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Ontario announces $543 million funding deal for city of Ottawa, including taking over Hwy. 174

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The Ontario government and the City of Ottawa have reached a new deal to provide $543 million in operating and capital funding to Ottawa over 10 years, including uploading Highway 174 to the province.

Premier Doug Ford announced the deal while in Ottawa on Thursday, where he was a guest at the Mayor's Breakfast Series. 

"We're announcing a new deal for Ottawa that will help the city continue rebuilding the economy and deliver on key priorities including building highways and homes," Ford told guests at the Shaw Centre.

The Ontario government says the new funding deal "recognizes and invests in the city's unique needs as Canada's national capital and eastern Ontario's economic growth. The city and the province are calling on the federal government to provide millions of dollars in support, including $228 million for refugee and asylum-seeker support and $80 million for the Kanata North Transitway. 

The agreement includes a phased plan to "guide the upload of Ottawa Road 174 to the province," provincial support for the repair and upgrade of the city's major connecting routes and rural roads and opening a new Ottawa Police Service Neighbourhood Operations Centre in the Rideau Centre. The Ontario government also announced funding to build a new interchange at Hwy. 416 and Barnsdale Road.

“This historic new deal reflects our government’s dedication to the economic success of Ottawa and all of eastern Ontario,” Ford said in a statement.

"I want to thank Mayor Sutcliffe for working with us to reach an agreement that will help Ottawa continue rebuilding its economy and deliver on key priorities, including building homes and highways. Now it’s up to the federal government to step up with support for our national capital, particularly when it comes to funding infrastructure and supporting shelters and asylum claimants."

The province says Ontario is providing $197 million in provincial operating support over three years, and $346 million over 10 years in provincial capital support. The funding includes:

  • Maintenance and rehabilitation for Ottawa Road 174 while a three-stage phased assessment of potential provincial ownership of the road is underway.
  • Funding to help revitalize the downtown area, with dedicated funding to Invest Ottawa.
  • Funding to support public safety and address increased levels of crime, which have had an impact on city services.
  • Additional conditional funding for emergency shelters and homelessness prevention to address the needs of increasing levels of homelessness.
  • The repair and upgrade of major connecting routes and roads critical to keeping the people, goods and services of Ottawa moving.
  • Advancing design and construction of a new interchange at Highway 416 and Barnsdale Road to support population growth and development.
  • Funding for the Kanata North Transitway to support economic growth and recovery.
  • Support for housing- and community-enabling infrastructure through the Building Faster Fund, conditional on the city achieving at least 80 per cent of its housing targets.

Over the next three years, the city will receive $120 million for shelters and homelessness supports, $20 million to fuel economic recovery and downtown revitalization efforts and $48 million to "address community and public safety" including the new Rideau Centre police station.

Over the next 10 years, the city will receive $181 million for "various transportation priorities" including the new interchange on Highway 416 at Barnsdale Road and $118 million over three years conditional on Ottawa's progress towards its housing targets.

Ottawa Road 174 runs from the interchange with Highway 417 to the city of Ottawa's limits at Canaan Road. The Ontario government downloaded the road to the city of Ottawa in 1997.

Ottawa Road 174 runs from Highway 417 to Canaan Road in Ottawa's east end. (Google Maps)

"A few months ago, the premier and I began an important discussion about the unique challenges Ottawa faces," Sutcliffe said during the Mayor's Breakfast. "We are the capital of Canada and we're the second largest city in Ontario, and we face challenges that no other cities in the country faces."

Sutcliffe was in Toronto last month to meet with Ford and Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy. Ford said at the time they discussed the "many challenges that are unique to Ottawa."

The city and the province are also calling on the federal government to provide federal support on "shared priorities," including shelter supports for asylum claimants and infrastructure funding to support new housing.

The premier's visit comes two days after the Ontario government budget announced plans to build a new highway interchange in Ottawa's south end and funding for new schools.

The province will fund the long-promised interchange at Hwy. 416 and Barnsdale Road, which is seen as a key addition to get traffic moving in the growing community.

On Thursday night, Ford attended an event to celebrate MPP Lisa MacLeod's 18 years as a Member of Provincial Parliament, representing Nepean and Carleton.

Calls for federal funding

The Ontario government says the new deal for Ottawa requires significant federal involvement, including millions of dollars in federal supports. Here is a look at the requests for the federal government:

  • $228 million for refugee and asylum-seeker support, including an extension of the Interim Housing Assistance program and creation of a permanent newcomer reception centre and dedicated transitional housing units
  • $80 million in matching funding to advance the Kanata North Transitway
  • $67 million toward housing-enabling infrastructure so the City can support new housing
  • $60 million for Ottawa’s unique and excess costs arising from managing protests and demonstrations in the capital
  • $30 million to increase housing supply by converting office space into residential dwellings, should the federal government dispose of downtown properties
  • $16 million to help address homelessness through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy
  • $12 million annually reflecting the additional amount owed by the federal government for Payment-in-Lieu of Property Taxation, and a commitment to discuss a 10-year plan to provide stability for Ottawa given the federal government’s real estate presence.

Ford calls for federal workers to return to the office

As Ontario provides funding to help revitalize the downtown area, Ford called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to bring federal workers back to work more often.

"I know a lot of people love working at home and that's fine, but we need the federal government to get government workers back into the office. Even a few days," Ford said to a round of applause.

"What it does is it's a real massive boost to the transit ridership, it's huge, and the downtown economy. Without the people down there, the economy starts dying, the restaurants start hurting and everything else starts hurting. Hopefully, the prime minister will call people back to work."

The federal government has implemented a hybrid work policy.

According to the Treasury Board website, the hybrid work policy, "gives employees whose jobs can be done remotely the flexibility of working at home when appropriate and in an office when required."

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