New Mayor, New Deal…what else was New at the City of Toronto in 2023?

Outdoor Skating at Toronto City Hall

This year saw a historic Mayoral by-election involving 102 candidates and nearly 15,000 election positions filled to support its implementation. Last week, Toronto City Council unanimously endorsed a once-in-a-generation change to Toronto taxpayer responsibilities in the Ontario-Toronto New Deal.

This was also a year of many new and improved City of Toronto programs and initiatives. Below are some program area highlights launched and expanded by the City in 2023.

Affordable Housing
• New target of 25,000 affordable homes: In November, Toronto City Council approved a new report that increased the former 40,000 affordable rental homes target to 65,000 rent-controlled homes. The new targets focus on affordable housing including homes where rents are geared to income and supportive housing for those who need wrap-around supports to maintain their housing. Learn more about this by visiting the City’s website:
• Federal and Provincial partnerships: The City, in partnership with the federal and provincial governments made deep inroads on housing development including providing geared-to-income portable housing benefits to 3,315 households (3,061 households from shelters and 254 Indigenous households) and creating 468 new supportive housing opportunities through the Rapid Rehousing Initiative in conjunction with Toronto Community Housing Corporation. The City also secured $169.4 million in funding for 416 new homes in 2023 through Phase 3 of the Government of Canada’s Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).

Toronto Community Crisis Response Service
• Created, tested and expanded the Toronto Community Crisis Service into City’s fourth municipal emergency service: The Toronto Community Crisis Service (TCCS) – a non-police led, community based, client-centred and trauma-informed service – is expanding city-wide in 2024 after a successful first year of operations in four pilot areas covering 64 per cent of the city.  The TCCS provides free, confidential, in-person mental health supports – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – from mobile crisis teams and can be accessed by calling 211 or 911. Client feedback indicated 95 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with the service they received and 90 per cent of clients indicated that the service positively impacted their perception of community safety and wellbeing. Learn more by visiting the City’s website:

Openings of Parks, Community and Child Care Centres
• Opened the first Indigenous named community centre and library: The Ethennonnhawahstihnen’ Community Recreation Centre and Library (pronounced Etta-nonna wasti-nuh) was named in consultation with the Huron-Wendat to honour the Centre being at an ancient Huron-Wendat site.
• Opened Lillian McGregor Park: The City and the McGregor family the park to honour her enduring impact on the Indigenous community and the city.
• Waterfront development: Along the waterfront, the City opened Love Park and the One Yonge Community Centre and the Aquabella Child Care Centre.
• North York development: The Macaulay Centres for Children – Tippett Child Care Centre (the Centre) in North York opened.

Alcohol and washrooms in parks
• Successful Alcohol in Parks Pilot program: Implemented at 27 parks this year and continues until March 2024, after City Council approved its extension this Fall. More information is available on the City’s webpage:
• Earliest ever opening of parks seasonal washrooms this year.

• Expanded FitnessTO program: provided greater access to City locations offering fitness programs and services including access to more than 65 community recreation centres throughout Toronto that offer weight and cardio rooms, lane swims and drop-in group fitness programs. Participants 60 years and older and youth 13 to 18 years receive a 50 per cent discount on memberships, day and multi-visit passes. More information is available on the City’s fitness website:

Shelter System and Refugee Response
• Support moves to permanent housing: The City has helped more than 5,000 people move from the shelter system and living outside into permanent housing.
• Shelter supports: The City is providing shelter and wrap around support services to more than 11,200 people – including approximately 9,500 in the shelter system, and more than 1,800 outside the shelter system in bridging hotels and programs run by the Canadian Red Cross. Currently, more than 5,400 of these people are refugee claimants. This number continues to increase on a weekly basis.
• The City continues to advocate the Federal Government for an appropriate level of support for the number of refugee claimants arriving to Toronto in need of emergency shelter.

Transportation and Congestion
• Expanded Traffic Agents Program from three to 42. This program increases road safety and manages traffic flow at key intersections during the morning and afternoon peak traffic periods. Learn more by visiting the City’s traffic agents website:
• Installed 25 additional Automated Speed Enforcement cameras, increasing the program’s total complement to 75 across the city. Released this year, the program’s evaluation data highlight how the speed cameras have been effective in significantly reducing the number of people speeding and overall vehicle speeds, pointing to increased compliance and improved driver behaviour. Learn more about this initiative by visiting the City’s website:
• Repaired more than 198,000 potholes by the end of the year, the highest pothole repair count in the last five years. This effort reflects a focused commitment to improving road conditions and ensuring safer and more efficient travel for residents and visitors. Learn more by visiting the City’s website:
• Upgraded traffic signals along Lake Shore Boulevard to provide remote control capabilities to City Staff – allowing them to adjust signal timings in response to traffic demands. This is the first step in converting these signals to AI-driven Smart Signals.

Advancing Reconciliation
• The City announced 68 new rent geared to income homes to be built and operated by Gabriel Dumont Non-Profit Homes (GDNP), an Indigenous housing provider.
• The City allocated more than 20 per cent of its funding allocation through RHI to Indigenous-led and owned projects.
• Launched the Indigenous Climate Action Grants pilot program: which funded 19 Indigenous-led climate action projects and initiatives. Learn more about these Grants by visiting the City’s website:
• Continued capacity-building grants: for Indigenous-led grassroots groups and collectives to create new projects, enhance existing programs or improve operations.
• Engaged with Indigenous organizations and communities during a park design competition at 229 Richmond St. West, at the High Park burn, Lillian McGregor Park, and the Ethennonnhawahstihnen’ Community and Child Care Centre and Library.

Climate Leadership
• PollinateTO: funded 44 community led projects, which will create 110 new gardens and an estimated 5,700 square metres of pollinator habitat. Learn more on the City’s PollinateTO website:
• Eco-Roof Incentive Program: more than 44,000 square metres of new eco-roof area were created. Learn more on the City’s website:
• Recruited and trained 26 Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions on community climate action engagement.
• Neighbourhood Climate Action Grants: the City funded 23 resident-led projects. Learn more on the City’s website:
• Funded 17 Toronto District School Board projects with Youth Climate Action Grants which provided funding to student-led projects, activities and events. Learn more on the City’s website:
• United Nations Environment Program: Toronto was selected to join 19 cities worldwide that are building stronger bonds between nature and urban life as a Generation Restoration city.

Business Support
• Small business supports: From CaféTO to Main Street Recovery and Rebuild grant programs, the Small Business Forum hosted in October to webinars and training, the City went all-in for small business in 2023.
• 2023 Collision Tech Conference: In June, Toronto welcomed approximately 40,000 innovators, tech professionals and visitors from around the world to Collision, North America’s fastest-growing technology conference and the biggest Collision conference to date. The Collision Tech Conference returns in 2024.

SOURCE City of Toronto

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