Municipalities in the Province of Ontario will get billions in COVID-19 relief funding, the province recently announced.

Premier Doug Ford announced $4 billion in funding at a news conference along with members of his cabinet. This announcement follows a July 16 $19-billion agreement between the federal government and provinces to help with COVID-19 economic recovery.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips said that up to $2 billion ($1.2 billion from Ontario and $777 million from the federal government) would be to “relieve municipal operating pressures”.

Another $2 billion, to be paid in an even split by the Ontario and federal governments, would go to aid transit specifically, Phillips added.

Brampton as well as the rest of the Region of Peel, has indicated that it faces COVID-19 related deficits reaching into tens of millions of dollars. Toronto’s deficit, largely driven by transit revenue decline, is naturally the largest in the province at $1.35 billion.

In Ontario, municipalities can’t legally carry a deficit and must balance their books, so the assistance from the province and the federal government will help municipalities avoid huge property tax increases, among other potential problems.

There are no specific details at this time how this will be divided up. According to a subsequent release from the province, more information about how the money would be distributed to Ontario’s more than 400 municipalities will be provided in coming weeks.

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