TORONTO — Ontario says it is providing $695 million to municipalities to help cover pandemic-related costs.
The funding is part of a joint provincial-federal agreement reached earlier this year to help address pandemic expenses.
Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark says the new funding will ensure municipalities do not carry operating deficits into 2021.
Clark says the province is continuing talks with communities about pandemic costs that they will incur in the months ahead.
Last week, the province's Financial Accountability Officer said the pandemic will cost Ontario municipalities $6.8 billion over two years.
Peter Weltman also warned that while the joint federal-provincial restart agreement inked earlier this year provided $4 billion in relief, and municipalities will find some savings, a $2.4-billion shortfall exists for the coming year.
Ontario reported 2,139 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and 43 new deaths due to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said 780 cases were in Toronto, 528 in Peel Region, 148 in York Region, 143 in Durham, and 111 in Windsor-Essex.
In the province's long-term care homes, 728 residents currently have COVID-19 and 22 new deaths were reported Wednesday.
The province said 135 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.
It also reported 223 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 188 among students. Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 933 out of Ontario's 4,828 publicly funded schools.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec 16, 2020.
The Canadian Press