The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is asking the federal government for up to $10 billion in emergency operating funding to help its members cover revenue losses due to the COVID19 pandemic.
“From turning arenas into safe shelters to deferring property taxes, municipal leaders are working flat-out to support Canadians through this pandemic,” said FCM President Bill Karsten. “But with new expenses, staggering drops in revenue and no freedom to run deficits, municipalities need emergency funding to keep essential services going strong.”
The group estimates municipalities will face a minimum $10-15 billion in non-recoverable losses due to the pandemic. This includes lost property taxes, utility charges, and user fees including an estimated $400 million/month on transit. The Town of Milton has offered taxpayers a 90 day deferral on property taxes, and has placed memberships on hold.
The FCM is advocating for a package of at least $10 billion. The funding will break down to $7.6 billion in direct funding for municipalities plus $2.4 for those with transit system. “We’re all in this together, and our municipal-federal partnership can help carry Canadians through this crisis- and be ready when the time comes to drive the economic recovery they’ll be counting on,” Karsten said.
Ontario’s Big City Mayors Echo Calls for More Funding
The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) is siding with the FCM on a call for more funding. Their decision was made on a conference call April 28.
“On behalf of Ontario’s big city mayors and in solidarity with municipalities across Canada, I implore the federal government to take significant and immediate action to assist municipalities facing unparalleled financial hardship during this period of great uncertainty,” Guelph Mayor, and Caucus Chair Cam Guthrie said. LUMCO represents 29 Ontario municipalities including Milton, Guelph, Burlington, Oakville, Brampton and Mississauga.
The Town of Milton faces a shortfall of $14 million in lost revenue according to a recent report presented at the April 14, 2020 Special Council meeting.