Municipal Performance – Making municipal government work for
The Board is an active and respected advocate for effective
governance at the municipal level. The Board is developing
policies that will make municipal government work in the best interest
of the economy, leading to job and wealth creation. Current focuses
include sustainable municipal finances, municipal tax policy, the 2010
municipal election, responsible waste management, city and regional
governance, and alternative service delivery, such as Public-Private
The Board advocated for the creation of the Mayor’s Independent
Fiscal Review Panel in 2007. In our 2009 budget submission and
deputation to the City, the Board once again highlighted the importance
of this panel and called on the City to fully implement its
recommendations. Toronto Board of Trade Chair Paul Massara served on
this five-member blue-ribbon Fiscal Review panel.
For years, the Board advocated for the Province to take back
responsibility for social program costs downloaded onto municipalities,
resulting in an additional $500 million a year for the City of Toronto
budget within 10 years.
Lobbied for the municipal government to hold increases in new
development charges, resulting in a one-year freeze on charges that has
been extended for another year.
The passage of the City of Toronto Act was a triumph of the Toronto
Board of Trade’s longstanding efforts to empower Toronto with the
tools needed to be competitive with urban economies around the world.
Coupled with other reforms, including permanent federal transfer
payments such as the 5-cent-per-litre gas tax, the City has powerful new
revenue tools and fiscal flexibility. It now has the strength to shape
its future through the development of economic strategies, economic
growth incentives and sustainable fiscal finances.
The Board has a legacy of holding the municipal government accountable
for its spending. We continue to work with the City as it finds the
balance between social and business agendas. In 2008, we encouraged an
independent, third-party review of Toronto’s finances. The report
agreed that City Hall must do more to reduce costs, leverage assets, and
make both infrastructure investments and the creation of a competitive
business environment its top priorities. In 2007, the Board’s
advice contributed to the City’s first balanced budget since