• October 5, 2007 12:20 PM
  • - General

Success of Toronto's "One Cent of the GST NOW!" education campaign brings request for payment from the federal government


    TORONTO, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - The "One Cent of the GST NOW!" campaign, launched
in February of this year, has had significant success in educating the public
about the needs of Canada's municipalities and has won broad support from
across Canada for all municipalities to have funding that grows with the
economy.
    Presently, when Canada's economy grows, the revenues of the federal and
provincial governments go up (through sales and income taxes), while the costs
of supporting growth are shouldered by municipalities and municipal revenues
remain the same.
    The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (with over 1,600 member
municipalities across Canada) endorsed the campaign - calling on the federal
government to provide municipalities with the equivalent of one cent of the
GST. Likewise, an important committee of the Canadian Senate has endorsed the
need for municipalities to have a share of revenues, such as the GST. And most
recently, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has written to Prime Minister
Stephen Harper encouraging him to share one cent of the GST with
municipalities, citing the recently-announced federal government surplus of
almost $14 billion.
    The campaign has led to extensive media reporting and public discussion
on the needs of Canada's municipalities with editorials and news reports
appearing in Canada's major daily, community, ethnic and internet media. The
website for the campaign, www.onecentnow.ca has had over 40,000 visitors and
thousands of Toronto residents have worn the One Cent NOW! button.
    "One Cent of the GST" would provide Toronto with approximately
$400 million per year, funding that would be dedicated to transportation,
maintaining infrastructure and helping Toronto keep pace with the pressures
for City services brought about by growth.
    The Royal Canadian Mint, a corporation of the federal government, has now
demanded that the City of Toronto pay $47,680 for the public education
campaign. Included in this amount is a request for $10,000 for the use of the
words "one cent" in the campaign website address (www.onecentnow.ca) and the
campaign email address (onecentnow@toronto.ca), and an additional $10,000 for
the use of the words "one cent" in the campaign phone number (416-ONE CENT).
The remaining $27,680 has been assessed against the City for the use of the
image of the Canadian penny in printed materials such as pins and posters.
(The Mint has come to this amount by taking the total number of materials
printed divided by the approximate population of Toronto, and then using a
percentage of that number to arrive at a dollar figure.)
    The Mint's request for money from Toronto for a municipal public
education campaign is inappropriate. The campaign is public education,
advocating on behalf of all Canadian municipalities. Furthermore, the City did
not purchase advertising for the campaign. The poster space used was all free
- no media was purchased as normally would be the case in a traditional
advertising campaign. One government should not be seeking payment from
another government for the use of words and an iconic image in a
not-for-profit public education campaign.

    About the "One cent of the GST NOW!" campaign:

    The goal of the campaign is to educate residents and business about the
need for Canada's municipalities to have access to a source of revenue that
grows when the economy grows. At present, when Canada's economy grows - the
revenues of the federal and provincial governments increase through collection
of various income and sales taxes - while revenues of Canada's municipalities
that must respond to the increased demands for service that come from growth,
remain flat. Of all the revenues raised by the three governments in Canada -
only an average of 8 cents from every dollar remains with municipalities
(6 cents in Toronto), while the remaining 92 cents go to the federal and
provincial governments. Municipalities, as the economic engines of Canada and
the government that delivers the services most important to residents and
business, must rely upon this limited revenue to deliver and maintain basic
services such as emergency services, transit, parks, recreation, libraries,
garbage collection and recycling programs.
    The campaign was launched by Toronto Mayor David Miller at the Toronto
City Summit Alliance conference on February 26, 2007 with the Mayors of
Aurora, Brampton, Halifax, Hamilton, Mississauga, Oshawa, Sarnia and Thunder
Bay. Since the launch of the campaign, the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities (with over 1,600 member municipalities across Canada), the
Senate Committee on Finance and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty have formally
supported the campaign. In addition, municipalities have individually
expressed their support, including: Ajax, Aurora, Belleville, Brampton,
Carleton Place, Fort Erie, Halifax, Hamilton, King, Markham, Montreal, Niagara
Falls, North Bay, Oshawa, Ottawa, Penticton, Port Moody, Sarnia, Stratford,
Sudbury, Victoria, West Perth and Wood Buffalo.
    For more information, please visit www.onecentnow.caVisit our website at www.toronto.ca
For further information: Media contact: Kevin Sack, Director, Strategic
Communications, City of Toronto, (416) 397-5277 (office), (416) 919-6500
(cell)