TORONTO – The Ontario government announced further details of a $4 billion municipal and transit funding program for municipalities that are facing shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province announced the program for Ontario’s 444 municipalities on July 27th. The program will provide $2 billion for municipal transit, paid 50/50 by the Ontario and federal governments – and $2 billion to municipalities. The federal contribution to that portion of the program is $777 million. Both funding amounts were agreed to under the $19 billion national Safe Restart Agreement between provincial and territorial governments, and the federal government.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had the backs of our municipalities,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This first round of funding will address the most urgent needs of our communities, ensuring critical services like transit and shelters are there when people need them most.”
“This new funding will provide municipalities with the support they need to protect the health and well-being of the people of Ontario, while continuing to deliver critical public services,” added Jim McDonell, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing during the August 12th press conference.
Locally, a total of $6,898,352 will flow to municipalities in the region. Nearly three-quarters of that funding will go to the City of Cornwall and SDG Counties. The remaining amount is split between the six lower-tier municipalities.
Cornwall will get $3,373,652, of which $687,352 is specifically for transit. SDG Counties will get $1,762,300.
South Dundas will get $299,600, which is the third-highest amount out of the six lower-tiered municipalities.
“Thank you to the government for helping municipalities,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds. “Kudos to Premier Ford and the ministers for getting that money from the Feds and trickling it down to us.”
Byvelds said that South Dundas has not completed a significant review of the costs to the municipality relating to COVID-19 yet.
“Going forward, we’re looking at operations, the over-and-above costs we’ve had so far,” he said. “Recreation is going to be one of the biggest challenges this winter with the Morrisburg Arena. Receiving this money means, at least, we have something to work with as costs occur.”
Other municipal allocations include: South Glengarry $360,200, South Stormont $338,500, North Glengarry $295,200, North Dundas $292,200, and North Stormont $176,700.
The funds are to help offset the costs relating to local response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is the first phase of funding provided by the provincial government. A second phase is set to be released based on demonstrated need by municipalities.