OC Transpo will introduce a new EquiFare, a single-ride fare for low-income residents in 2018, complementing the EquiPass discounted monthly pass started in 2017.The new EquiFare will reduce bus fares by 50 per cent for low-income residents.
Draft Budget 2018 increases investments in affordable housing and programs to address homelessness and for social services providers, including:
- Increase in base funding for non-profit social service providers who receive Community Funding to a total $23.1 million
- 3 per cent increase for the Housing agencies for a total of $26.3 million
- Up to $30 million over three years, for the Homes for Good Initiative, funded by the provincial government to provide housing assistance and supports to achieve and maintain housing stability
- $47 million for a multi-year social housing retrofits program, with funding from federal and provincial governments
Draft Budget 2018 also includes additional funding from other levels of government, with $2.9 million for Early Years programming and approximately $7.3 million for increased access to affordable child care.
Draft Budget 2018 includes projects to improve the City’s sustainability, such as a $1 million project to reduce energy consumption at City facilities and $500,000 to improve the City’s green vehicle fleet initiatives.
Draft Budget 2018 includes an inflationary increase of 3 per cent to fund cultural agencies, which increases the annual investment to $11.3 million. Community recreation groups and outdoor rink operators will also receive a 3 per cent funding increase. An additional $150,000 will be dedicated to the Momentum Fund, bringing the annual investment to $300,000. The Ottawa Music Strategy will receive $100,000.
Public engagement and feedback are important elements in the budget process, helping the Mayor and Council guide and direct the investment of public funds. As part of the pre-budget consultation process, Councillors conducted information sessions from September to October – providing information on the municipal budget process to residents and gathering views on priorities for this budget.
Following today’s tabling of the various documents that comprise the Draft Operating and Capital Budget, the proposed spending plan will be considered by all relevant Committees, then by full City Council on Wednesday, December 13.