Toronto's mayor has sent letters to the leaders of Canada's four major parties, telling them what the country's largest city needs from the federal government.
Mayor John Tory wrote to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Leader Annamie Paul on Thursday.
Tory outlined five key priorities for Toronto that he hopes the party leaders will address during the federal election campaign. Most of the issues are related to the city's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Despite the challenges we have faced, with these necessary partnerships, I am confident that Toronto will continue to be the driving engine of Canada's economy and our economic recovery," said Tory. "Toronto's success will be Canada's success."
Tory sent the letters on Thursday but they were released to the public the next day. He said in a news conference Thursday he would wait a day before making them widely available to allow the leaders, who are campaigning for the election on Sept. 20, to formulate a response.
All four letters highlighted the importance of continuing COVID-19 Operating Budget Relief Funding — a further $75 million for 2021 and between $702 million and $1.534 billion in 2022 to cover TTC ridership losses and extraordinary pressures on Toronto's shelter system among other things.
Tory said that funding would ideally involve a renewed federal-provincial partnership.
He also wrote that supporting Toronto's 24-month COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Recovery Plan was necessary as the city shifts from emergency shelters towards permanent supportive housing solutions.
Tory said that investing in Toronto's public transit system by committing to a funding partnership with the City and the Province was also important.
Contributing to the creation of a more robust mental-health system is also a priority. Tory says it has become even more necessary in light of the pandemic, including the needed supports to address homelessness and substance use.
Finally, Tory said that whoever is elected must following through with the previous government's commitment to fund community violence prevention programs, and providing $26.2 million over five years for programming to support local communities and prevent crime in Toronto
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 20, 2021.
The Canadian Press