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McGuinty Government Negotiates $330 Million In SARS Relief

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McGuinty Government Negotiates $330 Million In SARS Relief

Federal-Provincial Cooperation Yielding Results, For a Change

Office of the Premier

QUEEN'S PARK -- Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today announced that his government's improved, cooperative relationship with the federal government has led to $330 million in federal SARS relief.

"These funds will cover approximately fifty per cent of the emergency management and extraordinary health care costs borne by our hospitals, municipalities and other agencies that provided assistance during the SARS crisis," said Premier McGuinty. "Today's agreement shows that we have turned an important corner in federal-provincial relations. Confrontation among governments has not led to the kinds of results that Ontarians expect and deserve from their leaders."

"Our government is committed to putting the public interest first, for a change, by working in cooperation with the federal government."

In June 2003, the Tory government refused a federal government offer of $250 million in assistance. The McGuinty government has successfully argued that Ontario's SARS outbreak, while not technically a disaster according to federal rules, was similar to other natural disasters such as the 1998 ice storm. The federal government has increased its offer as a result.

Premier McGuinty said his government is committed to working with the federal government to develop new guidelines that would properly address future disasters such as SARS.

"We must be able to react swiftly and effectively in the event of another infectious disease like SARS. That's why we are taking concrete steps to help make sure Ontario is better prepared for similar health crises in the future."

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