City Hall

Reforming the Committee of Adjustment

For the past six years, one of my chief priorities at City Hall has been to make the Committee of Adjustment (CoA) more effective, accountable and transparent.

In 2014, I placed multiple motions intended to overhaul the Committee of Adjustment, recommending professional training for CoA members, better engagement of residents and improvements to the public notices and notification process.

This year, there are plans to hold training sessions for CoA members in all four districts. This training will focus on the Neighbourhoods policy of the City’s Official Plan to ensure that CoA members are more attune to and respectful of the needs and desires of our local neighbourhoods.

City Planning is also planning to host a roundtable discussion this year with resident groups in each district to discuss outreach strategies and how the CoA can be more accessible and user-friendly. As a result of recent meetings I’ve had with Planning staff, the notice sign is also being redesigned to make it more visible and staff are exploring other strategies to improve the public notice process altogether.

I’ve long advocated for the audio-visual recording of CoA meetings, which finally came to fruition last fall. Currently, the city is working to enable live-streaming of CoA panels on Planning’s Youtube page by the end of the summer, this will increase the accountability of the CoA and allow residents to follow the proceedings in real time..

Streamlining & Modernizing City Services

Over the years I’ve heard from residents who want to see City Hall get its house in order – and that means ensuring that the city is not duplicating work currently performed by other levels of government.

That’s why, during this year’s budget debate, I moved a motion requesting that the City Manager conduct a review of the overlapping of services currently provided by the city.

I’m also pleased to let you know that the city is embarking on a much-needed plan to modernize city operations, increase efficiency and generate millions of dollars in savings. The plan includes:

  • Offering more online services and streamlining the city’s service counters
  • Maximizing city office space to increase productivity and engagement
  • Reviewing the city’s current real estate holdings

Toronto’s financial envelope is limited, which is why we always need to be on the lookout for alternative ways to conduct our business more efficiently and effectively.

Get Involved: Toronto’s Long-Term Financial Plan

The first phase of the public consultation on Toronto’s Long-Term Financial Plan concluded in December 2016. The results of this phase can be found at the bottom of this page.

The city is now launching the second phase of public consultations. Members of the public are invited to participate in an interactive afternoon of workshops and discussions at Toronto City Hall (100 Queen St. W.) on Saturday, April 22 from 1p.m.-5p.m. This session will provide opportunities for the public to provide input on how City Hall can both balance its books and its long-term priorities.

An online survey will also be available from April 22 to May 14.

Click here for more information about consultations on the Long-Term Financial Plan.

Modernizing the City of Toronto

As a strong believer in fiscal responsibility and accountability, I’ve consistently pushed city staff to find efficiencies during my two terms in office.

That’s why I’m pleased to share the city is embarking on a bold – and much-needed – new plan to modernize city operations, increase efficiency and save money.

The new measures include:

  • A customer service strategy that offers more online services and streamlines the city’s service counters;
  • Maximizing city office space to increase productivity and engagement;
  • Reviewing the city’s current real estate holdings; and,
  • Hiring a Chief Transformation Office to oversee implementation of the plan.

These innovative, forward-thinking measures are on track to save the City of Toronto millions of dollars each and every year. For example:

  • $8 million annually will be saved by transferring services currently provided by phone and at service counters to online.
  • $4 to $6 million will be saved as a result of the Office Modernization Project, which reduces the overall office space needed at the city by retrofitting existing space to be more collaborative, efficient and productive.
  • $30 to $60 million in savings are expected through the implementation of a new centralized real estate and facility model that will maximize the city’s land and property assets.

Toronto’s financial envelope is limited, and we need to continue to drive savings in-house by finding new ways to conduct our business more efficiently, effectively and affordably.

Have Your Say: Toronto’s Long-Term Financial Plan

As you may know, the City of Toronto is currently in the process of renewing and updating its Long-Term Financial Plan – and we want your input!

The Long-Term Financial Plan is a road map that will the guide the city’s investments so that we can build the city Torontonians want.

City Council has adopted economic, social and environmental strategies to move our city forward. However, we need a strategic plan that articulates our priorities, outlines our revenue and spending targets and establishes a transparent planning process so that we can make sound, fiscally-responsible investments in Toronto’s future.

This winter and spring, the city will embark on the second phase of public consultations. In particular, we want your feedback on the city’s long-term financial direction as well as how we can strengthen governance, financial management and oversight of the city’s programs and agencies.

Head to www.InvestingInTO.ca for more information on the city’s Long-Term Financial Plan and the fiscal challenges currently facing Toronto.

Click here to sign up for updates and learn about upcoming consultation sessions. You can also get involved by following @GetInvolvedTO on Twitter and using the hashtag #InvestingInTO.

City of Toronto Introduces Monthly Utility Billing Pilot Program

The city’s Revenue Services division is now offering property owners the option to receive their utility billings on a monthly basis. This one year pilot program allows a monthly billing option to residential customers for payment of their utility bill in a more efficient way and in manageable payment increments.

For more information or to apply for this program, please click here.

Our City’s Financial Direction

With experience on both sides of the fence – as a former senior manager in Economic Development and now as a City Councillor – I’m well aware of the challenges the City of Toronto faces to deliver services while also balancing the books.

I’m a firm believer in fiscal responsibility and accountability. During my two terms in office, I’ve consistently pushed city staff to reign in spending and find efficiencies from within.

Unfortunately, the Standing Committees and City Council often vote on items without being presented with a full assessment of how new services or programs will affect the city’s operating and capital budgets.

The City of Toronto’s financial envelope is limited, and we need to make sure that Council is aware – before it votes – of every new line item on the budget and its long term implications for the city’s financial sustainability.

With that in mind, I moved a motion at last month’s Executive Committee directing the Chief Financial Officer to prepare a financial impact summary outlining the financial and staffing implications of reports from the various Standing Committees.

We must keep track of what we’re approving and how we’re going to pay for it – that’s the only way to ensure smart, strategic investments and maintain our city’s financial health.

I’m pleased to let you know that Executive Committee and City Council supported my motion  – you can read it here.

Noise Bylaw Update

As you may know, the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division (ML&S) has been reviewing the city’s existing noise bylaw to ensure that the bylaw is up-to-date and comprehensive.

ML&S reported to the May meeting of the Licensing and Standards Committee meeting. You can read the report by clicking here.

The Committee moved to defer the item until September 2016, with the request that city staff establish a working group with representatives from the Toronto Noise Coalition, Residents’ Associations, construction and entertainment business associations, BIAs and other relevant stakeholders.

I’ll be sure to provide regular updates as the noise bylaw review process continues. More information about this review and current regulations can be found at this link.

Recording Committee of Adjustment Meetings

Committee of Adjustment meetings are now being recorded!

In my first term, I directed staff to consider the feasibility of recording Committee of Adjustment panels to improve transparency and accountability. In November 2015, city staff brought forward a positive report recommending the purchase and installation of a storage and recording device.

The device has now been installed and tested at City Hall, and audio-visual recording of all Committee of Adjustment meetings began on May 1, 2016.

Staff also reported this month that live streaming of the panels will be possible as of July 1, 2016 – this means that you can follow the meetings right from your own home!

You can read the full report to the May meeting of the Planning & Growth Management Committee here.

Improving the City’s Infrastructure

As Chair of Public Works & Infrastructure, I’m pleased to share that the city is engaging in an aggressive program of road construction and watermain replacement to improve its aging infrastructure.

In 2016 alone, we’re investing more than $550 million to maintain and improve our city’s core infrastructure, including $260 million on roads and bridges, $227 million on sewers and watermains and $71 million on basement flooding protection.

This construction work will have real long-term benefits for Torontonians such as improved transportation corridors and better public transit.

While necessary, there’s no doubt that construction causes disruption and inconvenience to road users and other residents that share the public realm.

In recent years, the city has embraced a multi-year capital coordination process to streamline and synchronize capital projects. Leading this process is the Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination Office (MCIC), established in in 2008.

The chief goals of the MCIC are to improve efficiency and delivery rates, avoid conflicts between different projects and minimize disruption for residents:

  • A multi-year perspective ensures that capital work is being completed in the right order. This means, for example, that underground work will precede construction at grade.
  • A multi-agency approach helps achieve efficiencies in construction such as effective work-zone coordination or joint excavation.
  • A multi-stage process further works to minimize disruption for residents by, for instance, coordinating with transit operations and ensuring proper maintenance of equipment.

The bottom line is that the city is taking important steps to ensure that capital projects follow a predictable, logical and cost-effective path to delivery – all to get this needed infrastructure work done with the least amount of inconvenience and disruption.

To stay up-to-date, check out T.O. INview, a web-based mapping system showing the locations and details of planned capital projects.

Update - City of Toronto Labour Negotiations

Update – City of Toronto Labour Negotiations

As you know, the City of Toronto has been engaged in ongoing negotiations with CUPE Local 416, representing 4,200 outside workers, and CUPE Local 79, representing 21,000 inside workers.

The city’s outside workers will be in a legal strike position and the city will be in a legal lockout position as of 12:01 a.m. on the morning of Friday, February 19.

Additionally, the city’s inside workers will be in a legal strike position and the city will be in a legal lockout position as of 12:01 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, February 20.

The city remains committed to negotiating new collective agreements that are fair and reasonable to employees and residents and that allow the city to respond effectively to the needs of Toronto residents and businesses.

However, in the event of a labour disruption, the city will implement its contingency plan to address the operation of key city services that will be affected. There is a high priority on maintaining public safety while ensuring the delivery of as many critical services as possible.

If a labour disruption involving Local 416 and Local 79 does occur, meetings and events may be cancelled or rescheduled.

Toronto Police, Fire Services, Paramedic Services, Long-Term Care Homes and Services as well as the TTC, Toronto Community Housing properties and most Toronto Public Library branches will not be affected by the labour disruption.

Affected Services

Services that will be affected by a labour disruption include:

  • Cancellation of all community consultations and public meetings
  • Suspension of development application processing
  • Closure of city-run daycare centres and services
  • Suspension of licensing and permitting services
  • Closure of parks and recreation facilities (not operated by Boards of Management), including community centres, fitness centres, indoor and outdoor rinks and aquatic facilities)
  • Suspension of garbage collection east of Yonge St.
  • Suspension of in-person payment of parking tickets
  • Suspension of routine street cleaning and routine road repairs
  • Delayed winter road operations
  • Delayed online parking permits

For more information

Questions about the City’s service delivery and program impacts during a labour disruption can be directed to 311, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Please note that 311’s online service requests, mobile applications and email service will be suspended during a labour disruption. Always call 911 for emergencies. Higher than normal call volumes and wait times can be expected during a labour disruption.

Service updates will also be communicated via the city’s Twitter account, @TorontoComms.

You can also sign up to receive the city’s news releases and other e-updates.

Noise By-law

As you’re probably aware, the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division is reviewing the existing noise bylaw.

The goal of the review is to make sure that the noise bylaw is up-to-date based on in-depth research and extensive public consultation.

Between March and August 2015, city staff were hard at work conducting detailed analysis and soliciting stakeholder and public feedback. In order to maximize the opportunity for residents to offer their feedback, I requested that the online survey be extended until mid-September.

City staff are currently writing the final report on the review. It’s expected to head to the Licensing and Standards Committee on January 22, 2016 and will be available online.

Committee meetings provide a unique opportunity for residents to offer their feedback in front of City Councillors, staff and fellow residents.

If you’d like to give a written or oral deputation on the final report of the noise bylaw review in January, please email lsc@toronto.ca or phone 416-397-4592.

Ward Boundary Review

The Toronto Ward Boundary Review released its Options Report this past summer. The report outlines five options for redrawing the city’s existing ward boundaries.

The alternatives range from increasing or decreasing the number of wards to maintaining the current number of wards but adjusting their boundaries.

The next stage of the review process is to collect public feedback on the various options.

The month of September saw three public consultation meetings in North York. Public consultations in other parts of Toronto are underway and will conclude in later this fall.

The final report on ward boundaries is due to head to City Council in spring 2016.

You can give your feedback on the five options for ward boundaries by filling out this survey!

For updates on the Ward Boundary Review, follow @drawthelinesTO on Twitter!

Ward Boundary Review

The Toronto Ward Boundary Review released its Options Report this past summer. The report outlines five options for redrawing the city’s existing ward boundaries.

The alternatives range from increasing or decreasing the number of wards to maintaining the current number of wards but adjusting their boundaries.

The next stage of the review process is to collect public feedback on the various options.

The month of September saw three public consultation meetings in North York. Public consultations in other parts of Toronto are underway and will conclude in later this fall.

The final report on ward boundaries is due to head to City Council in spring 2016.

You can give your feedback on the five options for ward boundaries by filling out this survey!

For updates on the Ward Boundary Review, follow @drawthelinesTO on Twitter!

Thank You for the Incredible Show of Support!

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The election is behind us and it’s time to move our great city forward!

It’s a privilege to serve as Ward 25’s City Councillor, and I’m overwhelmed and honoured to have received 83% of the vote.

I will continue to represent Ward 25 – Don Valley West with a strong, passionate voice and a focus on customer service excellence.

After months of knocking on doors, I know that transit, congestion, pedestrian safety and gridlock are key priorities. You see it in each and every neighbourhood across the Ward.

Crowded trains, construction-related delays, traffic infiltration into neighbourhoods – it takes far too long to get around. Transit and traffic congestion are front and centre on my agenda, and I’ll be working closely with our new administration to move forward as quickly as possible.

The new term is officially underway on December 1and City Council’s first meeting is scheduled for December 2.

Thank you again for the incredible show of support!

Improving Planning Notices

You’ve no doubt come across a sign from City Planning with information about a new development proposal.

The signs are confusing and difficult to read – you certainly don’t walk away with a clear sense of the proposal or how to get involved.

That’s why I supported a proposal at July’s City Council meeting to redesign City Planning’s public notices!

City Council directed the Chief Planner to review its public notices and look at making them more accessible by using straightforward language and informative illustrations.

Consultation will be part and parcel of the review and a report is expected in early 2015.

Island Airport Update

An updated sta report on Porter Airline’s proposal to expand service at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA) recently came to City Council.

Your feedback and comments were very much appreciated, so many thanks to all those who got in touch about the issue.

After a day long debate, City Council approved the updated sta report unanimously with a few minor amendments. It was a rare and welcome show of consensus in the council chamber.

There was also a consensus outside of the council chamber. Advocates from both sides lined up behind City Council’s decision.

As you may know, the use of the BBTCA is governed by a Tripartite Agreement between the city, the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) and the federal government.

City Council’s decision sets out a framework to manage the airport going forward as well as clear steps to resolve and improve existing issues.

Any signicant changes or amendments to the Tripartite Agreement would require a further approval by City Council (alongside the TPA and the federal government). City staff are expected to report back to City Council in 2015 following further discussions with the TPA and the federal government as well as the completion of an airport master plan and an environmental assessment, among other things.

If you have any questions about the decision, do not hesitate to get in touch!

City Hall Update

As you have no doubt heard, last night Mayor Rob Ford issued a statement explaining that he will be taking a leave of absence.

Earlier today, the City Clerk issued a memorandum to members of City Council advising that, as a result of the leave of absence, Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly will assume the power and duties of the Mayor. You can find a copy below.

The good news is that the Deputy Mayor and City Council have been hard at work shifting the spotlight back onto city business, and I will continue to work closely with the Deputy Mayor to advance the city’s agenda.

As many of you know, I called on the mayor to step aside more than 10 months ago.

It wasn’t an easy position to take.

Trust, honesty and integrity are the foundation of public office. You don’t deserve an office you don’t respect, and the mayor has shown time and again that he doesn’t respect the office or the city.

At this point, anything less than a full and complete resignation is too little, too late.

Toronto’s a great city and deserves nothing less than a great mayor. We need strong, decisive, substantive leadership to take our city to the next level, to ensure our continued prosperity and success.

Park Permit Review

Parks, Forestry and Recreation is doing a review of the park permit process that will examine the process for obtaining permits in parks, as well as the costs of permits and insurance.

This review is part of the Parks Plan 2013 – 2017. It also responds to a request made by the City’s Parks and Environment Committee on January 16, 2014 to review permitting procedures and identify opportunities to streamline the issuing of park permits.

Residents can provide feedback either at a public meeting on Monday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m, at Metro Hall(55 John St., Room 308) or online from March 4-April 4 through the Park Permit Survey.

Information from the survey and public meeting will be included in a Spring 2014 report to the Parks and Environment Committee.

For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/P9NJIo.

Ice Storm Review Consultation

As I mentioned in my ice storm recap, there was significant room for improvement in the city and Toronto Hydro’s response to the December ice storm.

At January’s City Council meeting, I voted for a full and comprehensive review of that response, including actions to improve the city’s response to extreme weather events in the future. Toronto Hydro also announced it assembled an Independent Review Panel to evaluate its storm response. Both reviews are well underway.

The city is hosting public town hall meetings on behalf of Toronto Hydro’s Independent Review Panel to gather feedback on Toronto Hydro’s service during the storm.

The North York town hall is scheduled for Thursday March 6, 7 p.m. at the North York Civic Centre.

Those attending can provide a three-minute comment to the panel on how Toronto Hydro can improve its response to extreme weather events.

If you are unable to attend in person, you can also provide feedback to the panel via email at torontoicestorm@daviescon.com.