Toronto Mayor John Tory, in a letter to federal party leaders, calls for a further cash injection for the city to cover COVID-related losses, funding for affordable housing and a “more robust mental health system.”
Tory outlined his wish list in a letter he emailed to Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party leader Annamie Paul and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
The need for investment in transportation infrastructure and housing affordability was echoed by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who also sent her own open letter to federal leaders this week.
In the letter, Tory outlined five key priorities for the City of Toronto, including: more than $1.5 billion in ongoing funding for COVID-19 relief through the remainder of 2021 and the whole of 2022, support for people who are homeless, investment in the city’s public transportation system, the creation of a “more robust” mental health system, and advocacy for the federal government to fulfill its pledge to fund community violence prevention programs.
Tory said federal support had been crucial in helping Toronto respond to the health crisis early in the pandemic, but despite that support and the city’s own cost-cutting measures, the finances were “major impact”. This was mainly due to the loss of passengers on public transport and “extraordinary” effects on the reception system, he said.
“The pandemic is not over and it is clear that the financial impact on the city of Toronto will continue into 2022,” Tory said.
He signed the letter asking “how can we make some of these partnerships sustainable in the long run” as “the current system makes it very difficult for the largest municipalities in the country, such as Toronto, to effectively address these major challenges. to grab.”
He said continued support from the federal government was “critical to Toronto’s continued success”.
‘We cannot pave our way to prosperity’
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie sent a similar open letter to all federal party leaders this week, telling them that Mississauga’s needs are centered on investment in local and regional transportation infrastructure due to the city’s rapid growth, continued support for COVID devastated businesses and housing affordability.
“We continue to face increasing challenges and pressures to provide services to our residents — the same people we all serve,” Crombie said.
The mayor said investment is needed to build and maintain public facilities, transportation infrastructure and other communal spaces, saying, “We cannot pave our way to prosperity.”
She said significant investments were needed in local and regional transportation systems to “break the blockages and congestion,” including the need for all-day, two-way service on the Mississauga GO Transit corridors, restoring the Hurontario LRT loop in the center and rapid transit projects along the Dundas and Lakeshore corridors.
When asking for further support for businesses hit by the pandemic, Crombie said 66,000 jobs were lost in the city at the peak of the outbreak, and continued assistance is needed, especially in the hardest hit sectors such as small businesses, space travel, tourism, art, and culture.
Finally, Crombie called on the government to address housing affordability as house prices continued to rise.
“Mississauga needs a committed federal government partner to provide consistent, predictable, immediate and long-term funding so we can continue to build Mississauga into a world-class city,” she said.