Ford pledges more support for Ontario’s vulnerable

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, speak to reporters at Queens Park in Toronto, July 2, 2020. Image provided CPAC/YouTube.

The Ontario government has promised additional support of programs that protect vulnerable populations from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his daily news briefing Thursday afternoon at Queens Park, Premier Doug Ford announced a plan to add $150 million to Ontario’s Social Services Relief Fund. This investment more than doubles the amount that is already being funnelled to municipalities for social service programs, as well as administrators of programs geared toward Indigenous people.

“No one should have to worry about having a roof over their head,” said Ford. “This funding will help municipalities renovate shelters, purchase new facilities, and prepare for emergencies. Above all, it will allow them to continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens and provide them with the care they deserve.”

The fund was created in mid-March with an initial pledge of $148 million, and the investment announced Thursday would increase it to $350 million. Ford added that the funding would also help with food and supplies, and create opportunities for long-term housing.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark said the funding works with support already promised by the federal government through its proposed Safe Restart Framework, and the money will address the concerns already intensified by the pandemic.

“We know that municipal and Indigenous partners are facing extraordinary challenges due to this global pandemic,” said Clark. “That’s why we continue to step up to provide financial support and other measures to help our local partners. This investment is another step our government is taking to protect our most vulnerable, but we know more needs to be done. We continue to work closely with our federal and municipal partners to ensure communities across Ontario have the support they need.”

Complete information on the province’s ongoing efforts to help vulnerable people, as well as the Indigenous population affected by the pandemic, is available on the government’s official website.