Updated March 14, 2023

CaféTO 2023 Support and Process for RVBIA Members
In order to encourage activity on the street and to support the eateries on Roncesvalles at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the RVBIA Board voted to re-allocate funds we were prevented from using for our festival in 2020, 2021 and other efforts to engage a third party contractor to assist our members in applying for and managing their CaféTO spaces along the street.   This financial commitment continued from 2020, through the 2021 and 2022 CaféTO seasons, accessing our reserves to support the project in 2022.

As COVID-19 related restrictions lifted and the CaféTO program solidified, and expenses for capital cost share projects such as KQQR were to become due, those funds were necessarily redirected elsewhere in the RVBIA 2023 budget.

The CafeTO BIA pilot project was not communicated to BIAs until 2023, well after our budget for the year was confirmed.  As a result of the items outlined above and this factor, the RVBIA will not be participating in the CafeTO BIA pilot.

This decision is further supported by the addition of 2 full time staff at the City of Toronto dedicated to CaféTO to assist and support businesses in applying and securing CaféTO curb lane spaces.   RVBIA members can work directly with the CaféTO team at the City of Toronto BIA Office to apply for their 2023 curb-lane cafes.  They can be reached here.

Members are encouraged to review the 2023 CaféTO guidebook prior to applying.

Additional Support for RVBIA Eateries
TABIA has indicated they will be providing support, including standardized drawings, to BIA members, these tools are now available on the TABIA website.

It is our understanding that previous participants in the program will receive direct communication from CaféTO regarding application for this year. If you would like to participate in this program and have not yet received this or you have any questions please contact CaféTO.

Applications for the 2023 Curb Lane Café season are now open. Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. on March 28, 2023.

RVBIA Members who operate eateries on Roncesvalles are requested to fill out a short feedback survey on CaféTO and the proposed changes for 2023.   Please follow this link to complete the survey. Survey EXTENDED until March 30th, 2023.

City of Toronto Changes to the CaféTO program in 2023
In January 2023, BIAs around Toronto were made aware of changes coming to the CaféTO program for 2023.  Much discussion and concern was expressed by many BIAs, including the RVBIA, when it became clear these changes would involve costs to businesses to participate in the program.  These changes also included bringing back the accessibility platform requirement for all curb-lane cafes.

The newly elected RVBIA Board agreed unanimously to formally express concern at the proposed costs of the program on behalf of members to the Toronto City Council Executive Committee before this went to council for approval.  Both TABIA and Restaurants Canada also advocated on behalf of Toronto eateries that these costs were too much too soon for businesses that were still struggling as a result of the pandemic.

Proposed Fees Pre-Council Decision:
Curb Lane Cafés (per m2) – $ 132.42
One-Time Application Fee for All Café Types – $ 865.00

This advocacy eventually resulted in City of Toronto Council voting in favour of a scaled reduction on fees for eateries who wish to participate in CaféTO.    City Council voted that CaféTO 2023 fees will reduced for 2023 and 2024 with the full proposed fees taking effect in 2025. The City has not confirmed final fee amounts as yet, and as of February 21 the program is not yet open for applications to verify the final fee amounts.

UPDATE from CaféTO February 24, 2023 (from the updated 2023 Curb Lane Café Guidebook)

In 2023, a one-time (non-refundable), flat rate application fee of $285.00 is charged when the original application is made. This fee is not charged when a permit is renewed. Application fees will increase in 2024 and 2025.

Seasonal Permit Fees: 2023 2024 2025
Cost per square metre: $43.70 $87.40 $132.42

Please see the communication from CaféTO staff following this decision by City Council:

“This week, Toronto City Council approved CaféTO program changes to make the popular program permanent. The amendments transition CaféTO from a temporary emergency response initiative into a sustainable City of Toronto program that makes Toronto’s streets more attractive, safe and accessible, while supporting restaurants and bars operating with expanded outdoor dining spaces.

Council voted for in favour of several measures to support the transition to the permanent program, specifically:

    • The City will reduce all permit and application fees by 66 per cent this year. Fees will be phased in over three years with full amount changed in 2025.
    • Temporary platforms in curb lane café permit areas will be required to ensure curb lane cafés are fully accessible. Restaurants and bars with a permit for a curb lane café will have a grace period until August 1st to install these accessible platforms. Operators will be allowed to use temporary ramps during the grace period.

For more details on the approved changes, you can read the News Release, the CaféTO staff report and supplementary report on the City’s website.

With the program now approved, applications are expected to open on February 22nd, 2023. (This was delayed until February 24th).

Additionally, grant programs will be available to assist businesses and BIAs participating in the CaféTO program.

    • The CaféTO Property Improvement Program will match 50 per cent of the cost of eligible patio space improvements, including costs associated with renting, leasing or purchasing accessible temporary platforms, up to a maximum of $7,500.”