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Unbalanced Books: How to Improve Toronto’s Fiscal Accountability


  • Colin Busby

    (C.D. Howe Institute)

  • Benjamin Dachis

    (C.D. Howe Institute)

  • William B.P. Robson

    (C.D. Howe Institute)


As Toronto gears up for a municipal election this fall, the city's poor record on fiscal accountability promises to be a central issue. As the sixth largest government in Canada, with a budget of over $11 billion annually, Toronto city hall should have its finances under better control. A 10-year comparison of planned spending changes announced in budgets with actual results reported after year-end reveals large deviations between planned and actual spending that are routine. To increase transparency and accountability, Toronto should consolidate its now separate capital and operating budgets, move to a uniform accounting basis for its budgets and year-end results, and provide multi-year budgets. City government should adhere more closely to the budgets Council votes every year.

Suggested Citation

  • Colin Busby & Benjamin Dachis & William B.P. Robson, 2010. "Unbalanced Books: How to Improve Toronto’s Fiscal Accountability," e-briefs 103, C.D. Howe Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdh:ebrief:103

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Colin Busby & William Robson, 2013. "Canada's 2012 Fiscal Accountability Rankings," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 373, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Dachis & William B.P. Robson, 2011. "Holding Canada's Cities to Account: an Assessment of Municipal Fiscal Management," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 145, November.
    2. Andrew Green & Michael Trebilcock, 2010. "The Eco-Fee Imbroglio: Lessons from Ontario’s Troubled Experiment in Charging for Waste Management," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 316, December.

    More about this item


    Governance and Public Institutions; Toronto; fiscal accountability;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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