For the last several weeks, various advocacy groups have been making the case that Canada’s municipalities desperately need bailout money from upper levels of government to avoid service cuts at the end of the year. In an open letter sent to Guelph Politico from the President of the Guelph & District Labour Council, that group is adding their voices to the call.
Our community is facing a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the economy and local governments haven’t been spared. Municipal governments are an important economic force in our communities. They provide numerous vital services that we often take for granted such as water and sewage, utilities, transit, emergency services, libraries, community centres, garbage and recycling – and the list goes on.
COVID-19 is having a direct impact on the ability of local governments across Canada to deliver the services that we all rely on. Here in Ontario we’ve seen municipalities facing reduced revenues, forcing them to defer important projects and lay-off workers.
Municipalities need the assistance of the federal government in order to be able to continue providing these critical services and to avoid job loss in our communities. The Federation of Municipalities has asked for immediate action from the federal government to provide emergency funding to get through this crisis and the Guelph & District Labour Council supports this call to action.
We are requesting that the federal government deliver targeted emergency operating funds to all local governments in order that services can be maintained. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has proposed a model based on the federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) that includes funding for the general operation of municipalities and the maintenance of public transit and transportation.
The need is immediate and urgent. The Guelph & District Labour Council calls on the federal government to save our municipalities from financial distress by providing this much needed emergency assistance.
President, Guelph & District Labour Council