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GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to successful restart and reopening

HAMILTON, ON - The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area municipalities have been on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and are ready to support the successful restart and reopening of the economy.

As the remaining GTHA municipalities move to Stage 2 this week, we will all be focused on supporting more businesses to open safely and successfully and on the opening of more municipal services that we know our residents need.

We trust as we move forward into Stage 2 together and on to future stages that the province will continue to work closely with local Medical Officers of Health and to demonstrate sensitivity to possibly differing regional realities.

The increased demand on municipalities and our services comes while we are still experiencing unprecedented costs responding to COVID-19 and significant revenue losses due to the continuing pandemic.

“GTHA municipalities continue to take extraordinary measures to support residents through the pandemic while experiencing record declines in revenues. We require additional emergency operating funding to keep frontline services going strong, and to be ready to drive Canada's economic recovery. The federal and provincial governments have done a great job so far. I am optimistic that they will not miss this opportunity to strike an agreement to provide the emergency funding municipalities need to help us through this pandemic.”

- Mayor Fred Eisenberger

We understand discussions are underway between the federal government and the provincial government to come to an agreement to meaningfully address the financial challenge municipalities are facing. We support this process but we hope it is resolved with a positive outcome as quickly as possible.

Beginning as early as this week, municipalities in the GTHA will begin making budgetary decisions for 2020 and 2021. With final property tax bills for 2020 having been sent out, that leaves the prospect of in-year service cuts as a very real possibility if assistance is not forthcoming quickly.

Today, the Mayors and Chairs agreed to continue their advocacy with their local MPs and MPPs. We are committed to supporting them as they advocate within their governments for helping GTHA municipalities and cities and towns across Ontario.

The future of Ontario and Canada's economy will rely on a safe and successful restart process across the entire GTHA. We have cooperated well with the province on the reopening so far and we hope that will continue, along with the emphasis on a regional approach, as we move forward.