WELLAND – Jeff Burch MPP (Niagara Centre), the Official Opposition NDP’s critic for Municipal Affairs, has issued a statement following the federal government’s announcement of a Safe Restart agreement which includes targeted funding for municipalities:
“The funding in this agreement is a necessary first step to address the ongoing financial crisis facing Ontario’s municipalities. $2 billion in federal funding allows municipalities to keep their head above water in the short-term but falls far short of what is needed to ensure municipalities can lead the economic recovery effort, including providing child care spaces, protecting vulnerable populations, and supporting local public health units to contain outbreaks and prepare for a potential second wave.
Municipalities across this province are facing multimillion-dollar shortfalls, even while they cut services and staff to the bone. Toronto alone is projecting a $1.3-billion shortfall. Mississauga is facing $107 million in direct COVID-19 pressures, with a projected deficit of $60.7 million.
Doug Ford must use this opportunity to step up with a fiscal commitment to support municipalities that will be critical if they are to avoid tax hikes, more lay-offs and deep cuts to essential local services. We are still in the dark about how the Ford government will play their part in saving municipalities. A short-term fix from the federal government will not be nearly enough.
Local governments need more than a band-aid from the federal government, they need life support from their province.”