A freshly announced $19 billion in funding for lower-tier government recovery is welcome news to the head of a big city mayor’s group, so long as it is spent wisely.
“ In providing this emergency funding, which includes operating support for municipalities, the provincial and federal governments have demonstrated that they understand the fiscal realities we face as a result of this extraordinarily challenging public health crisis,” said Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) Chair and Mayor of Guelph Cam Guthrie. “While we recognize that there is still work to be done, we are optimistic as we await further details about the terms of the safe restart agreement.”
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LUMCO was one of many mayors’ groups across Ontario that put out a call to both the federal and provincial governments to increase funding for struggling municipalities hit hard by the effects of the COVID pandemic. The call was for $10 billion nationally, with $4 billion to be devoted to Ontario municipalities.
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“Municipalities across Ontario have been on the frontlines of keeping people safe during COVID-19,” reads a statement from LUMCO. “This has meant hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs and lost revenues.”
On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a deal with the provinces and territories of Canada that would see Ottawa contribute $19 billion to support a “safe restart” of Canada’s economy. The funding contains provisions for municipalities, assisting them in mitigating the heavy impact COVID has had.