The City uses debt to help finance large capital projects. This provides the City with more affordable financing by matching the repayment term to the economic useful life of the project, instead of funding the entire cost from current revenues.
The City’s capital projects are funded by a variety of sources including the issuance of debt.
Debt provides the City with affordable financing and matches the repayment term to the economic useful life of the project. Without debt financing, the City may be hindered from taking on large capital projects. Also, present taxpayers would be funding projects that provide long-term benefit to future residents.
An Ontario municipality may issue long-term debt only for capital purposes and cannot borrow for operations. The only exception is issuing promissory notes that must be repaid with the current year’s tax levy. Repayment of municipal debt is amortized over the term of the debenture with regular contributions being made to the sinking fund. The city auditor certifies the sinking fund balance annually. If the balance certified is less than the amount required in the year for the repayment of the sinking fund, the City will pay an amount sufficient to make up the deficiency into the sinking fund.
The City of Toronto is a respected participant in the global capital markets. Adherence to the Financing of Capital Works Policy and Goals maintains the City’s reputation and affords continued efficient and cost-effective access to capital markets.
The City’s debt issuance guidelines and policies are outlined in the following documents:
City of Toronto Long-Term Debt ($ 000s)
|Debentures Issued By the City (Total Outstanding)||5,617,385||5,234,971||4,896,579|
|Debt issued by Toronto Community Housing Corp.||904,576||681,034||639,526|
|Debentures issued by the City on behalf of TDSB||75,846||75,846||75,846|
|Loans payable to the Province||93,171||170,171||170,171|
|Debt issued by Lakeshore Arena Corporation||19,602||19,932||38,937|
|Sony Centre loans payable||425||–||–|
|Sinking fund deposits||(1,934,095)||(1,945,279)||(1,912,275)|
|Sinking fund deposits – TDSB||(64,872)||(58,831)||(53,435)|
City of Toronto’s net long-term debts are to be recovered from the following sources: ($ 000s)
|Property taxes and user charges||3,759,909||3,459,542||3,154,240|
|Toronto Community Housing Corp (TCHC)||921,106||681,034||639,526|
|Lakeshore Arena – Infrastructure Ontario||956||991||1,052|
|Toronto District School Board (TDSB)||10,974||17,013||22,410|
|Total Net Long Term Debt||4,712,547||4,178,512||3,856,165|
The City issues debt issues to support funding for capital projects with a priority on state-of-good-repair of key infrastructure
The debt requirement for the City’s 10-Year Capital Plan is estimated to be about $6.6 billion. In 2017, the City plans to borrow about $900 million to fund capital expenditures.
Toronto’s Debenture Maturity Schedule
The City of Toronto’s credit ratings (as of March 10, 2017) are:
AA with a stable outlook from the Dominion Bond Rating Service
“The ratings are supported by Toronto’s large and dynamic economy, considerable base of liquidity and moderate debt burden.”
DBRS, December 9, 2016
AA with a stable outlook from Standard and Poor’s Canada
“The ratings reflect our view of Toronto’s very strong economy which, along with strong financial management, has helped the city to continue to attract residents and investment…The ratings also reflect our positive view the very predictable and well-balanced institutional framework for Canadian municipalities.”
Standard & Poor’s, October 27, 2016
Aa1 with a stable outlook from Moody’s Investor Service
“The City of Toronto’s Aa1 rating benefits from a low debt burden (46% of operating revenue in 2013), a healthy liquidity profile evidenced by a net cash position, a large and diversified economic base as well as a track record of consolidated surpluses since 2008… The rating also reflects the city’s additional unique taxation powers, which allow it to access additional revenue sources besides property taxes and user charges for environmental services.”
Moody’s Investors Service, June 30, 2016