Will new funding stop tax hike, cuts in services?

Toronto:  Ontario and the federal government are providing up to $4 billion in urgently needed one-time assistance to Ontario’s 444 municipalities.

This has been an urgent demand of Durham Region and associate municipalities. If no funding was forthcoming, they had threatened a major hike in taxes and/or cuts in services to make up for the covid-related “shortfall” [see below].

According to an Ontario government statement, this funding is precisely for that reason.

“This will help local governments maintain the critical services people rely on every day, including public transit, over the next six to eight months. Details on specific allocations will be provided in the coming weeks. This funding is part of the province’s made-in-Ontario plan for renewal, growth and economic recovery,” said the statement.

“By working together, we have united the country in the face of the immense challenges brought on by Covid-19 and secured a historic deal with the federal government to ensure a strong recovery for Ontario and for Canada,” said Premier Doug Ford. “I want to thank Ontario’s 444 local leaders who supported us through our negotiations with the federal government and through each stage of reopening. We will continue to be a champion for our municipal partners as they safely reopen their communities and ensure people can get back to work.”

Premier Ford worked collaboratively with municipal partners, fellow Premiers, Prime Minister Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Freeland to reach this historic agreement, which includes $777 million from the federal government and $1.22 billion from the province in support for municipalities. Ontario will continue to work closely with its municipal partners to ensure this funding provides the support they need to address budget shortfalls related to Covid-19.

Support for transit operators

A deal for public transit funding was also secured as part of the federal-provincial agreement. Up to $2 billion will be shared equally between Ontario and the federal government. Transit operators that have seen steep declines in revenues will receive the support they need to help address the financial impacts of Covid-19 and continue their operations in a safe manner.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario has invested about $350 million to support municipalities and social service providers such as shelters and food banks, as well as individuals receiving social assistance and those who are ineligible to receive federal support.
  • Ontario invested $100 million to support extraordinary public health costs incurred in responding to the Covid-19 outbreak and in protecting Ontarians.
  • Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ontario government has worked with municipalities to provide them with the tools and supports they need, including enabling them to hold virtual council and local board meetings during emergencies and temporarily extending expiring development charge bylaws to ensure they could continue to collect this vital source of revenue.

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Are major tax hikes or cuts to services coming?

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