We regret to inform you that city budgets across the country have gotten so tight (relatable) that they’re starting to take away the fun stuff.
What happened: Toronto city officials spent much of yesterday debating whether they could afford to pony up for Canada Day celebrations at city hall—in the end, they chose to move ahead.
- It’s a low-stakes example of how shrinking municipal funds are forcing cities to count their pennies and make cuts that could soon impact your day-to-day life.
Why it matters: Cities nationwide are grappling with budget shortfalls caused partly by revenue lost (and costs added) during the pandemic. That could soon result in cuts to key services like transit, garbage collection, and libraries that will make you forget all about changes to your local Canada Day programming.
Toronto has the largest shortfall of nearly $1 billion, followed by Vancouver at $500 million, Montreal at $80 million, Winnipeg at $70 million, and Ottawa at $12 million.
- Calgary is the one bright spot: The city is floating on a $65 million budget surplus.
What’s next: If the federal government doesn’t chip in more, Canada’s major cities will have to use some combination of budget cuts, tax hikes, and higher fees (like you pay for transit or at city pools) to balance their books.—SB