Toronto City Council Seeks Feds and Province to Reinstate COVID-19 Supports

COVID-19 Toronto

Toronto – City Council has formally requested that the Government of Canada and the Ontario Government provide continued funding commitments to address the City’s COVID-19 related financial impacts in 2022 and 2023.

Toronto Mayor John Tory states, “Throughout the pandemic I have worked with the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to protect frontline City services and fully fund the unprecedented costs of the pandemic effort. A continued joint federal, provincial, and municipal approach is critical as we continue to respond to, and recover from, the COVID-19 pandemic and confront the Omicron variant. With these required investments from our partners in the Government of Canada and the Ontario Government, Toronto can keep protecting frontline services, continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, invest in capital infrastructure and jobs, and make sure we recover from the pandemic as quickly as possible. This continued partnership of all the governments will ensure that Toronto – Canada’s economic engine – and all municipalities come back stronger than ever.”
“City Council’s approval of the recommendations to secure funding from the Government of Canada and the Ontario Government will strengthen our partnerships to deliver City programs and services that are beneficial to both residents and the objectives of all orders of government,” states Toronto City Manager Chris Murray.
In a vote on Thursday, Council also requested that COVID-19 related support to municipal governments be allocated on a needs-based basis, including recently announced provincial operating funding for public transit systems.
Investments from other orders of government will:
• Address the limited fiscal and revenue generating capacity of local governments
• Acknowledge the requirement for municipalities to run balanced budgets
• Recognize the need to align local, provincial and federal policies and programs including preserving necessary capital investments
• Better match investments with outcomes and associated cost savings and revenue growth, such as savings to justice, health care and other systems as a result of supportive housing investments, and the growth in income taxes as a result of infrastructure investments
• Ultimately help meet the shared objectives of all governments, such as reducing chronic homelessness, fostering economic growth and addressing climate change.
The report warns that the absence of significant federal and provincial financial commitments to address pandemic-related pressures and pressures in other areas in the near future will require the City to consider further cost mitigation efforts, deferral of job-creating capital projects and a variety of scenarios which may affect services, including pandemic response.
The City of Toronto has worked well with the provincial and federal governments throughout the pandemic. In total, the City has benefited from almost $2.8 billion in intergovernmental COVID-19 relief funding, including support for public health, since the start of the pandemic. The City has also worked to implement more than $1.1 billion in savings and efficiencies in 2020 and 2021.
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