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Ontario Mayors United in Call for Immediate, Emergency Funding from Federal and Provincial Governments

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Mayors across Ontario are requesting immediate, emergency funding from federal and provincial governments to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

Time has run out. We need governments to act.

Municipalities are on the front lines of delivering essential services during the pandemic. We are key partners in any economic recovery through our infrastructure projects and community services.

Raising taxes, cutting services, depleting reserves and running deficits are not options. We need the federal and provincial governments to provide municipalities to provide immediate funding to allow us to continue to serve our residents.

Please see my full Statement from the Mayor: Statement from the Mayor – July 6 – Emergency Call for Municipal Financial Support

Earlier this morning (Monday, July 6), I joined fellow mayors in the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), Mayors and Regional Chairs of Ontario (MARCO),  and Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) Mayors and Chairs, as well as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to unify our voices in our ask to our upper levels of government for immediate municipal COVID-19 relief funding.

LUMCO, MARCO and the GTHA Mayors unanimously approved to release a joint statement today (Joint statement from AMO LUMCO MARCO_July 6 2020) that I have included below:

Ontario Mayors and Chairs issue emergency call for financial support

Municipalities face difficult choices: major tax hikes and cuts to services

July 6, 2020 – Today, Mayors and Chairs from across Ontario, represented by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Mayors and Regional Chairs of Ontario, and the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, met to discuss the COVID-19 financial emergency.

Ontario municipalities are speaking with one voice to deliver one important message: Our residents cannot wait any longer. To protect municipal services, we need immediate provincial and federal support to cover lost revenue and additional costs caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

This call for action by Ontario municipalities is part of a national effort, led by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, to secure at least $10 billion dollars in emergency relief for Canadian municipalities to be funded 100% by the federal and provincial governments.

Municipalities across Ontario have been on the frontlines of keeping people safe during COVID-19. This has meant hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs and lost revenues. The FCM proposal would provide approximately $4 billion to Ontario municipalities to offset lost transit revenues and added service costs, but so far, there has been no clear signal on the timing and level of a joint federal-provincial financial assistance program.

Time for a commitment is running out. Now, halfway through the budget year, municipalities have no choice but to consider plans to balance the budget by raising property taxes, user fees and charges or cutting services.

Difficult conversations about cost-saving service reductions are taking place at Council meetings across the province, including:

  • supports to children, families and seniors;
  • reducing or cancelling transit services;
  • staffing adjustments including layoffs and delaying or cancelling hiring;
  • reducing essential services including public health, fire, paramedic and police services;
  • closing parks and cultural sites and cancelling recreation programs;
  • slower land use planning reviews and development approvals, and
  • cancelling or deferring critical infrastructure and affordable housing projects, costing construction jobs.

By acting now to confirm relief for municipalities, senior governments can avoid these unforeseen property tax increases and destructive cuts to frontline municipal services. Cuts or property tax increases will unfairly hurt the very same people that the federal and provincial governments have spent billions helping during the pandemic.

Municipal services are also key to safely re-opening the economy. Investing in municipalities will ensure they continue to provide services needed to help restart their local economies.

We truly appreciate the commitments that both Premier Ford and Prime Minister Trudeau have already made to support municipal service delivery during this crisis. The millions of Ontarians we collectively serve are counting on all governments to work together now to address this urgent problem.

Our residents need support now. The time is up for federal-provincial wrangling about how to share the costs. We strongly encourage the federal government to address this in their fiscal update this week.

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PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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