Toronto to receive $1.2B in provincial funding

By Michael Ranger

A major financial boost is coming to Toronto and other Ontario cities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark made several funding announcements for municipalities on Wednesday.

The funding will serve several different areas, including transit and housing, and will total $1.2 billion for the City of Toronto, when included with the $669 million already provided in previous transfers from the province.

Toronto was looking at a $1.8 billion deficit heading into 2021. By law, cities are not able to run deficits the way that provincial and federal governments can.

Mayor John Tory was on hand for the announcement and once it was made, he returned to city hall to share the news in a virtual city council meeting.

“Based on all of the calculations that we’ve done, it means that we’re kept whole and balance our operating budget in 2020 in the face of what was a huge shortfall,” said Tory. “It gives us a start on some of our budgetary problems for 2021.”

The province also announced the second phase of the provinces “Safe Restart” funding program.

Clark says the province will be allocating an additional $396 million to the 48 municipalities in the province that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

“Today I am proud to announce that we are helping to ensure that every single municipality in Ontario is entering 2021 without an operating deficit from 2020,” says Clark.

Cities across the province have had major financial setbacks this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brampton, Mississauga and Ottawa are among the other municipalities that will receive funding from the province.

Clark says funds are being given to cities “who have demonstrated a need for additional assistance to cover those 2020 operating pressure.”

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