Statement from Greator Toronto and Hamilton Area Mayors and Chairs

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Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott speaks as Federal Minister of Health Patty Hajdu and Toronto Mayor John Tory listen at a news conference on Covid-19 in Toronto on Tuesday February 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

“Today, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area Mayors and Chairs met to discuss the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mayors and Chairs remain united in confronting this virus in our communities and making sure we do everything we can to help residents and businesses get through this emergency.

This group is also united in its advocacy to the federal and provincial governments for municipalities to be supported when it comes to the costs of confronting COVID-19 in our communities and the need to properly restart our economies.

We are encouraged that the provincial and federal governments have begun discussions about supporting municipalities, but we need them to follow through with a financial commitment to municipalities as soon as possible. In all municipalities and regions, major service reductions will result if we do not receive support from the federal and provincial governments very soon.

While we all want the reopening and restart of our provincial economy to happen as quickly as it is safe to do so, the Mayors and Chairs agreed that we all must proceed cautiously towards the next phase.

We are committed to working with the Province and public health units across Ontario to help shape Phase 2, and ensure it works for local communities, based on local public health conditions, and to ensure to the greatest extent possible that rules and regulations are consistent across the region.

We welcome the Province’s commitment to increasing COVID 19 testing including a much more comprehensive approach. We all want to see much more testing in the coming weeks so it can help guide our public health officials as we continue to both keep people healthy and recover the economy of our region.

While we support encouraging our residents to get tested, it is crucial that prior to the planned implementation of the strategy, local input is sought and received from hospitals, laboratories and local public health with respect to available capacity, including proper funding, to ensure the success of a provincial campaign to increase testing.”

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