City of Toronto takes action to help residents and businesses

The City of Toronto is taking action to directly help residents and businesses in this time of economic uncertainty. Mayor David Miller today announced a set of proposed new and enhanced City programs and services that are part of the City’s 2009 Operating Budget to be introduced tomorrow.

The actions announced this week are in addition to the steps already taken by the City including the proposed freeze of TTC fares and development charges. These programs are in addition to the $25.9 billion in capital investments the City will make over the next 10 years. An investment that will create and protect 35,000 jobs this year, and over 300,000 jobs over the next 10 years, maintaining our infrastructure and keeping Torontonians working.

The City is proposing new and enhanced programs and services in areas that can have the greatest impact. The total costs of the proposals are $1.3 million in 2009.

The proposals mean that in 2009:

– 100 families living in Toronto’s social housing will not have to fear being evicted because they can’t pay their rent. A housing allowance for households in social housing that pay market rent will help them avoid eviction because of loss of income due to the recession.

– 1,300 low-income households that are behind in their rent will be able to access more flexible Toronto Rent Bank loans so they can remain in their housing and avoid eviction or bankruptcy.

– 450 households who must leave their homes to find more affordable housing will have the help they need to pay the last month’s rent deposit on an unsubsidized unit that is often required, but not affordable for many.

– The City will accelerate Toronto’s “Starting in the Right Place” plan. Through its 14 employment and social services offices and new web-based tools, the City will continue to help people find jobs, education and training, get financial help, and access childcare, housing and health supports. The City will also expand the Investing in Neighbourhoods and Partnership to Advance Youth Employment programs.

– Toronto Employment and Social Services will create a Toronto Employment Hub that will be located in Metro Hall and will have a full-service employment resource centre, information about City employment opportunities and a hospitality services training program with the YMCA.

– Toronto Public Library will help job seekers by expanding job programs to reach over 6,000 people, adding 35,000 new books at all 99 branches for additional employment resources, and offering a new online website for job, career and small business information at

– Low-income seniors living near the City’s long-term care homes will be able to access noon-hour cafeterias to purchase prepared nutritious meals at a low cost and eat the meals at the home or take them to go.

– Long-term care homes that also operate adult day programs will be expanding their services to create safe seniors drop-in centres.

– The City will expand the existing homemakers program to provide homemaking services for even more low-income seniors who qualify. These programs help maintain the independence of our seniors and support healthy living.

– Toronto will launch the “Gold Star” program for business developments. The program is an enhanced case management approach which will facilitate municipal approvals for strategic industrial and office developments. Effective immediately, Industrial, Commercial Office and Institutional (ICI) projects are eligible. Each project is assigned to a District Review Team led by a Planning Director and an Economic Development officer who work proactively with the proponent and staff across the corporation to identify approval requirements, help resolve any issues, and ensure that the client receives prompt attention. Ten projects that will retain/generate 20,000 jobs and $2.3 billion of investment are receiving “Gold Star Service.” An additional three projects are anticipated in 2009.

New web pages on the City’s website are dedicated to providing the public with consolidated information on the new and enhanced City services and programs to Toronto residents and businesses. The web pages can be found at