Mayor John Tory is once again calling on the province and Ottawa to update their Safe Restart Agreement as he looks toward recovery from the impact of COVID-19.
During his State of the City speech Tuesday at the Empire Club, the mayor stressed that more funding from the federal government and Queen’s Park is needed to help Toronto and other cities recover.
The mayor said without help from the Ford and Trudeau governments, Toronto will have to cut up to $860-million in capital spending.
In order to decrease the budget Tory said the city would have to cut services to the community, including services that help the city’s most vulnerable people, during the time when they need it the most.
Another option to make up that lost funding would be a tax increase, which the mayor said he is isn’t in favour of right now.
Toronto continues to be the largest hotspot of COVID-19 cases in the province.
Tory added that the only way Ontario and Canada can come back strong from the pandemic is with a strong Toronto.
“We’re not the whole country by any means, I understand that, but we represent such an important source of economic strength in this country that we need to be strong so that Canada can be strong,” he explained.
“Torontonians want that for the whole country as well as for their own city.”
Tory noted that people investing in Toronto now are investing in the city’s future but that isn’t enough.
“We have to be in a position to invest in our own future here, in the kind of infrastructure that will attract those people to come here to create jobs. It’s all part of the city’s good bones … that basic, solid foundation we’ve been steadily building on before the pandemic.”
Tory’s speech comes ahead of the city’s 2021 operating and capital budget launch on Thursday.