Mayor’s office says Chow ‘did not request an increase’ amid calls for her to reject pay bump

Mayor Olivia Chow does not want a salary increase, her office says, after a taxpayer’s advocacy group called on her to reject a pay bump included in the city’s proposed budget.

“The Mayor did not request an increase, does not want one, and will determine how best to approach this issue as she works on her Feb. 1 budget,” said Arianne Robinson, Chow’s press secretary, in a statement.

She noted that the salary for the mayor is automatically included in the staff budget as outlined in the municipal code, which has been in place for nearly two decades.

According to the city, the mayor’s salary was budgeted as $216,160.13 for 2023. Chow took over the mayor’s office last July.

The city said the mayor’s salary increase reflects the budgeted CPI adjustment of 3.5 per cent to comply with the municipal code and to provide for two additional working days in 2024.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has called on the mayor to reject a proposed $7,600 increase to her salary amid her proposed tax hike.

Last week, the budget committee unveiled the first draft of the city’s 2024 spending plan, which proposes a 10.5 per cent property tax increase.

“The mayor says the city is broke and wants to impose a record property tax increase, yet she’s also asking for a raise,” CTF Ontario Director Jay Goldberg said in a statement Tuesday. “If times for the city are this tough, Chow should be asking for a pay cut to stand in solidarity with Toronto taxpayers.”

Goldberg added Chow should lead by example and shrink the size of her own budget.

Speaking to CP24, Goldberg described it as a “symbolic gesture” if the mayor rejects the increase, being that it won’t significantly fill Toronto’s massive financial hole.

“I think it’s incumbent upon Mayor Chow to say, look, I get it, times are tough, we’re asking a lot from you, and so I’m going to show leadership, and I’m going to take something away from myself and give it back to the city,” he said, adding that city councillors should also do the same.

Goldberg said it is the “wrong time” to ask for a pay raise as the city is in a “fiscal mess.”

“This is the time for politicians to take responsibility for the mess that we’re in at City Hall and show leadership by taking a pay cut or a pay freeze first,” he said.

This week, the city hosts three budget town halls for residents to comment on the proposed spending plan.

The city warned that an additional six per cent could be tacked on the property tax if the federal government doesn’t provide additional funding to support refugees and asylum-seekers. On Tuesday, Yvan Baker, the MP for Etobicoke Centre, pushed back, saying his government has “come through for Toronto.”


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