The City remains in a state of emergency due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. City services are fully engaged in responding to the emergency, resuming services safely and preparing for a potential second wave of the virus. City Council today received an update about the impact on the City’s finances, including a plan to eliminate this year’s COVID-related deficit.
The City has a proven record of sound financial management, but the revenue losses and unplanned costs due to the pandemic have added significant budget pressures. As a result of COVID-19, projections show that the City will run a $192-million deficit this year. To close this year’s deficit gap, the City will reduce operating expenses, leverage reserve funds and adjust capital spending to maintain services and respond to evolving community needs. While these one-time solutions address our deficit this year, they put pressure on City finances in future years.
Given the limited financial options available to municipalities, the City will require funding from the federal and provincial governments to support needed infrastructure investments, transit and operating pressures. Mayor Jim Watson, on behalf of the City, has requested funding through the Big City Mayors’ Caucus, the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. The City is also actively working with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on their requests for emergency operating funding.