Article “Chows Rain Water Tax”

Mar 25, 2024

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow is contemplating taxing residents based on the amount of rainwater that falls onto their properties.

Toronto Mayor Chow wants to implement rain tax

The city’s proposal calls it a wastewater usage tax, and it’s based on the amount of rainwater generated from residents’ hard surfaces, such as driveways and roofs. 

Though still in its feedback phase of consideration, the proposal currently states that properties with more hard surfaces would incur higher taxes, as these surfaces contribute to runoff that can overwhelm the city’s sewer system during storms. 

Other than shock and mockery, many are questioning the feasibility of accurately measuring and enforcing taxes based on individual property characteristics. 

A statement from the city says they would categorize residents according to their property size.

“For properties less than one hectare in size, there would be a tiered, flat rate stormwater charge based on the average hard surface area of all properties in each tier.” 

“Property tiers are determined by property size ranges for different property types – residential, multi-residential and condominium, and industrial commercial and institutional,” it reads.

The idea was previously considered in 2017 under then-Mayor John Tory but was ultimately dismissed as impractical.  

Ford warned Torontonians last year

Before she was elected in June 2023, Conservative Premier Doug Ford warned Toronto residents that the NDP-branded Mayor Chow would pull off tax-raising schemes, though it’s unclear that he’d ever imagined she would try one as absurdly unique as this.

Days before she was elected mayor, Ford told a group of reporters: 

“You want my opinion? If Olivia Chow gets in, it will be an unmitigated disaster,” he said

“Taxes are going to go up 25 to 30 per cent, when people can’t afford the rent, can’t afford mortgages now. Business are going to be fleeing Toronto, as far as I’m concerned,” Ford added.

The city is running public consultations on their rain tax scheme until April 30, including open virtual meetings on April 8th, 11th, and 16th, as well as an online survey.