Queen’s Park giving municipalities an additional $500M to offset COVID-19 costs

Ontario’s pandemic-ravaged municipalities are getting an injection of $500 million from Queen’s Park to help with their operating costs.Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said Thursday that the provincial government understands that “the need is real and it is urgent.”“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.In an unusual move, the money is being allocated based on a combination of the number of COVID-19 cases in a municipality’s local public health unit and Municipal Property Assessment Corporation household data.To that end, the city of Toronto will receive $164 million — or about one-third of all of the funding — with Peel Region getting $24.6 million on top of the city of Mississauga’s $20 million and the city of Brampton’s $14.6 million.Those areas have been the hardest hit in the pandemic that began one year ago next week and has killed more than 7,000 Ontarians.York Region gets $21.1 million — along with $9 million for Markham, $8.3 million for Vaughan, and $5.6 million for Richmond Hill — while the city of Ottawa will be allocated $33.4 million.Durham Region receives $7.8 million on top of $3.2 million for Oshawa, $2.2 million for Whitby, and $1.9 million for Ajax.Halton Region gets $5.3 million atop $2.9 million for Oakville.The city of Hamilton will be allocated $18.7 million. All of Ontario’s 444 municipalities are in line for the funding, said Clark, himself a former mayor of Brockville.“We know our municipal partners are on the front lines of this (pandemic) effort, providing the critical services people depend on every day,” he said, urging the federal government to pony up with more aid for struggling cities and towns.But Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy conceded some of the new funding does come from Ottawa’s coffers through the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement.Still, Bethlenfalvy, who will table a budget later this month, said he would “encourage our federal partners to step forward with additional investments as all three governments work together to protect people’s health and jobs.”Graydon Smith, president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, stressed that Ottawa and Queen’s Park are working well with local councils.“We’ve been encouraged by the remarkable collaboration of all orders of government,” said Smith, the mayor of Bracebridge, whose tiny municipality will get $354,000.“This additional $500 million for 2021 ... will help offset the impact of COVID-19 on 2021 municipal budgets in every part of Ontario,” he said.“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.”Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Queen’s Park giving municipalities an additional $500M to offset COVID-19 costs

Ontario’s pandemic-ravaged municipalities are getting an injection of $500 million from Queen’s Park to help with their operating costs.

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said Thursday that the provincial government understands that “the need is real and it is urgent.”

“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.

In an unusual move, the money is being allocated based on a combination of the number of COVID-19 cases in a municipality’s local public health unit and Municipal Property Assessment Corporation household data.

To that end, the city of Toronto will receive $164 million — or about one-third of all of the funding — with Peel Region getting $24.6 million on top of the city of Mississauga’s $20 million and the city of Brampton’s $14.6 million.

Those areas have been the hardest hit in the pandemic that began one year ago next week and has killed more than 7,000 Ontarians.

York Region gets $21.1 million — along with $9 million for Markham, $8.3 million for Vaughan, and $5.6 million for Richmond Hill — while the city of Ottawa will be allocated $33.4 million.

Durham Region receives $7.8 million on top of $3.2 million for Oshawa, $2.2 million for Whitby, and $1.9 million for Ajax.

Halton Region gets $5.3 million atop $2.9 million for Oakville.

The city of Hamilton will be allocated $18.7 million.

All of Ontario’s 444 municipalities are in line for the funding, said Clark, himself a former mayor of Brockville.

“We know our municipal partners are on the front lines of this (pandemic) effort, providing the critical services people depend on every day,” he said, urging the federal government to pony up with more aid for struggling cities and towns.

But Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy conceded some of the new funding does come from Ottawa’s coffers through the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement.

Still, Bethlenfalvy, who will table a budget later this month, said he would “encourage our federal partners to step forward with additional investments as all three governments work together to protect people’s health and jobs.”

Graydon Smith, president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, stressed that Ottawa and Queen’s Park are working well with local councils.

“We’ve been encouraged by the remarkable collaboration of all orders of government,” said Smith, the mayor of Bracebridge, whose tiny municipality will get $354,000.

“This additional $500 million for 2021 ... will help offset the impact of COVID-19 on 2021 municipal budgets in every part of Ontario,” he said.

“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.”

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Source : Toronto Star More