About the Toronto Industry Network
As an organization advocating for manufacturing in Toronto, the Toronto Industry Network (TIN) is keenly interested in increasing the City's competitiveness not only in Canada but abroad. TIN has successfully participated in the policy and decision-making processes in a number of areas including:
Issue: Toronto’s transportation network plays a critical role in the function of our city. It contributes significantly to the ability of companies to compete through the efficient movement of people, materials and goods. Regarding the future of the Gardiner Expressway, there was a proposal made to Council to remove a significant length of the easterly Gardiner Expressway and replace it with a wide signalized boulevard.
Action: TIN joined the Gardiner Coalition made up of various business organizations and actively lobbied the Mayor and Council to make the decision of adopting the Hybrid option for the Gardiner Expressway thus maintaining an unbroken link between the Don Valley Expressway and downtown Toronto. The Gardiner Expressway is a key transportation route for a number of TIN members’ operations allowing for the movement of goods and employees.
Issue: Metrolinx proposed a design for its LRT along Finch Avenue West that would have reduced road capacity by one-third and created a roadblock at a railway bridge. Finch Avenue is a major truck artery serving employment areas stretching from Dufferin Street west to Islington Avenue.
Action: TIN joined forces with the Emery Village BIA and worked with Metrolinx to change the design to maintain road capacity including an innovative re-design of a railway bridge underpass.
Council and Staff Communications
Issue: How to communicate the needs of the manufacturing community to Council and Council committees important to TIN as well as key staff members.
Action: In addition to written communications and deputing at committees on key issues, TIN meets with the chairs of the Planning and Growth Management and Economic Development as well as many councillors and senior staff on a variety of issues.
Official Plan Review
Issue: Toronto, like all other municipalities in Ontario, is required to carry out a statutory review of its Official Plan every five years. Completed in 2013, this critical review focused on employment lands and the issues facing them such as non-industrial uses, transportation, etc.
Action: TIN deputed at the Planning and Growth Management Committee on this issue as well as attending a number of consultation meetings and public open houses with Planning and Economic Development staff. Toronto Council adopted staff recommendations to strengthen planning policy governing employment lands. The Official Plan is under appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board.
Property Tax Reduction
Issue: In 2004, Toronto's business property tax ratio was almost five times that of the residential. Many GTA municipalities follow or are lower than the provincial recommended standard of 2.5. This put Toronto's businesses at a significant disadvantage over their competitors.
Action: TIN strongly supported Toronto City Council's move in 2004 to reduce the industrial/commercial property tax ratio to 2.5 in 2020.
TIN also carried the City's message forward to Queen's Park that the Business Education Tax levied by the Province needed to be amended. This has been done.
Issue: Toronto's water rate cost structure for large water users was uncompetitive when compared to many other jurisdictions.
Action: Several years ago, TIN proposed that Toronto develop an industrial water rate for large industrial users that would be competitive with those in other jurisdictions. After consultation with TIN and other stakeholders, this change was undertaken by Toronto Council as an economic development tool consistent with those used in competitor jurisdictions to retain and attract new business and jobs.The City supported TIN's position and converted 7 water billing blocks into two, the second being exclusively for industries consuming more than 6,000 m3 of water annually. This has really helped large water consumers particularly in the food, paper, pharmaceutical and brewing industries.
Issue: Toronto is one of the few municipalities in Ontario that does not levy development charges for new or expanded manufacturing facilities. This was done to encourage new industrial development in the City.
Action: TIN’s position continues to be one of advocating that new industrial development be free of development charges.
The above issues point to the underlining concern TIN has about Toronto remaining competitive for business. More regulation does not necessarily mean a better business environment or a better environment for the City's residents.
Many TIN members must compete with other jurisdictions with lower costs and simpler regulations. This is a fact of life. Manufacturing and warehousing is an important part of Toronto's fabric making up some 11% of the City's economic activity and employing some 124,000 people. TIN is committed to helping Toronto remain a vibrant, attractive place to live and work.