to park and take TTC into the City; while restricting parking in the centre core; except for local residents and service vehicles;

  • Incentives for more use of electric vehicles; increased infrastructure & charging stations;

  • With reduced traffic in town, the Lakeshore and waterfront can be redesigned to eliminate the Gardiner Expressway, providing more greenspace and open parkland at reduced capital expense

  • Increase the percentage of TTC electric vehicles to 100% before or by 2025.

  • Further reduce fares for youth and seniors; Find more incentives to increase usage by adults; – increasing ridership long term

  • More dedicated lanes for bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, etc.

Other: Funds of $453,441K for water and waste facilities

  • Upgrade waste facilities to reduce emissions from landfills and sewage treatment area

Note that, in addition to important emission reductions, cost savings can be realized with the use of renewable energy vs. fossil fuel expenditures in heating and public transportation, and savings realized by retrofitting City-owned buildings and use of ZEV’s.

The City of Toronto Budget shows an allocation of $17.62B for funded Climate Action from 2023-2032. A decision to apply a “climate lense” to all future decisions across all divisions is prudent and it is preferable to work proactively on climate goals, to avoid costly remediation or adaptation expense in the future.


Respectfully submitted,