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Ontario will provide up to $97 million to support FIFA World Cup in Toronto

Ontario has tentatively committed $97 million to host the FIFA World Cup and is asking for the federal government to match it.

Toronto and Vancouver have been selected to co-host the 2026 games, along with locations in the United States and Mexico.

The funds were confirmed in a letter from Ontario’s deputy minister, Sarah Harrison, which was provided to The Epoch Times from the premier’s office.

“I can confirm that the Government of Ontario has conditionally committed up to $97 million to support Toronto’s efforts to host the FIFA World Cup 2026,” Ms. Harrison wrote in the December 2023 letter.

“The province’s support is subject to internal approvals as well as Ontario’s agreement to the terms of a negotiated multiparty agreement and agreement to the terms of a transfer payment agreement between Ontario and the City of Toronto,” she said.

“It is also conditional on the federal government matching the commitment and being responsible for any costs resulting from a federal determination of safety and security needs.”

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The money would be used for community infrastructure projects and would not be permitted “where the primary beneficiary is a private, for-profit, or otherwise non-public entity,” Ms Harrison said.

Ontario said the City of Toronto should limit investment into the event due to its “budgetary challenges.”

Premier Doug Ford indicated his support for FIFA at a press conference on Feb. 4 in Toronto.

“This is great for our community. We have 120 nationalities, 200 languages spoken. And out of those 120 nationalities, soccer is probably the number one sport or up there, number 1 or 2 in a lot of these communities,” Mr. Ford said.

“We’re going to have a great time. We’re going to host the world here, and what better place? We’re an economic leader in North America, and we’re thriving right now. We’re going to continue to thrive and show the rest of the world what an incredible place Toronto, GTA, and Ontario is.”

The funding details come after the City of Toronto announced it is considering a 10.5 percent hike in property taxes, which includes 1.5 percent that will be diverted to the city’s building fund.

Another six percent increase may also be on the way for Toronto if the federal government doesn’t provide $250 million toward refugee housing. That would mean homeowners would see a 16.5 percent hike in property taxes in total.

The province and City of Toronto announced a deal last November that would see up to $1.2 billion provided by the province to Toronto in operating supports for transit projects and a non-refugee shelter over the next three years.
The city will also receive $7.6 billion from the province to put toward maintenance of the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway, deemed “nationally significant economic corridors.”

Vancouver FIFA Tax

To pay for its part in the FIFA 2026 games, Vancouver announced a 2.5 percent “accommodation tax” in January 2023. The levy targets short-term accommodations, the government said in a news release.

“Similar to how the province helped Whistler fund its 2010 Winter Olympics, we’re grateful for all our partners who are working together to give soccer fans, people in the tourism sector, and all British Columbians this once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Minister of Finance Katrine Conroy said.

The tax will be in place for about seven years and is expected to generate an estimated $230 million in revenue.

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