March 24, 2021 – The Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) caucus is pleased to see today’s provincial budget invest in Ontarians, Ontario businesses and Ontario municipalities. Provincial and federal support has been essential to ensuring Ontarians continue to receive the day-to-day services they rely on, as Ontario’s municipalities have faced significant losses in revenue since the beginning of the pandemic.
During the budget consultation process, OBCM urged Ontario to provide continued support to the municipal sector, resources to support the vaccination roll-out, increased supports to small businesses and support for municipal mental health and housing initiatives.
OBCM extends sincere thanks to Minister Bethlenfalvy, Minister Clark, and Premier Ford for preparing a budget that recognizes the needs of municipalities and small businesses. In particular, we would like to thank the government for the additional $1 billion in COVID-29 relief funding to municipalities.
The support to small businesses through a second round of Small Business Support Grant Payments and the Digital Main Street Program will help strengthen our small business community.
“Ontario’s municipalities are grateful the province has tabled a budget that recognizes the need for ongoing fiscal support. OBCM is eager to continue working closely with the province to address the long-term effects of the pandemic on municipal revenues and joins the province in its call for additional support from the federal government,” said Jeff Lehman OBCM Chair and Mayor of Barrie. “COVID-19 has brought all levels of government together to support our communities through this pandemic. We must maintain that resolve and commitment to collaboration as we work to end the pandemic.”
A closer look at municipal supports within the 2021 Provincial Budget:
- The province is providing an additional $1 billion in COVID-19 relief funding to municipalities to help preserve vital public services and support economic recovery
- OBCM will work with the province to ensure this amount covers the municipal gap in 2021, given municipal balanced budget requirements.
Municipal Support to accelerate the vaccination plan
- Ontario has made $1 billion available to implement a provincial vaccination plan.
- Ontario’s cities will continue supporting the vaccination efforts until all Ontarians are vaccinated.
Investing in local businesses
- The province is initiating a second round of Small Business Support Program Grants and providing an additional $10 million in funding to the Digital Main Street Program.
- The province is also providing an additional $400 million over the next three years to support Ontario’s tourism, hospitality and culture industries.
Support municipal mental health and housing initiatives
- The province is providing an additional $175 million in supports for people struggling with mental health and addictions.
- The province is providing an additional $255 million in funding to municipal service managers and Indigenous program partners to respond to rising COVID-19 cases in shelters.
- Additional funds are also being made available for the Transitional Housing Support Program and the Adult Protective Service Worker program.
- OBCM is working to identify ideas to support provincial mental health and housing initiatives.
About Ontario’s Big City Mayors
Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), formerly known as the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, includes mayors of 29 single and lower-tier cities with a population of 100,000 or more, who collectively represent nearly 70 per cent of Ontario’s population. OBCM advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.
Mayor Jeff Lehman, Chair