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Is the Stormwater Charge a new tax?



Proposed Stormwater Charge

Currently, residents in Toronto pay one water fee. This proposal would instead break out costs that were previously embedded together in our water utility bill. Therefore, instead of one fee, users would pay:

  • Water Service Charge

  • Stormwater Charge

Click Here to see a video about this charge.

Click Here for more information.


Here are answers to some of the questions we have received about this proposed fee.


Is this a new tax being created by our new mayor and councillors?

This work was initiated in 2017 under a previous mayor and city council. This is NOT a newly launched tax or policy. Staff are simply following council direction that was passed years ago. It is not a new tax, it is delineating streams within an existing charge.


Do other cities do this?

Many municipalities across the country have stormwater user fees including Mississauga, Markham and Richmond Hill. Click Here to see a list. Many other cities, including Toronto are in the process of examining an implementation.


What is Stormwater?

Stormwater refers to rainwater and melted snow that runs off surfaces like roofs, roads, and sidewalks, often carrying pollutants and causing flooding if not properly managed. A combination of factors including less softscape, more density and more unstable weather patterns means issues relating to stormwater present greater risks and impact.


Why separate out the charges?

Separating out a stormwater charge would allow the city to:

  1. Make investments to address the challenges associated with urban runoff by funding the maintenance, repair, and improvement of stormwater management systems and infrastructure including pipes, catch basins, and stormwater management ponds. These improvements help reduce the risk of flooding, prevent pollution of water bodies, and protect the environment. 

  2. Promote responsible water management practices including the provision of opportunities to incentivize investments and design by property owners that reduce stormwater risks and impact. A stormwater credits program is being considered that would incentivize property owners to manage stormwater on-site to reduce the burden on the city's stormwater management infrastructure. Property owners who implement approved stormwater management practices, such as green roofs, permeable pavement, or rainwater harvesting systems, could be eligible for credits against their water service charge.

  3. Help the City of Toronto adapt to the challenges of climate change including more frequent and intense storms.

  4. Ensure the costs of stormwater management are shared fairly among property owners based on their contribution to the problem.


How would the charge be calculated?

The charge would be calculated based on each property's contribution to stormwater runoff, typically determined by factors such as: 

  • Lot dimensions

  • Size of surfaces, both hard and soft, like driveways and rooftops on the property. 


What is the Water Service Charge?

The proposed Water Service Charge separates out costs currently embedded together with stormwater charges in our water utility bill. This would delineate a stream of funding to cover costs associated with providing clean and safe drinking water, as well as wastewater treatment services. 


How will the Water Service Charge be calculated?

Similar to the current water utility fee, the Water Service Charge would be calculated based on the size of the water meter installed on the property (e.g. most residential properties have a water meter size of one inch or less). The water meter size can be found on a meter’s top panel.





This panel has a ¾ inch meter.














How will the Water Service Charge be used?

The stream of revenue from the Water Service Charge would be used to maintain and operate Toronto's water supply and wastewater treatment infrastructure, including water treatment plants, pumping stations, pipes, and sewage treatment facilities. This funding ensures that residents have access to high-quality drinking water and that wastewater is safely and effectively treated before being discharged into the environment.


For more information, please visit the city’s website: Stormwater Charge & Water Service Charge Consultation – City of Toronto


Public Consultation

Currently, the City is consulting the public about the potential implementation of both charges. Public consultation on a potential stormwater charge and a water service charge will take place March 18 to April 30, 2024.  Following public consultation, City staff will review all feedback received. A report to the Executive Committee and City Council on the outcomes of consultation is planned for summer 2024. 


When would this be implemented? 

Should Council decide to adopt these changes, it will not come into effect until 2027.


How can I provide feedback?

There are three upcoming scheduled virtual consultations with City Staff:

Monday April 8, 6–8 pm Register for Meeting #1 

Thursday April 11, 6–8 pm Register for Meeting #2

Tuesday April 16, 6–8 pm Register for Meeting #3 


We are currently assessing if a further Willowdale Stormwater Town Hall is needed to ensure our community voices are considered in the implementation. Please let us know if this would be of interest to you.

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