'They didn't say no': Chow goes cap in hand to Ottawa in search of federal funds
Published Wednesday, September 27, 2023 7:42AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 27, 2023 7:15PM EDT
Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow emerged from a meeting with the federal government's Toronto caucus Wednesday buoyed by a "consensus" that more needed to be done to address the city's housing crisis.
"They didn't say no to working on a new deal together," Chow told CTV News outside the West Block Wednesday.
The mayor's campaign in the nation's capital comes on the heels of an admission from the province that Toronto faces a crippling structural deficit that will require a new financial framework.
- Download our app to get local alerts on your device
- Get the latest local updates right to your inbox
Premier Doug Ford pledged last week that his conservative government would engage in a working group that would examine a long-term solution for Toronto's fiscal crisis. Despite an early September council vote approving a slate of new revenue tools, the city faces a nearly $50 billion budget pressure over the next decade.
Chow and Ford have called on the federal government to partner in discussions, but Ottawa has thus far been unwilling to commit.
The mayor met with more than a dozen members of the Prime Minister's Toronto caucus Wednesday to make her pitch. The governing Liberals represent all but one of the city's federal ridings.
Chow was also scheduled to meet with Immigration Minister Marc Miller and Housing Minister Sean Fraser to ask for $250 million in federal money to support refugees who arrive in the city only to find the shelter system full.
"Tonight, we would be turning away over 250 homeless people, half of them are refugees," Chow said. "We have a huge housing crisis. Churches are full, shelters are full, rents are unaffordable, and yet the government is sitting on a lot of money."
Chow is also slated to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland Friday. The working group tasked with outlining a financial fix for Toronto has given a November deadline.