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March 2018

Legacies of the Megacity: Toronto’s Amalgamation 20 Years Later

March 27 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada
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In 1998, Metropolitan Toronto and its six lower tier municipalities were amalgamated to form the City of Toronto. The decision to amalgamate was controversial then, and continues to be contentious to some today. Two decades later, what can we say about the megacity merger? Did it achieve its goals? Are Torontonians better served by one large government than the previous two-tier model? Looking forward, what lies ahead for regional governance in the GTHA?

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February 2018

POSTPONED: Toronto: The Accidental Metropolis

February 6 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada
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Please note that this event has been postponed. A further announcement will be released when a new date has been selected. Any tickets reserved for the event have been cancelled. Toronto is evolving with a style and character unique in the world, widely recognized for its livability. Now its economic power and its critical and largely successful function as a crucible of immigrant settlement is becoming more and more evident. Remarkably, the emergence of Canada’s cities on the world stage,…

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January 2018

Promise and Peril in the Smart City: Local Government in the Age of Digital Urbanism

January 25 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada
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The recent swell of interest in smart cities draws attention to the way the city of the future will be designed, built, and run. Increased use of technology in municipal servicing and governance holds tremendous promise to increase community engagement, create efficiencies in service production, better manage scarce resources and increase sustainability. At the same time, however, a push towards new technology adoption in local government could worsen the digital divide, increase inequity, and privatize control over data and urban…

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December 2017

Building a Better Budget Process in Toronto

December 19, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Canadiana Gallery, 14 Queen's Park Crescent West, Rm CG-160
Toronto, ON M5S 3K9 Canada
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The City of Toronto’s 2018 municipal budget cycle is in full swing. Council’s Budget Committee has begun debating $12 billion worth of city spending based on a seemingly endless supply of financial reports compiled by staff. Making sense of the numbers is remarkably difficult, even for the closest City Hall watcher. To lift the veil, the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) and the U of T School of Public Policy and Governance (SPPG) convened a panel to shed light…

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Democracy from the Bottom up: Unlocking the Potential of Community Councils

December 12, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs, Room 108N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 108N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada
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In a number of cities around the world, community councils give local residents the power to get directly involved in local matters facing municipal government. In Toronto, City Council will soon consider the boundaries, mandates, and powers of its four community councils, which were created in 1998 to address the perceived lack of direct access to City Hall as a result of amalgamation. This panel discussed the benefits and challenges of using bodies such as community councils to govern local decisions.…

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Financing Infrastructure: Who Should Pay?

December 7, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs, Room 208N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 208N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada
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Editors Richard Bird and Enid Slack and chapter author Matti Siemiatycki discussed the key themes of IMFG’s new book, Financing Infrastructure: Who Should Pay?, followed by a reception and book signing. Politicians and citizens universally agree that Canada’s urban infrastructure urgently needs work. But few cities have room to raise additional revenue, and the federal and provincial governments to which they turn for financial support are already in deficit, so who is going to pay for all of this? Bringing together perspectives…

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November 2017

The Public Acceptability of Taxation: Implications for Canadian Cities

November 30, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs, Room 108N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 108N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada
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Aversion to taxes presents a major policy dilemma for elected governments: voters want governments to deliver goods and services but are deeply suspicious of their efforts to raise taxes. When are citizens willing to support major changes to tax policy? IMFG’s 2017-2018 Postdoctoral Fellow Matthew Lesch discussed a new study on whether and how Canadians are likely to accept tax reforms to address three distinct policy problems – climate change, infrastructure, and deficit reduction. The findings hold important policy implications for scholars…

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Returning to the Golden Rule of Balanced Budgets: The Institutional and Political Economy of Restricting Public Deficits and Debt

November 15, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Munk School of Global Affairs, Room 208N, 1 Devonshire Place, North House, Room 208N
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7 Canada
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The “golden rule” of public finance states that over an economic cycle, governments should borrow only to invest and not to fund current spending, and that the current budget must always balance or be brought into surplus. In Ontario, all municipalities are subject to legal borrowing limits, with special exceptions for Toronto and York Region. Yet implementing the “golden rule” is not a simple question of setting limits to deficits and debt. Using the case of Switzerland, international expert and…

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Understanding Smarter Cities: What Happens Next?

November 2, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Innis Town Hall, Innis College, 2 Sussex Avenue, University of Toronto
Toronto, ON Canada
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As part of IMFG’s ongoing series of publications and events, we are pleased to co-sponsor the following event, organized by the Urban Studies Program at Innis College. The intended audience includes local and regional stakeholders, government and industry partners that are developing smart cities strategies, researchers and community members. Panelists will highlight previous smart cities work and research including a recent workshop led by U of T on The Future of Smart Cities in India and also connect to the Canadian federal…

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October 2017

Investing in Toronto’s Future: The 6th Annual IMFG Toronto City Manager’s Address

October 26, 2017 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada
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Toronto is an exceptional city at least partially because of public policies and past investments. As Toronto City Manager Peter Wallace discussed in his 2016 remarks to IMFG, Toronto faces challenges in meeting the demands of a global, international city. On October 26, Peter joined IMFG to discuss how the City of Toronto can address these challenges and invest in Toronto's future. What key steps could Council and staff take? What strategic policy levers could be used? What financial and implementation…

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