The City: “Government of Canada must honour their funding commitment to Toronto”

TORONTO – The City wants to cash in: due to a budget deficit totaling nearly $1 billion, Toronto has in fact invited residents and businesses to urge the Canadian government to “pay back previous funding commitments for the City”. 

In a press release, City officials said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had made a “personal commitment” to help Toronto during the pandemic. The federal government should, therefore, come to the table with a funding of 235 million dollars to compensate for Toronto’s 2022 losses due to Covid-19. But the federal government itself has given no indication of the money’s arrival.

The appeal to Torontonians was published on a new page of the City’s website (which can be opened by clicking on the “Stand Up for Toronto!” link on the home page of the website) which offers citizens the opportunity to send an automatic email to contact “your” MP: “Write to your Member of Parliament and urge the Government of Canada to honour their funding commitment to Toronto” is the text of the appeal.

“We are standing up for Toronto, Canada’s economic engine, and we are calling on residents to join us in this fight” Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (in the pic above, from Twitter – @McKelvieTO) said in a press release. “The City of Toronto does not have the resources or income tools to address the unprecedented financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need the Government of Canada to deliver on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise”.

The advocacy campaign was approved by the City Council on December 14th. If the 2022 budget deficit is not addressed, major construction projects, along with other vital city services, will need to be scaled back. The city is also facing a $933 million shortfall in its 2023 budget due to costs incurred in fighting Covid-19.

One of the more visible short-term consequences is confirmation, just today, that this year’s Canada Day celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square have been canceled due to “resource constraints”. A City representative said preparations were being made for the celebrations, including the recruitment of volunteers and information sessions, but the rallies in front of City Hall would not be held due to insufficient resources. Other Canada Day-related events in the city will also take place, including fireworks at Ashbridge’s Bay and preliminary activities in the week leading up to July 1st.