Winnipeg estimates another $27M needed to deal with pandemic impacts

CTV News file image of Winnipeg City Hall. (Zachary Kitchen/CTV News)

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have an economic impact on the City of Winnipeg, with the city now saying it needs to budget about $88 million to deal with the financial effects of the pandemic.

On Monday, the city announced it is forecasting a projected deficit in the tax-supported operating budget of $12.7 million as of March 31, 2021.

The city noted that as part of its budget, it allocated $61.2 million for COVID-19-related impacts. However, as of March 31, the city estimates another $26.9 million will be needed for further pandemic-related financial impacts.

Winnipeg Transit is forecasting a $13.9 million deficit for the year, as the ridership levels for 2021 are averaging about 60 per cent below normal levels.

In a news release, Coun. Scott Gillingham, chair of the standing policy committee on finance, said the city adjusted its budget in anticipation of the challenges related to the pandemic, but the “prolonged state of COVID-19 in our community is causing even greater impacts to the budget.”

“It will be important for the City to maintain prudent fiscal management throughout 2021 as we continue to address COVID-19,” he said.

The City of Winnipeg’s first-quarter financial status and forecast report will be presented at the standing policy committee on finance’s meeting on June 11.