Chair Bradley offered the following statement in recognition of the recent provincial funding announcements benefiting Niagara Region:
"On behalf of Regional Council, I want to formally thank the Province of Ontario for their recent COVID-19 related funding announcements. This critical and welcomed funding will provide both much needed financial relief for the numerous unexpected costs related to the pandemic, as well as a significant boost for our affordable housing and homelessness infrastructure in Niagara.
As part of phase 2 of the provincial Safe Restart Agreement program, Niagara Region received $9.184 million that will be used to offset the substantial pandemic-related costs experienced in the Region going into 2021. This is in addition to the $12.1 million that the Region received to help with costs incurred in 2020. Niagara Region has sustained considerable expenditures related to the pandemic in areas such as our eight long-term care homes, public health, daycares and EMS.
Also announced last week was an additional $4.068 million in funding made available to the Region as part of the provincial Social Services Relief Fund. Staff are currently hard at work exploring options to use these monies to strengthen our investments in the local stock of housing to combat the effects of homelessness in our region. COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on social services across Niagara, and it revealed several weaknesses in the system. This funding will go a long way in starting to address the shortfalls in our housing strategy.
I want to thank Premier Ford and Minister Clark for acknowledging the important role that municipalities play across the province in the delivery of critical programs and services for the people of Ontario. These COVID-19 funding announcements, made possible in part through funding from the Federal Government, demonstrate the productive partnership that continues to exist between the Province of Ontario, Government of Canada and Regional Municipality of Niagara."