July 27, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, announced up to $4 billion in assistance for Ontario municipalities facing revenue shortfalls and increased costs due to COVID-19. Today’s announcement represents a portion of the $19 billion in COVID-19 relief funding provided to Canada’s provinces by the federal government.
Premier Ford and Minister Clark were joined by Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, and Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford provided a COVID-19 update and took questions from media regarding the ongoing provincial response to the pandemic.
Safe Restart Agreement to Support Municipalities and Transit
This afternoon, Premier Ford and Minister Clark announced up to $4 billion in COVID-19 relief funding for Ontario’s 444 municipalities through the Safe Restart Agreement. This funding, which includes up to $2 billion earmarked specifically for public transportation, will help local governments maintain the critical services they provide residents over the next six to eight months.
The $4 billion in relief funding is broken down as follows:
- $777 million from the federal government and $1.22 billion from the provincial government to assist Ontario municipalities in addressing budget shortfalls related to COVID-19;
- Up to $2 billion to assist transit operators in addressing the financial impacts of COVID-19 and to enable the continued operation of public transit in a safe manner. This amount will be cost-shared equally between Ontario and the federal government.
Details on specific allocations will be provided over the coming weeks. According to Minister Clark, the total amount includes a combination of application-based social service funding as well as funding which will be distributed to municipalities on a per-household basis.
The Safe Restart Agreement also includes investments in testing, contact tracing and data management, health care capacity and mental health, protecting vulnerable populations, securing personal protective equipment (PPE) and child care for returning workers.
Questions from Media – COVID-19 Response
Update on Regions in Stage Two
When asked about Wednesday’s planned update on the three regions remaining in stage two – Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex – Minister Elliott responded that Ontario public health professionals continue to evaluate the COVID-19 trends in these three regions. A decision regarding whether any of these regions will be permitted to move into stage three will be made on Tuesday evening.
Minister Elliott added that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, will take into account the risk of an outbreak posed by recent events such as large parties when determining whether a region will be permitted to move into stage three.