17 February 2017
A Statement from the President to Members of the Victoria University Community
Many of you will have seen recent reports in the media concerning the property tax status of 131 Bloor Street West on land owned by Victoria University. I am writing to let you know that the University has been working closely and productively with the City of Toronto for several months with respect to the tax treatment of Victoria University lands.
In 1951 the Province of Ontario passed the Victoria University Act, which deliberately created the current taxation framework for the University. This policy encouraged the revitalization of a part of the city that was struggling, and provided an income stream for post-secondary education and new tax revenues for the city. In 2016 the City of Toronto informed Victoria University that in their view this arrangement has outlived its usefulness. The University takes seriously its mutually enriching relationship with the City of Toronto, and since September 2016 has been in active conversations with City staff about what a new arrangement might look like. As a university committed to education as a public good, Victoria holds that any change to a new arrangement should not adversely affect students or post-secondary education.
All lease income received by Victoria University is directed to the University’s core mission of educating and supporting students. It supports such things as teaching, student services, libraries, and maintaining heritage buildings. It also provides scholarships and financial support for hundreds of students each year. Our students and graduates contribute to making Toronto vibrant and prosperous.
Victoria University looks forward to continuing these important discussions with the City.