Municipalities in Ontario generally fared well financially during COVID because of unprecedented financial support from the federal and provincial governments. Hamilton in particular actually posted surpluses as a result of the additional support. However, heading into 2022, there is uncertainty about what senior government support will be available, in particular in the area of public transit. The biggest source of municipal government shortfalls has been the devastating affect the Pandemic has brought to the public transit sector. In the case of Hamilton transit ridership dropped almost in half—from 22 million passengers to less than 12 million.
The Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area issued a statement saying they will be advocating for continued support from the provincial and federal governments into 2022. “As we all look ahead to our 2022 municipal budgets, we are forecasting challenges similar to 2021 caused by the pandemic, including in particular reduced transit ridership. The continued financial support of the other governments is more crucial than ever in allowing us to continue this work.”
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger and many of the GTHA Mayors are participating this week in the Big City Mayors Caucus meeting in Ottawa with federal counterparts and are raising the need for continued support which benefitted all residents and businesses over the last 18 months of the pandemic.