Province and feds pledging just under $4-billion for municipalities and public transit

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Province and feds pledging just under $4-billion for municipalities and public transit's Profile



The province says it’s working with the federal government to provide just under $4-billion for its municipalities as they tackle the pandemic’s economic effects.

Monday’s announcement means the municipalities will be sharing a $1.22-billion fund from the province and an additional $777-million from the feds.

As well, the two governments will each cover half of a $2-billion fund for public transit services.

The province is calling this the “Safe Restart Agreement.”  The aim is to help governments and transit services continue operating over the next six to eight months.

It is not clear how much money will be allocated to Durham Region.  The province says it will provide more details “in the coming weeks.”

“Ontario municipalities told us they are dealing with a $4 billion dollar shortfall as a result of COVID-19,” says Finance Minister Rod Phillips in a statement.  “Failing to act could result in cuts to services and higher taxes.  That’s why, under Premier Ford’s leadership, Ontario was a strong advocate at the negotiating table to ensure municipalities and transit systems were supported as part of the Safe Restart Agreement.  This is a historic level of support that’s being provided during unprecedented times.”

“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,” adds Premier Doug Ford in the same statement.  “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.”

The province says the Safe Restart Agreement will also put more money into COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, health care, support for vulnerable people, PPE and child care.  However, it is not clear how this money will be split.

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