About the Toronto Industry Network

As an advocate for manufacturing in Toronto, 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:

Protecting Industrial Employment Lands from Residential Encroachment

Issue: Land zoned for residential use is usually significantly more expensive than land zoned for Industrial Employment use largely because residential development can accommodate a higher land cost than can manufacturing operations. Employment land therefore faces constant pressure from buyers wishing to get it re-zoned to residential or mixed use. The City of Toronto recognizes the importance of employment uses, as reflected in the City's Official Plan and its support of that plan through the Local Area Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

Action: TIN appeared at LPAT in support Official Plan Amendment 231 (OPA231) - which protected employment lands and awaits the outcome of the hearing.

Issue: The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, as part of its Growth Plan Amendment, has proposed designating some employment lands in Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe as Provincially Significant Employment Zones (PSEZ) which would better help them be protected from conversion pressures. Unfortunately, a significant amount of employment lands in Toronto have not been designated as PSEZ’s and current protection for them has been reduced.

Action: TIN has been participating in consultations with the Ontario Ministries of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade regarding the PSEZ issue. TIN's position on this matter is consistent with that of the city.

Improving Goods Transportation in the City

Issue: Moving goods and people around Toronto is a major concern for many manufacturers.

Action: TIN is participating in a comprehensive Freight and Goods Movement strategy study being conducted by the City's Transportation Services division. The consultant's report is expected in the spring, 2020.

Issue: Recently City Council debated whether to repair or remove a significant portion of the eastern end of the Gardiner Expressway, notably its connection to the Don Valley Parkway. Removal would entail its replacement by a signalized boulevard which would be expected to add significantly to journey times.

Action: TIN joined the Gardiner Coalition made up of various business organizations and successfully advocated that Council adopt a modified repair option for the Gardiner Expressway thus maintaining an unbroken link between the Don Valley Parkway and downtown Toronto.

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 West is a major truck artery serving employment areas stretching from Dufferin Street westward to Islington Avenue.

Action: TIN joined forces with the Emery Village Business Improvement Area to work with Metrolinx and City planning staff to change the roadway design including an innovative alteration of a railway bridge underpass to maintain road capacity.

Toronto's Proposed New Revenue Tools - Minimizing cost to business

Issue: Several years ago, The City proposed and withdrew a set of revenue tools to raise additional cash to pay for capital projects. These included tolling and a levy on parking spaces provided by businesses for their employees and visitors.

Action: TIN supported a position that would permit tolling on new roads. However, the province did not allow the City to proceed with this. TIN continues to oppose the introduction of a levy on parking spaces located at industrial facilities. TIN did support an initiative this year by Mayor Tory to introduce a property tax increase that would create a fund dedicated to constructing new transit and affordable housing.

Highlighting the Manufacturing Sector with Toronto Policy Makers

Issue: Highlighting the Manufacturing Sector with Toronto Policy Makers

Action: In addition to submitting written communications and deputing at committee meetings on key issues, TIN makes representations to the Planning and Housing and Economic and Community Development committees as well as many councillors and senior staff on a variety of issues.

Keeping the Focus on Property Tax Reduction in Toronto

Issue: In 2004, Toronto's business property tax rate was almost five times that of the residential rate. The city has a plan to reduce the business-residential tax ratio to 2..5, the recommended provincial ratio, by 2020. In 2018, it was 2.85. compared to many GTA municipalities which are at or lower than 2.5. This puts 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 by 2020. However, Toronto Council delayed the reduction of the ratio to 2.5 to 2023.

TIN is part of 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.

Stormwater Charge

Issue: Large water users pay a disproportionate share of the cost of stormwater management since an allowance for storm water management 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 supported a 2019 Council motion that directs staff to produce a study in 2020 that would look at separating out the stormwater charge from the water bill as well as examining ways to reduce administrative costs to consumers.

No Development Charges for New Manufacturing Facilities

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 continues to support the City's current position that new industrial development be free of development charges.

A Competitive Manufacturing Sector in Toronto

The above issues point to the underlying concern TIN has about Toronto’s future business competitiveness. More regulation does not necessarily mean a better business environment or a better environment for the City's residents.

Manufacturers must compete with other jurisdictions that have lower costs and simpler regulations. Manufacturing and warehousing is an important part of Toronto's economic fabric. TIN is committed to helping Toronto remain a vibrant, attractive place to live and work.

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