Province, City Reach Historic Agreement

With Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe on one side of him, and local MPPs including Goldie Ghamari and Lisa MacLeod his other side, Ontario Premier Doug Ford addressed the large crowd at the Mayor’s Breakfast at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa Thurs., March 28.

The Premier announced that the Government of Ontario and the City of Ottawa have reached a new deal that recognizes and invests in the city’s unique needs as Canada’s national capital and eastern Ontario’s economic hub, helping ensure the city’s sustainable, long-term growth and prosperity. 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, designing and building a new interchange at Highway 416 and Barnsdale Road, and improving public safety by opening a new police neighbourhood operations centre in the ByWard Market area.

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

Ontario and Ottawa are calling on the federal government to step up with support that recognizes its responsibility to the national capital and helps restore public transit ridership while revitalizing Ottawa’s downtown economy.

“This is a big win for Ottawa,” said Mayor Mark Sutcliffe. “These investments will relieve significant budget pressures for the city and will help us to deliver better services to our residents. It’s also an example of what happens when elected officials do what the voters expect them to do: work together to solve problems and build better, safer, more affordable communities. I want to thank Premier Ford and Minister Bethlenfalvy for being great partners and for understanding the unique challenges that Ottawa faces.”

In recognition of the unique economic and social challenges faced by the City of Ottawa, which has had a slower rebound from the effects of the pandemic and is an economic and social service hub for people across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, Ontario is providing up to $543 million in operating and capital funding tailored to fuelling Ottawa’s economic recovery and accelerating revitalization of the downtown core. Funding will further support upgrading and building essential road and highway infrastructure to support the local economy and drivers across Ottawa’s large suburban and rural footprint.

The agreement includes up to $197 million over three years in provincial operating supports and up to $346 million over 10 years in provincial capital supports, including:

  • 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.

In addition to financial supports, Ontario commits to working with Ottawa to explore opportunities to fund and build more infrastructure, including through the Building Ontario Fund and policy changes to assist the city in removing barriers to getting more homes built faster.

The City of Ottawa has made a number of reciprocal commitments to Ontario, including opening up municipal lands for housing development to support shared housing priorities, ensuring Ottawa meets and exceeds its housing targets, strengthening the city’s vacant home tax, implementing efficiency measures that minimize the property tax burden on Ottawa’s people and businesses and facilitating the development of a long-term care home at The Ottawa Hospital.

Together, Ontario and Ottawa are calling on the Government of Canada to provide federal support on shared priorities, including shelter supports for asylum claimants, infrastructure funding to support new housing, and support for Ottawa’s unique and excess costs arising from managing protests and demonstrations in the capital.

“Today’s agreement is about building up and bringing back Ottawa’s vitality and growing its local economy,” said Minister of Finance Peter Bethlanfalvy. “By working together, we’ll ensure sustainable growth for our iconic nation’s capital, while continuing to make life better and more affordable for the people and businesses who call Ottawa home.”

In addition, as the largest employer in the city, Ontario and Ottawa ask the federal government to do its part to help revitalize the downtown economy. The federal government has an important responsibility to revive Ottawa’s downtown and ensure the city’s unique character and attractions continue making the nation’s capital a tourism destination for Canadians and international visitors.

Through an extensive range of municipal funding supports, including the newly announced $1.8 billion for housing-enabling infrastructure, the Building Faster Fund and the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, the province is supporting all of Ontario’s 444 municipalities to deliver valuable services for growing communities.

“We need all levels of government to step up to support our communities and build the infrastructure and housing needed to support the growth we’re seeing,” said Paul Calandra, Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The City of Ottawa has shown that it is removing obstacles and finding ways to get more shovels in the ground to build much-needed homes faster. However, it is critical that the federal government also provides desperately needed funding to help support the construction of homes and build stronger communities.”

Ottawa is geographically four times larger than Toronto, encompassing interconnected urban, suburban and rural areas. The city is an important interprovincial gateway to Quebec and Eastern Canada and is uniquely reliant on the public administration sector.

“As the largest city in eastern Ontario, Ottawa plays a significant role in our province’s economic ecosystem,” said Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Today’s agreement will aid in revitalizing the city’s longstanding history as a prosperous tourist hub and key jurisdiction for the advancement and adoption of critical technologies. As our province continues to foster resiliency and stability, this partnership between the Government of Ontario and the City of Ottawa will play a pivotal role in attracting strategic investments and the creation of good-paying jobs within the nation’s capital.”