TORONTO – Toronto’s Community Development and Recreation Committee is urging the city to scrap fees for all of its recreational programs.
The motion passed at a committee meeting on Monday and be up for debate during the 2014 operating budget discussions. It will cost taxpayers approximately $30.6-million a year.
Before amalgamation, the old City of Toronto offered free programs but other cities did not. After amalgamation, some areas saw their fees reduced while Toronto’s went up. Fees have been in place for about 15 years.
The committee found that generally, fess in Toronto are similar to other Ontario municipalities like Hamilton, Windsor, Oshawa, and London. Toronto charges less per hour for instructional skate and dance, has comparable charges for sports and camps, and charges more for instructional swim, fitness programs and membership fees.
Coun. Paula Fletcher, a committee member who supported the motion, told the Toronto Star that free programs encourage children to be active.
“This is not gravy money, this is building character and health,” she told the newspaper.