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Toronto police granted $48.3M funding increase with no amendments


Toronto City Council passed the 2023 municipal budget Wednesday night and along with it, a $48.3M increase to the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) funding.

The hike in police funding represents a 4.3 per cent increase over the 2022 budget, and brings TPS’ total 2023 operating budget to $1.16B.

The funding was passed despite a motion brought forward by Ward 9–Davenport Councillor Alejandra Bravo that proposed $900,000 be reallocated from the police service’s budget increase and invested into operating 24/7 warming centres.

Bravo’s motion failed 8-17. Councillors Alejandro Bravo, Paula Fletcher, Ausma Malik, Josh Matlow, Chris Moise, Amber Morley, Gord Perks, and Jaye Robinson voted in favour.

The Toronto Transit Commission's proposed budget also passed, which granted a $53M increase to the commission.

Shortly after the budget passed, Tory gave notice to the city clerk that he would not veto any part of it, and tendered his resignation, which will go into effect Friday at 5 p.m.


Before voting on Bravo’s motion, Council debated the issue and had the opportunity to ask questions of Bravo, TPS Chief Myron Demkiw and a TPS representative.

Ward 9–Etobicoke–Lakeshore councillor Amber Morley first took time to ask TPS chief Myron Demkiw how the increased funding would improve service.

Demkiw said the money will allow TPS to hire more community safety officers, which he says there is significant support for, and to increase emergency core response staffing, in turn, decreasing response times.

Currently, the average wait time for a priority 1 call in the city is 21 minutes, Demkiw said, but, when there are no available units – which is fifty per cent of the time— that wait time increases to over 30 minutes.

Some Toronto residents in recent months have said they've waited up to 24 hours for police to respond to less-urgent 911 calls.

Demkiw says the standard set by the police board for priority 1 calls is six minutes.

In an attempt to identify potential extra costs, Fletcher asked a police representative how many officers have 24/7 access to police vehicles. The representative said 86 senior officers are equipped with vehicles around-the-clock, as per the union’s collective agreement.

Ward 19–Beaches–East York councillor Brad Bradford made a point to ask Bravo if her motion, which moved to cut the increase by $900,000, intended to “defund the police.”

In response, Bravo reread her motion.

“So can you clarify that your intention here is to defund the police?” Bradford asked again.

In 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, Bradford voted in favour of defunding TPS' budget by 10 per cent, stating in a blog post shared to his website, "for too long, the size and scope of policing has grown."

About an hour later, Ward 4–Parkdale–High Park councillor Gord Perks accused Braford of making the issue about “rhetoric.”

In the end, council voted to pass the $1.16B proposed police budget.


Across the eight municipal budgets Tory has signed off on in his time in office, police spending has fluctuated – in some years, he’s decreased the budget, or kept it stagnant. In others, he’s increased funding.

Following calls to defund the police after the murder of George Floyd in 2020, city council passed a motion seeking reforms of the city's police department, but ultimately voted against a proposed 10 per cent cut to the force's budget.

About eight months later, the city approved a 2021 municipal budget that did not offer any increase to TPS’ funding over the year before, freezing it at $1.076B.

Former TPS Chief James Ramer said, at the time, the force was “committed to doing more without asking for more,” and highlighted changes to the force, including an expansion of specialized mental health teams and increased investments in the neighbourhood officer program.

The following year, Tory changed direction and the city approved a 2022 municipal budget that offered $1.1B to the force – a $24.8 million increase over 2021.


Beverly Bain, a professor of gender studies at the University of Toronto and organizer of the No Pride in Policing Coalition, told CTV News Toronto last month that any increase to police funding in Toronto cannot be described as responsible.

“Any increase is irresponsible,” Bain said in an interview. Instead, she called on money to be redistributed into community services.

“Police do not protect people,” she said. “Especially racialized people.”

Race-based data collected from 2020 by Toronto police and released in June 2022, showed that, among other things, racialized people in Toronto are 20 to 60 per cent overrepresented among those who faced violence when interacting with police in 2020.

Bain points to the recent death of Taresh Bobby Ramroop as an example of how police interactions can go awry. On Oct. 13, Ramroop fell to his death from the 16th-floor window of a North York apartment in the presence of Toronto police while suffering a mental health crisis.

The incident closely mirrored the high-profile death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black woman who fell 24 storeys from her High Park apartment balcony to her death in the presence of Toronto police in 2020. The Ontario Special Investigations Unit eventually cleared the officers involved of any wrongdoing, but Korchinski-Paquet’s family has since filed a $10M-civil lawsuit in connection to her death. Top Stories

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