Ontario government gives municipalities $17.4M Christmas gift to help avert pandemic deficits

Christmas gift $17.4 million Ontario gives municipalities $17.4 million to help avert year-end pandemic deficits

Niagara Region, and its 12 local municipalities, will receive $17,437,000 from the provincial government to help avert local government operating deficits.

The discretionary funding – that the government called “Safe Restart Agreement funding” – will be used to offset operating costs for critical services and help ensure that the 13 municipal governments in Niagara do not carry an operating deficit into 2021.

“This funding will provide our community with the support it needs to continue delivering critical services that we all rely on every day,” said Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff.

The funds will help the regional government and local municipalities in Niagara “develop 2021 budgets that reflect the realities of COVID-19 and give them the confidence they need to proceed with capital projects that will drive economic growth,” said Oosterhoff in a news release. 

The Niagara Region is receiving more than half of the funding at $9,184,000 in funds.

While the larger cities and the region will receive the lion’s share of the funding, but West Niagara communities will get significant allocations. Grimsby will get $137,000. Lincoln will get $1,084,000. West Lincoln has been allocated $66,000. Pelham will get $1,298,000. Wainfleet will get $39,000.

The part of the funding is allocated based on population and is a per capita allocation. Part of it is application based.

While Lincoln got $1,034,000, only $113,000 was based on population. The portion that amounts to $971,000 was based on an application for funding that the Town of Lincoln made.

$6.743 million of the funding the Niagara Region received was application-based.

In the case of Pelham, $1,212,000 was application-based and $86,000 was based on the town’s population size.

The full allocation amounts to the various municipalities is shown in the chart below.

Niagara Regional Jim Chair Bradley thanked the province and called the funding “critical”.
“On behalf of Regional Council, I want to formally thank the Province of Ontario for their recent COVID-19 related funding announcements. This critical and welcomed funding will provide both much needed financial relief for the numerous unexpected costs related to the pandemic, as well as a significant boost for our affordable housing and homelessness infrastructure in Niagara,” he said.

He said the funds will be used to offset the substantial pandemic-related costs incurred by the Region. “This is in addition to the $12.1 million that the Region received to help with costs incurred in 2020,” he said. “Niagara Region has sustained considerable expenditures related to the pandemic in areas such as our eight long-term care homes, public health, daycares, and EMS.”

The Ontario government is also allocating an additional $695 million across the province to provide financial relief for the province’s municipalities.

“This joint funding will help Ontario’s municipalities recover from the impacts of COVID-19 faster, by helping them to enter into 2021 without operating deficits from this year,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in the same provincial announcement.

Regional Municipality of Niagara*$9,184,000
Town of Fort Erie$191,000
Town of Grimsby$137,000
Town of Lincoln*$1,084,000
City of Niagara Falls*$2,047,000
Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake$105,000
Town of Pelham*$1,298,000
City of Port Colborne$125,000
City of St. Catharines*$2,774,000
City of Thorold$104,000
Township of Wainfleet$39,000
City of Welland$283,000
Township of West Lincoln$66,000
Allocation of funds from the Ontario government to Niagara Region and its local municipalities