Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow gets 73 per cent approval rating during first month in office: poll
Published Thursday, August 24, 2023 5:47AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 24, 2023 5:47AM EDT
More than 70 per cent of Torontonians approve of the job Mayor Olivia Chow has done so far, according to a new poll.
Liaison Strategies conducted the poll and found that Chow received an overall approval rating of 73 per cent. Of those polled, 18 per cent disapprove of the work she has done during the first month of her term.
Meanwhile, city council got a 57 per cent approval rating.
Chow, who officially took over the city's top job on July 12, spent her first days dealing with the shelter crisis faced by refugees and asylum seekers. Many were forced to sleep on the streets for weeks after being referred to federal programs instead of being admitted to the municipal shelter system, with the city saying it could no longer accommodate them.
During her first council meeting, Chow put forward a motion to open additional shelter spaces for refugees and asylum seekers, which got unanimous support. She also convened a meeting with officials from the province and the federal government to find long-term solutions to the crisis.
Chow later apologized for how the city treated the refugees and asylum seekers, saying it was "not acceptable."
During her first month, the mayor also got to work on addressing Toronto's more than $1 billion budget shortfall, arguably the biggest challenge Chow is facing.
The city hoped the financial hole could be filled with funding from the province and the federal government.
However, it appears Ottawa won't lend a helping hand to the city. In response to Chow's request for money, federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the federal government will continue to be "a committed partner for the City of Toronto" but added that "the ability of the federal government to spend is not infinite."
City staff have since presented a slew of revenue tools the city could consider to address the budgetary pressures, including a municipal sales tax, a dedicated 911 levy, more power for the Toronto parking authority to set higher prices, and a graduated hike in land transfer tax for luxury homes.
Liaison Strategies asked Torontonians about what they think about several of those tools. Fifty-two percent opposed a one per cent sales tax compared to 43 per cent who are in favour.
A vacant home tax rate hike, municipal land transfer tax hike for homes over $3 million and on-street parking rate hike received a majority support among those polled.
The city's executive committee will consider the revenue tools at today's meeting.
Liaison Strategies surveyed a random sample of 816 Torontonians between Aug. 18 and Aug. 20.
It was conducted through Interactive Voice Recording.
The margin of error for survey results is +/- 2.71 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 for the total.
- With files from Joshua Freeman