Safe Restart Agreement 2.0 needed to keep projects on track
By Nadia Todorova
I was proud to be involved in Mayor John Tory’s State of the City speech on Jan. 12 at the Empire Club of Canada.
The virtual event was co-sponsored by RCCAO and I had the pleasure of introducing the mayor who has been steadfast in helping Toronto residents and businesses with crucial supports and services to get through these challenging times.
The mayor’s remarks during the event focused mainly on the work that Toronto has done over the last year fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and what’s in store for the city in 2021. In his address, he pointed out that municipalities, including the City of Toronto, will need more support in 2021 and he called on the federal and provincial governments to secure a Safe Restart Agreement 2.0.
“Such an agreement will be fundamental to our ability to recover and restart with strength,” Mayor Tory said in his remarks “Canada’s cities, its economic engines, need some further investment in 2021 and that investment will pay big dividends to all of Canada.”
The mayor stated that a renewed Safe Restart Agreement will provide the support necessary to keep much-needed capital projects on track. If the city has a significant shortfall because there is no safe restart support from the other governments, he warned that Toronto will have no choice but to cut back up to $860 million of capital spending, which affects jobs, economic activity and keeping the city in good repair.
As the mayor noted, Toronto is still facing major budget impacts into 2021 from COVID-19 and all three governments should now be seriously dedicating themselves to discussions on a Safe Restart Agreement 2.0, given the length of time it took to reach an agreement in 2020.
Mayor Tory has consistently prioritized investments toward transit and other key projects, which reflects his deep understanding of the importance of infrastructure to the city’s economy and its economic competitiveness.
This was clearly reflected in his tireless work in securing the Safe Restart Agreement in 2020. The funding came at a crucial time for municipalities across Ontario, whose budgets were so gravely impacted by the pandemic. It was key in helping municipalities begin to put their financial houses in order.
RCCAO applauds the strong relationships that Mayor Tory has cultivated with the federal and provincial governments as they have been crucial in facilitating a collaborative and productive partnership.
As we look to the future, we have every confidence that Mayor Tory will continue to guide Toronto through the pandemic and remain focused on the city’s economic recovery and ensuring it remains a world-class, diverse city that is a hub of innovation and bustling leader in construction activity.
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