Feb 14, 2024

By Jane Brown

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On this Valentine’s budget day at Toronto City Hall, Mayor Olivia Chow is showing some love to Toronto Police.

The mayor has confirmed she will back a plan to further increase funding for police which will match the request of the Toronto Police Services Board.

Mayor Chow says she received assurances last week from federal and provincial government representatives that Toronto will get money for public security, including rampant auto theft, and this, she says, convinced her it’s possible to give police their full ask without sacrificing other service improvements.

She also said she had talked with the police chief on Monday night about the need for a multi year staffing plan with a goal of lowering response rates, having more frontline officers and more neighbourhood officers.

In a statement of response, Chief Myron Demkiw says he and the mayor have a shared commitment to ensure the safety of Torontonians.

Not everyone agrees with the funding increase.

John Sewell is the leader of Toronto Police Accountability Coalition Advocacy Group and calls Mayor Chow’s climbdown “very disappointing.”

Sewell goes on to say the police have been playing hardball and this is not the way city politics should work.

But as a former Toronto mayor, he says he can understand the pressure Olivia Chow is under.

In addition to finding the additional $12.6-million for Toronto Police, the mayor has also confirmed she will support restoring windrow snow clearing services at a cost of $4.1-million and support motions to fund tree planting, the arts, Black Creek Pioneer Village and economic development and cultural programs.

The mayor’s budget comes with a 9.5-percent tax increase for Toronto property owners.

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