The 2012 budget could mean the beginning of the end for community centres in Toronto

 

#1. SHUTTING CHILDREN, YOUTH AND COMMUNITY GROUPS OUT OF COMMUNITY CENTRES.

There are 21 ‘priority’ community centres across Toronto with free registered programs for children and youth. The proposed budget eliminates all these programs. In June 2012, 12,870 children and youth—and countless community groups—will be asked to leave their community centres. The vast majority will likely not be able to return. This budget also proposes to cut 17 out of 29 youth outreach workers, who do vital work out of our community centres.

#2. STARVING THE SUBSIDY PROGRAM.

Some Councillors are saying the recreation subsidy program, the Welcome Policy, will be there for the children and youth cut out of free programs. It won’t be. The subsidy program was frozen and unavailable for most of 2011. Given its budget allocation for next year, it will be frozen for a large part of 2012. And the Budget Committee is proposing to re-structure the subsidy program so that, in a few years, it could be almost worthless.

#3. SKY-ROCKETING USER FEES.

In this budget, Parks, Forestry and Recreation is proposing to raise most recreation user fees by 13 percent. In future budgets, they are proposing to go to ‘full cost recovery.’ As they presently recover about 30 percent of expenses, this means user fees will triple.

It is not too late. City Council still has to vote on these cuts on January 17th.

TAKE ACTION NOW.