May 27, 2019 – Ontario’s big-city mayors are applauding Premier Doug Ford’s announcement that funding for public health, ambulance services, and daycare will be maintained this year, giving cities time to work with the Province on next steps.
This responds to a key request of the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), which met with Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark on Friday. LUMCO mayors said that while they understand the Province’s fiscal challenges and want to be a partner in addressing them, funding cuts cannot be accommodated after municipal budgets have already been passed.
“On behalf of Ontario’s big-city mayors, I want to thank the Premier and Minister Clark for listening to our concerns and responding. I also want to thank LUMCO mayors across Ontario for being a unified voice on this issue,” said LUMCO Chair and Mayor of Guelph, Cam Guthrie. “We have said all along that we support the Province’s efforts to gets its budget deficit and debt under control, but we need more runway and more details. We look forward to working with the Province in the weeks and months ahead to continue to find efficiencies, without jeopardizing core municipal services.”
At Friday’s meeting, LUMCO mayors told Minister Clark that absorbing millions of dollars worth of funding cuts after municipal budgets had already been approved would force cities to consider increasing taxes or fees, cutting services, raiding reserves, or deferring infrastructure and capital projects. Unlike the provincial government, municipalities are required by law to balance their budgets annually and cannot run a deficit.
“There is no doubt that any provincial funding cuts will still cause municipal Councils to make some tough decisions. But at least now we have the time to come to the table with the Province and figure out how to do this in a way that best protects our local residents and the services they depend on,” said Mayor Guthrie.
For more information:
Mayor Cam Guthrie, City of Guelph, Chair of LUMCO
Mayor Jeff Lehman, City of Barrie, Vice-Chair of LUMCO
The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) includes mayors of 28 single and lower-tier cities with a population of 100,000 or more, amounting to 67% of Ontario’s population. LUMCO advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.