Mayors and chairs from across Ontario, represented by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the Mayors and Regional Chairs of Ontario, and the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, issued a call for action on the COVID-19 financial emergency.
Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham echoed the sentiments expressed by Ontario municipalities by saying, “We need immediate provincial and federal support to cover lost revenue and additional costs caused by the COVID-19 crisis.”
“Residents are counting on us to keep taxes affordable while providing the services they need and expect. Municipal services are also key to safely re-opening the economy.”
This call for action by Ontario municipalities is part of a national effort, led by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, to secure at least $10 billion dollars in emergency relief for Canadian municipalities to be funded 100 per cent by the federal and provincial governments.
Municipalities across Ontario have been on the front lines of keeping people safe during COVID-19.
This has meant hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs and lost revenues.
The FCM proposal would provide approximately $4 billion to Ontario municipalities to offset lost transit revenues and added service costs, but so far, there has been no clear signal on the timing and level of a joint federal-provincial financial assistance program.
Additional sources of funding being made available to Canada’s cash strapped municipalities are a “top of mind” for CAO Rob Taylor and his staff, as was reported by the Advocate here.
“The federal government announced $14 billion in funding recently to provinces and the territories. Some of that money is for municipal core service delivery and recovery,” Taylor stated. “The city is pushing for a continuation of reliable funding from the provincial and federal government moving forward.”
Without this additional funding, municipalities will be facing a daunting task according to Taylor. Staff is monitoring the city’s finances on a weekly basis.