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Ontario's big city mayors join call for emergency municipal funding

Ontario's big city mayors join call for emergency municipal funding

Posted in: News Item

Date Posted: 2020-04-29

Organization Name: Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario

The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), which is comprised of the province’s 29 largest cities and represents almost 70 percent of Ontario’s population, has joined the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in its request for emergency funding for municipalities from the Government of Canada.

In a meeting held via teleconference, LUMCO mayors and chief administrative officers identified the financial pressures associated with providing critical services while suffering unprecedented revenue losses as an emerging crisis for municipalities, which are unable to run budgetary deficits and have limited revenue generating tools. Just one example is the more than $70 million in lost revenue to date for transit services that serve LUMCO municipalities. Without fiscal relief from other levels of government, municipalities will be forced to reduce services.

“Ontarians rely on municipalities to continue to provide essential services like police, emergency services, and the delivery of clean drinking water,” said LUMCO Chair and Mayor of Guelph, Cam Guthrie. “On behalf of Ontario’s big city mayors and in solidarity with municipalities across Canada, I implore the federal government to take significant and immediate action to assist municipalities facing unparalleled financial hardship during this period of great uncertainty.”

LUMCO members also welcomed Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, to this morning’s meeting to thank him for what Ontario has already done, further evaluate the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact to municipal budgets and discuss the need for provincial support for municipalities.

“Minister Clark demonstrated that he understands the fiscal challenges municipalities are facing,” Guthrie said. “He affirmed that all three levels of government need to work hand-in-hand to navigate this crisis together, and LUMCO mayors couldn’t agree more.”

LUMCO passed a resolution stating that Ontario’s big-city mayors are united in their position that running deficits as a way to manage municipal financial challenges resulting from the pandemic is not in the public interest.

“Deficits are not the answer,” Guthrie said. “The solution is to deal with these financial problems today and not push fiscal challenges to future years. That’s why we need better tools in the toolbox, such as emergency operating funding, to keep critical services running.”