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Toronto urges residents to push Ottawa to fill city funding gap

TORONTO — The City of Toronto is urging residents to call on the federal government to provide $235 million to help cover a massive pandemic-related budget shortfall.

In a written statement today, the city says the federal government had committed to match provincial funding to cover expenses largely related to reduced transit revenues and increased shelter costs during the pandemic.

Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie says the city is now asking residents to contact their local MPs – by sending an email the city has provided a template for – to demand Ottawa support Toronto. 

McKelvie says Toronto does not have the resources to address the unprecedented financial pressures caused by COVID-19 and needs Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to follow through on his 2021 election campaign promise to help the city through the pandemic.

The city budget that was approved by council in February was balanced on the assumption the provincial and federal governments would come up with a combined $933 million to bail out the city.

Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in late March that Toronto had received “massive support” from Ottawa throughout the pandemic, including $1 billion as part of a program to help municipalities recover lost revenue.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press