Mississauga faces significant deficit, needs tough decision – Mayor
Shady Salah – Media in Toronto
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said on Wednesday that the city will be facing a significant deficit, which could reach 100 million dollars, because of the COVID-19 crisis. “Like all Canadian municipalities Mississauga will be facing a significant deficit, depending on how long distancing measures are in place. We know that to the end of June, we’ll have a $60 million deficit. And this puts us in a very tight spot financially,” Mayor Crombie said at her press conference along with Dr. Lawrence Loh, who is the medical officer of health at the region Peel, Fire Chief Tim Beckett, the leader of Emergency Operations Centre team, Gary Kent, Commissioner of Corporate Services and Mohammed Fakih, president and CEO of Paramount Fine Foods.
“We will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward. The reality is, unlike the feds or the province municipalities are not legally permitted to run deficits. We get 60% of our funding from the property tax. The other money comes from revenues from our transit and recreation and transit of course is reduced right now, and recreational facilities are closed. My message is clear cities do not have the revenue tools or the fiscal firepower to get through this on our own. I’m calling on both the federal and provincial governments to help us weather the storm. By providing relief for municipalities in the coming months, both the federal and the Ontario government have done tremendous work to date to respond to the pandemic. And I really want to thank them for their efforts. I’ve spoken to hundreds of residents, businesses, and community organisations, they are behind us, and they will work with us as we move forward towards recovery. Much of that planning is already underway.”
Responding to a question from MEDIAinTORNOTO, regarding the possibility of calling on the foreign and international-trained doctors to join forces amid the fight against the COVID-19, the Mayor said “physicians that have to approve all new doctors, doctors in the province and I would hope that many are in the process of doing so I know that many long medical students have been co-opted so that they too can assist in our efforts, whether it’s analysing test results or existing in hospitals.”
For his part, Dr. Loh said “this is actually an area that we are actively looking at public health and I also know is being actively discussed at the provincial level, public health, Ontario just recently issued a notice that they are, they are putting together, volunteer services that can assist public health units, both in terms of case and contract management as well as administrative tasks around provincial databases and entry. I imagine that as the response to COVID-19 progresses, the need for additional support so will grow and I really do think a centralised all of province approach is probably the best way to ensure that skilled volunteers such as international medical graduates are appropriately on boarded and brought in to support the response.”