Queen’s Park is giving municipalities across Ontario another $500 million to deal with the ongoing pressures brought about by the pandemic. The City of Barrie will receive over $3.5 million.
We heard from Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark on Thursday morning that the province’s 444 municipalities will share in a top-up of $500 million and that funding will be prioritized to help those municipalities hardest hit by the pandemic. The money will be allocated based on a few factors like the number of covid cases being reported in the community. Clark went on to call on Ottawa to follow suit. “Our municipalities have been clear that they need ongoing operating funding in 2021, and it’s important that we step up and provide more financial relief,” said Clark. “At the same time, we need the federal government to join us and provide our municipal partners with the additional support they deserve.”
The City of Barrie is set to receive $3,519,652 in funding through this initiative, while the County of Simcoe will see $3,866,447 come its way. “Municipalities are our frontline partners in fighting against the pandemic, protecting our communities, and providing essential services people rely upon each day,” said Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MPP Doug Downey. “This funding will help alleviate some of the challenges that our local municipalities have faced due to the pandemic.”
This funding is on top of nearly $1.4 billion in operating fundis already provided to municipalities through the joint federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement. “This additional $500 million for 2021 builds on a record of provincial government support under the 2020 Safe Restart Agreement and the life-saving Social Services Relief Fund,” said Graydon Smith, Mayor of Bracebridge and President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. “It will help offset the impact of COVID-19 on 2021 municipal budgets in every part of Ontario. By protecting the municipal services people and business rely on most, and preventing delays in capital projects, this funding is an important investment in Ontario’s economic recovery.”
It is expected the province will deliver an updated outlook on Ontario’s finances, including the amount of money earmarked to fight COVID-19 during its budget presentation no later than March 31, 2021.