July 27, 2020

$4 Billion Announced for Ontario Municipal Governments and Transit: Safe Restart Agreement

Premier Doug Ford, at today’s news conference, announced broad details about the federal-provincial funding agreement for Ontario municipal governments in Ontario. The Province, in partnership with the federal government, under the Safe Restart Agreement will be providing up to $4 billion in one-time emergency assistance to all of Ontario’s 444 municipalities aimed at maintaining critical services, including public transit over the next 6 to 8 months.

In April, AMO began its support of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ call for emergency federal funding. Today’s announcement delivers on the requested $4 billion for Ontario municipal governments and demonstrates that senior orders of government recognize that financially sustainable municipalities will play an essential role in restarting and rebuilding the Ontario economy.
 
“Premier Ford has announced that there will be up to $4 billion in federal and provincial funding for municipal operations and transit, which have had to shoulder significant costs related to the management of COVID-19,” said AMO president Jamie McGarvey.  “It’s an important investment in communities in every part of our province and in Ontario’s economic recovery.”

Funding for Operating Municipal Relief

This funding announcement includes a $777 million contribution from the federal government and $1.22 billion from the Province. The provincial amount includes the previously announced $350M social services and $100M public health funding. This investment amounts to $2 billion directly supporting municipalities and addressing operating shortfalls and relief related to COVID-19.
 
Specific allocations for this $2 billion in funding will be made in the weeks ahead.  Minister Clark noted that the Province will be engaging AMO and City of Toronto in the next few days.

Funding for Transit

A funding deal for public transit was reached as part of the federal-provincial agreement.  It was announced that up to $2 billion will be shared equally between the Province and federal government. This funding will assist transit operators address revenue losses and help maintain operations in a safe manner as the economy restarts and begins its recovery.

After many months of advocacy and partnership, AMO is proud of the role we played along with our many partners to advance the interests of the municipal sector, and the people and families, and public and private enterprises that comprise our communities. Today is another positive step toward a strong and safe economic recovery throughout the province that recognizes the critical need for municipal operations and transit for communities for local economies.
 
Premier Ford expressed his gratitude for the support of local leaders:
 
“I want to thank Ontario’s 444 local leaders who supported us through our negotiations with the federal government and through each stage of reopening.  We will continue to be a champion for our municipal partners as they safely reopen their communities and ensure people can get back to work.”
 
On Friday, July 24th AMO President Jamie McGarvey wrote to the Premier thanking him for advocating on behalf of municipal governments in the negotiations for the national Safe Restart Agreement.  Premier Ford, Minister Clark, and other provincial ministers have been strong partners with municipal leaders throughout the COVID-19 emergency as well as before.  
 
AMO will provide an update to members when more detailed allocation information is available.

Provincial Emergency Declaration Ended

The COVID-19 declared provincial emergency came to an end on July 24.  On July 21, 2020, Bill 195, Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 received Royal Assent. This new Act was proclaimed on July 24, 2020.
 
The Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) provides the Province with flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak once the declared provincial emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) ends.  It provides that:
  • Emergency orders in effect under the EMCPA, as of July 24, are continued under the ROA for an initial 30 days.
  • The Lieutenant Governor in Council may further extend these orders under the ROA for up to 30 days at a time.
  • The Lieutenant Governor in Council may amend certain orders continued under the ROA if the amendment relates to:
    • labour redeployment or workplace and management rules;
    • closure of places and spaces or regulation of how businesses and establishments can be open to provide goods or services in a safe manner;
    • compliance with public health advice; or,
    • rules related to gatherings and organized public events.
 The ROA does not allow new orders to be created.

New Provincial Orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act
Rural Economic Development (RED) program announcement:

On Thursday July 23rd, the Province announced $3.3 million of cost-shared funding would be awarded to 58 successful projects across Ontario for the first intake of the updated Rural Economic Development (RED) program.

ROMA and AMO have long supported this program as an important part of addressing rural economic development challenges.  Investments in rural economies has a lasting and positive economic impact for those communities and their residents. 

The timing of this announcement was reflected by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman, who noted that "As the economy reopens, our investments in the Rural Economic Development program will have a very real impact for communities across rural Ontario.”
 
AMO’s COVID-19 Resources page is being updated continually so you can find critical information in one place.  Please send any of your municipally related pandemic questions to covid19@amo.on.ca.