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Toronto Region Board of Trade applauds new deal between Province and City

A GO bus entering the Gardiner Expressway.

The following is a statement from Giles Gherson, President & CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade:

Today, the governments of Ontario and Toronto together took a big step forward in addressing Toronto’s fiscal crisis – an essential ingredient for building the stronger economy we need to drive the prosperity our residents want. 

Congratulations to Premier Ford, Mayor Chow and their teams for working together to create this ambitious and far-reaching budget package. The Board has highlighted the need to address this issue for some time, including as a centerpiece of our work during the recent Mayoral By-Election. 

The Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway are critical regional transportation links. Shifting responsibility for these highways to the province where they properly belong is the right thing to do and will free up about $200 million a year in maintenance and repair costs for city streets and other transportation infrastructure where it is urgently needed.  

Similarly, the Province’s willingness to provide over $100 million a year in transit operating funding for the new Eglinton West and Finch LRT line; significant one-time funding for transit safety and service improvements; plus $750 million in capital funding to replace aging trains on the vital east-west Bloor-Danforth subway line will all support a more reliable, expanded transit system that should help to ease the City’s chronic congestion.  

We are also pleased to see solutions being put in place to cover the costs of overburdened critical services such as shelters and affordable housing.  

It is important to note that this deal also breaks a 15-year log jam in modernizing Ontario Place, a crumbling venue with the promise of a major new attraction for residents and visitors on Toronto’s waterfront.  

With hundreds of millions of dollars in operating support over each of the next three years, this deal will eliminate a substantial part of Toronto’s yawning $1.6 billion budget crunch for this year, leaving a big piece left to fill. 

It was never realistic to suppose that restructuring Toronto’s complex finances to place the City on a long-term sustainable footing could be accomplished in a matter of weeks. That’s why even if this agreement contains substantial long-term relief, large parts of it are limited to a three-year deal to buy the time necessary to negotiate a permanent solution. Realistically, this will take time to hammer out, as it will need to include a better funding formula for federal and provincial services the City delivers and possibly new revenue sources. 

We are hopeful that New Deal discussions between the City, the Province – and soon – the federal government, will continue and ensure that all services and infrastructure, like housing, social and health services, are the financial responsibility of the government best positioned to deliver and fund them. 

About The Toronto Region Board of Trade

The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential business chambers in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic agenda. We pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.

Media Contact 

Jason Chapman, Manager, Communications & Media Relations

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