Coronavirus: Winnipeg mayor, council looking at tax deferrals, potential for state of emergency

The City of Winnipeg is looking into the possibility of deferring property and business taxes during the novel coronavirus pandemic, but Mayor Brian Bowman says it might take a while to reach a decision.

Bowman told 680 CJOB that the city’s public service is looking at options and is set to report to council in a few weeks, adding that a deadline of 30 days is too long to wait in such a fluid situation.

“I think all of us — all members of council and the public service — all appreciate the fact that 30 days is going to be too long to provide everybody with some direction and certainty,” Bowman said.

“We’ll obviously be reviewing the public service’s report when it’s concluded. I know they were working through the weekend. We’re looking at a number of options, including property and business tax deferral and other measures.”

Bowman said he couldn’t provide a specific timeline for the report other than as soon as possible.

The mayor added that despite the province of Manitoba being under a state of emergency, council hasn’t considered the same designation for Winnipeg. Not yet, anyway.

“At this stage, I wouldn’t rule it out, and it’s something we’ve actively been looking at each day, to be honest,” Bowman said.

“Right now, the province is the lead. They’ve issued the state of emergency for the entire province. What I continually am asking our officials is: Iis there an operational benefit to protect the health and safety of Winnipeggers that could be had by issuing our own state of emergency?’” he explained.

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“We have not been given that recommendation to date, but this is a day-by-day, hour-by-hour situation, and when and if that recommendation is made, I’ll certainly support a state of emergency if it can make a difference to help protect the health and safety of Winnipeggers.”

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