Safe Restart Agreement will deliver up to $4 billion to municipalities and transit projects

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The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is providing up to $4 billion in one-time assistance to Ontario’s 444 municipalities.

The cash injection will help local governments maintain critical services including public transit, over the next six to eight months. Details on specific allocations will be provided in the coming weeks.

The announcement was made Monday by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation.

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“By working together, we have united the country in the face of the immense challenges brought on by COVID-19 and secured a historic deal with the federal government to ensure a strong recovery for Ontario and for Canada,” said Premier Ford.

“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. 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.”

All levels of government worked together to reach an historic agreement that includes $777 million from the federal government and $1.22 billion from the province in support for municipalities. Ontario will continue to work closely with its municipal partners to ensure this funding provides the support they need to address budget shortfalls related to COVID-19.

“Ontario’s municipalities are the backbone of our province,” said Minister Clark. “Our government is committed to working hand in hand with our municipal partners to help them emerge stronger and enable them to lead economic recovery in every community. And the funding we are announcing today will play a critical role in that.”

Up to $2 billion will be shared equally between Ontario and the federal government. Transit operators that have seen steep declines in revenues will receive the support they need to help address the financial impacts of COVID-19 and continue their operations in a safe manner.

“Ontario municipalities told us they are dealing with a $4 billion shortfall as a result of COVID-19,” said Minister Phillips. “Failing to act could result in cuts to services and higher taxes. That’s why 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.”

Public transit funding was also secured as part of the federal-provincial agreement. Up to $2 billion will be shared equally between Ontario and the federal government. Transit operators that have seen steep declines in revenues will receive the support they need to help address the financial impacts of COVID-19 and continue their operations in a safe manner.

“Transit operators across Ontario have done an incredible job ensuring that people who need to get around, including our frontline workers, have safe and reliable transit service during the outbreak,” said Minister Mulroney. “This funding will help ensure transit services continue to be there so people can get where they need to go as our province reopens and people return to work.”

The Safe Restart Agreement will help ensure a strong and safe recovery for Ontario through investments in testing, contact tracing and data management; health care capacity and mental health; protecting vulnerable populations, including people experiencing homelessness and seniors in long-term care facilities; securing personal protective equipment (PPE); child care for returning workers; and support for municipalities and public transit systems.

Ontario has invested about $350 million to support municipalities and social service providers such as shelters and food banks, as well as individuals receiving social assistance and those who are ineligible to receive federal support.

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