About the Toronto Industry Network

As an advocate 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:

Transportation

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 to work with Metrolinx and City planning staff to change the design including an innovative alteration of a railway bridge underpass to maintain road capacity.

Revenue Tools

Issue: The City is proposing a set of revenue tools to raise additional cash to pay for capital projects. These include tolling and a levy on parking spaces supplied by businesses for their employees and visitors.

Action: TIN continues to work with other business groups to develop a position that will support tolling on new infrastructure. Council abandoned the parking tax as this levy would add a significant additional cost to our members' operations across the City.

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. The new Official Plan is currently before the Ontario Municipal Board.

Action: After participating extensively in the process leading up Toronto Council's approval of the new Official Plan, TIN has official standing at the OMB advancing a number of concerns important to the manufacturing community.

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. However, Toronto Council has delayed the reduction of the ratio to 2.5 to 2023. TIN has joined a group of business associations that is lobbying the city to restore lowering the tax to 2.5 or less. It is currently 2.83.

Water Rates

Issue: Toronto's Block 2 water rate cost for industries using more than 6,000 m3/year was increased by nine percent per year for nine years to help fund infrastructure improvements. Except for electricity, this was well above the increases in input costs faced by manufacturers. structure for large water users was uncompetitive when compared to many other jurisdictions.

Action: Toronto Water reduced its water rate increases for 2017 and 2018 to five percent annually and plans three percent increases thereafter. This will help Toronto-based industries using a lot of process water to better compete with companies elsewhere.

Stormwater Charge

Issue: The City is working to reduce and mange the amount of stormwater generated within its borders. TIN has advocated for many years that large water users pay a disproportionate share of the cost of stormwater management since that cost is embedded in the general water rate. Many other municipalities levy this cost through a separate charge or as part of the property tax.

Action: TIN worked with staff on this initiative who proposed a revenue-neutral plan that seems to work for the industrial sector. Others such as the commercial sector would have had to pay more because their water usage was relatively low. In 2017, the proposal was dropped by Council due to objections by a number of stakeholders.

Development Charges

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.

Competitiveness

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 economic 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.


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