VIDEO: Church Leaders Speak Out Over Fee Hike
Leaders of small churches in Toronto gathered to protest outside of Toronto District School Board headquarters Wednesday afternoon to speak out against fee increases to those that rent school facilities.
Some, including Canada Christian College President Charles McVety claim a recent change that will see an up to 800% increase in fees represents an attack on the church.
It's after those that rent out space at TDSB facilities were informed late last month that their costs would be increasing significantly, with the introduction of a previously approved policy that church groups would no longer be eligible for subsidies offered to non-profits. A %43.7 increase in permit fees will also kick in on January 1st.
Henry Manansala Pastor of North Victory Baptist Church that uses space (a cafeteria and up to 6 classrooms) in a school near Allen and Sheppard and is faced with an increase of $75,000 a year after the annual fee jumped from $40,000 to $115,000.
He found out about the increase in a letter he got late last month.
"We were flabbergasted," he says. "How do you react to something like that?"
Manansala says the church will be able to afford the increase for now, but it's likely time to look for a new long-term location.
The Toronto District School Board says there is no attack on the church it's a financial decision to help the cash strapped board recoup costs.
Spokesperson Ryan Bird says the board is willing to try and come up with solutions for those impacted by the change.
"Our permit staff want to work with the groups that have been affected by this and try and to look at different options to see if we can make it any cheaper for them."