Premier of Ontario Will Not Say If Province Will Cover $ 1.35 Billion Deficit Against Toronto


TORONTO – Ontario Premier Doug Ford says municipalities will not have to wait long to find out what their share of the billions of dollars in federal funding announced Thursday will be. The Liberal government has declared that it will provide provinces and territories with $ 19 billion in funding to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, with at least some of that money going to municipalities. and public transit service providers facing significant operational deficits.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Kitchener on Friday afternoon, Ford said his government was “crossing the Ts and strewing Is” on the allocation of money in this moment and hope to “roll it over the next week. ”

He did not directly answer a question about whether Toronto would receive enough money to cover the entire $ 1.35 billion deficit it expected by the end of 2020, but it said his government would do everything possible to “cover as much” as possible. deficits faced by Ontario’s 444 cities and towns.

“I want to work with the city of Toronto. These are the big white elephants in the 444 room (cities and towns) and I understand that, “he said, noting that the losses suffered by the TTC alone make the challenges of Toronto particularly acute. “But everyone needs money. We will distribute it equally and make sure that the people who need it get the money. ”

Ford has previously indicated that Ontario will receive approximately $ 7 billion from the federal government, but that the money also needs to be spent on a number of other areas, including expanding testing and contact tracing and acquisition of personal protective equipment.

For his part, Tory said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the city would get enough money to avoid major cuts, but he also said it would be “premature to declare victory” without “reading the small characters”.

On Friday, Ford credited city officials for finding more than $ 500 million in savings in the Toronto budget and reduced the projected deficit from $ 1.9 billion to $ 1.35 billion.

He said that even if it would be “dazed” for a municipality to suggest that it cannot make savings in its budget, the financial challenges facing the municipal level in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic are very real.

In Toronto, the TTC alone faces budget pressure of $ 700 million, mainly due to the decline in the number of users during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city also expects to lose $ 249.2 million in budgeted municipal transfer tax revenue in 2020 due to the housing slowdown that accompanied the pandemic.

“We have to work together,” said Ford. “We will do everything we can to cover as much as possible in all areas and I just want to thank the municipalities that have been careful budget managers.”


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