A Controversial ‘Rain Tax’ Imposed In Toronto

Toronto is considering a new charge called a stormwater charge, not a tax on rainwater wastage directly. There has been some public opposition, with people calling it a “rain tax”. The city is currently gathering feedback before making a decision

Toronto is considering adding a new tax for residents and businesses called the ‘stormwater charge“. Some critics and people are already calling it the ‘rain tax.’ This charge focuses on managing rainwater runoff.

The idea for this tax started during Mayor John Tory’s time in 2021. However, discussions about it go back even earlier, to at least 2017. The city has released a video explaining how the tax would work.

Under the proposed system, properties will be charged based on the amount of hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, and concrete landscaping that don’t soak up water. This means buildings that produce more runoff will pay more. Homeowners and businesses are charged $4.51 per cubic meter for the first 5,000 cubic meters (known as the domestic rate) and $3.16 thereafter (the industrial rate).

The city says this tax will make property owners more aware of the effects of runoff and encourage them to invest in managing stormwater. Toronto’s municipal government is considering the introduction of a ‘rain tax’. The Toronto government proposes implementing the stormwater charge in April.

“The City of Toronto is consulting with water users and interested parties on the possible implementation of a stormwater charge, stormwater charge credits, and a water service charge. These potential charges would impact the rate that customers pay for their water,” Toronto City’s official website stated.

Billing Criteria

Right now, Toronto residents pay for water based on how much they use. There’s a set rate for the first 5,000 cubic meters, then a lower rate afterward. The city also sets aside funds to maintain and upgrade sewers and stormwater tunnels.

The new water bill will have two parts: the existing usage charge and the new stormwater charge. However, the usage charge is expected to decrease by 25% because $385 million from the stormwater charge will be separated. The city will use aerial photos to figure out the surface area of properties.

The city is currently in a consultation phase, gathering public feedback on the proposed stormwater charge. This includes holding public meetings and online surveys until April 30th, 2024. A report summarizing the public’s input is expected to be released in the summer.

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