Ontario to receive $7 billion out of $19 billion in federal pandemic funds

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OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the federal, provincial and territorial governments have come to an agreement that will see the federal government provide $19 billion in transfers to help continue to reopen the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $7 billion of this funding will be provided to Ontario.

Prime Minister Trudeau announced the funding in Ottawa last week, indicating the funding will go to seven priority areas, including testing, contact tracing and data management; health-care capacity and mental health services and addictions; vulnerable populations (including long-term care facilities); personal protective equipment; early learning and child care; municipal operations, with a proposed public transit element; and sick leave.

“Our towns and cities have been at the forefront of responding to COVID-19,” Prime Minister Trudeau told CTV News. “Cities must remain up and running if our economy is to eventually get back up and running. If cities aren’t equipped for a safe restart, people will not be safe.” 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was quoted by CTV News on July 16 as saying he applauded the agreement, thanking the federal government for the desperately needed funding.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) reported July 16, “this afternoon the federal government has announced at a news conference that it will deliver more than $19 billion for COVID-19 support through an agreement reached with the provinces and territories. This news builds on the previously announced Safe Restart Agreement by increasing the amount of federal support up from the original $14 billion.”

“Premier Ford announced that Ontario will receive its share of $7 billion as part of this agreement. The Premier believes this is a great deal and personally thanked Ontario’s 444 mayors for their unwavering support through these negotiations.”

The AMO release explains, “this financial support is set for a 6-8 month period with an indication that additional support will be forthcoming if the current emergency situation persists. 

“AMO is pleased that our strong call for financial relief was heard and that cooperation between the federal and provincial governments has resulted in today’s relief funding announcement,” the release continues. “This funding is intended to provide fiscal stabilization to enable Ontario’s municipal government to focus efforts on economic recovery and providing needed services to their communities. It is also intended to avoid the necessity of unmanageable tax increases, service costs and the deferral or cancellation of the capital projects that will promote economic recovery.”