The TTC is about to get a major boost in funding from the provincial and federal governments, thanks to a joint partnership that aims to help Ontario municipalities get through COVID-19-related financial challenges.
Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday that the first round of $1.6 billion in funding will begin rolling out to municipalities across the province, and Toronto will receive over $400 million for the city’s transit system.
The funding is coming from the Safe Restart Agreement, a joint partnership between the provincial and federal governments which will deliver $4 billion in total of urgently needed, one-time assistance to provincial municipalities.
Through the partnership, $695 million will help municipalities address operating pressures related to the COVID-19 pandemic through the first round of emergency funding, and over $660 million will support transit systems. The province is also providing an additional $212 million through the Social Services Relief Fund to help vulnerable people find shelter.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had the backs of our municipalities, which is why we are announcing up to $1.6 billion in critical funding today to help strengthen our communities and safely restart our economy,” said 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.”
Ontario’s 444 municipalities will receive the $695 million in Phase 1 funding this fall; it will help address municipal operating pressures related to the pandemic. The funding will be allocated on a per household basis and will be shared 50/50 between upper- and lower-tier municipalities.
Up to $695 million in additional funding will be available through Phase 2 to eligible municipalities, after said regions have provided the province with information on their estimated COVID-19 related financial pressures.
“Here in Ontario, this funding will allow municipalities to offer critical public services, like public transportation and shelters, while they help protect against potential future waves of the virus,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Building a stronger and more resilient economy that works for everyone starts with keeping Canadians safe and healthy. Together, we will build on the progress we’ve made, and put Canadians first as we gradually and safely restart our economy.”
This comes as it was estimated that the TTC will be short $700 million by the end of the year. So, while this is a significant contribution to the looming deficit, there’s still a long way to go.