GTA

Toronto losing ‘an awful lot of money’ due to COVID-19, updating financial situation Friday

Toronto mayor John Tory says he’ll provide an update on the city’s precarious financial situation at Friday afternoon’s COVID-19 briefing.

The novel coronavirus and restrictions to slow its spread have wreaked havoc Canada’s economy, and Tory said the city’s own books have not been spared.

“It’s not good,” he said on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.

The city estimates it has been losing around $65 million per week during the crisis, including a $20 million drop in TTC fares.

“As you go on, week after week after week, that adds up to an awful lot of money,” he said.

“We’re going to have to take a look at our expenses and I’m not ruling anything out at this stage.”

To avert major changes, Tory has been calling on higher levels of government to assist the city as it weathers the ongoing pandemic and prepares for a gradual reopening.

As a municipal government, Toronto is not permitted to operate under a deficit, meaning the city may be forced to cut services, lay off staff or raise taxes to make up for lost revenue.

Tory says those scenarios could be averted if the provincial and federal governments provide emergency funding to help Toronto and other municipal governments continue operating without making dramatic cuts or hiking taxes.

Additional funding, he said, could allow Toronto to maintain “much needed services on the ground for people and not bring in what would be nonsensical large tax increases.”

Toronto health officials are also expected to provide updated figures on the spread of the disease Friday afternoon.

There are currently 2,881 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto and 147 deaths attributed to the COVID-19.

Of the active cases, 230 patients are being treated in hospital, with 88 of them in intensive care units.

CBC

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