Yesterday, the Province of Ontario announced an additional $695 million in financial relief for municipalities across Ontario, to ensure municipal operating deficits are not carried into 2021.  This investment builds on Phase 1 of the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement announced this past summer.

Since the arrival of the pandemic, the federal and provincial governments have worked collaboratively with municipalities to address the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Through dialogue with cabinet members from the early days of the pandemic, to at times weekly meetings with area MP’s and MPP’s, together, inter-governmental partners were able to tackle both the policy and fiscal challenges associated with serving our community.  This much needed Safe Restart funding from our federal and provincial partners has allowed us to recoup COVID-19 related costs, replace lost recreational revenues, support residents with programs like deferred taxes and utility payments, offer new pandemic related support programs and more.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, all orders of government have been working together and meeting regularly to ensure we can provide the support Canadians need,” said Mayor of Kitchener, Berry Vrbanovic. “Yesterday’s Provincial funding announcement demonstrates that Canadians benefit when governments work together. On behalf of the City of Kitchener, I would like to thank our federal and provincial partners for the Phase 1 Safe Restart funding earlier this year, as well as today’s additional Provincial funding.  In particular, I would like to thank our local Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Parliament for working with us and advocating for us in both Ottawa and Queen’s Park.”

Along with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and its Big City Mayors’ Caucus, the Association of Municipalities Ontario, and Ontario’s Big City Mayors, the City of Kitchener and other municipalities have been vocal about the potential negative impacts that municipal deficits would have on the delivery of capital projects and front-line services our residents rely on during COVID-19.

“The $5.9 million in Phase 1 funding covered about half of our projected 2020 operating deficit, which we greatly appreciated.  But even with Phase 1 funding, we were still faced with significant financial shortfalls which would have long-term negative impacts to delivering services to the community and completing capital projects,” said Chair of the Finance and Corporate Services Committee, Councillor Scott Davey. “This additional Provincial funding of $9.634 million will cover all of our 2020 deficit and allow us to go into an uncertain 2021 in a more sound financial position.  This allows us to proceed with planned capital projects, which in turn helps keep our local economy to move forward, and allows us to continue to provide critical services to our residents.”

Without Phase 1 funding and today’s additional funding, the City would be challenged with some very tough decisions regarding service reductions or significant tax rate increases down the road. 

“This additional funding is welcomed news and will help address operating impacts in 2020 and some of the financial pressures anticipated in 2021. It certainly takes some of the pressure off as we approach the end of a very challenging year,” said Kitchener’s Chief Financial Officer, Jonathan Lautenbach.


For more information please contact:

Paul Grivicic, Chief of Staff
City of Kitchener


Bethany Rowland, Director of Corporate Communications & Marketing
City of Kitchener