The provincial government announced that this fall, Ontario’s 444 municipalities will receive up to $1.6 billion in the first round of emergency funding as part of the Safe Restart Agreement. The federal government announced the Safe Restart Agreement in July, which is a $19 billion plan devised to lead Canada towards economic recovery.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had the backs of our municipalities,” stated Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “The first round of funding will address the most urgent needs of our communities, ensuring critical services like transit and shelter are there when people need them most.”
Of the amount that will be invested in Ontario, $695 million will go towards addressing operating pressures related to COVID-19. The money will be allocated on a “per household basis,” and will be shared 50-50 between upper and lower-tier municipalities. Brampton is classified as a lower-tier municipality, and the city will be receiving $10.9 million.
$660 million will go towards the transit systems of 110 municipalities in Ontario, including Brampton. The funding is to be used to combat low ridership and the unforeseen costs associated with COVID-19, such as enhanced cleaning and masks for staff. $24 million will be invested in the Brampton transit system.
The remaining $212 million will be provided through the Social Services Relief Fund and will go to municipal service managers and Indigenous housing partners. The money will help those vulnerable to COVID-19, which includes the protection of homeless shelter staff and residents, expansion of rent support, and development of long-term housing solutions. Brampton will not be receiving this portion of the funding.
The funding distributed to each eligible municipality in Phase 2 will depend on their reported financial pressures related to COVID-19 after the first phase. If needed, the federal government will invest up to a total of $4 billion to support Ontario’s municipalities through the Safe Restart Agreement.