Ottawa won’t pay for G20 damage: councillor

The federal government says it will not pay for damage suffered by property owners as a result of protests against the G20 meeting next month, according to Toronto Councillor Adam Vaughan.

In an email released by the councillor, a member of the Summits Management Office writes that damage caused by third parties, including vandalism, will not be compensated.

"These types of damages are insurable under normal insurance coverage," wrote Effie Triantafilopoulos, deputy director and special advisor G20 liaison.

"This is absolutely unacceptable," Mr. Vaughan told reporters at City Hall on Thursday. "They’re bringing this party to town. They know what accompanies this sort of event, and for them to walk away from small businesses after they spent $1-billion on themselves is an absolute disgrace, and Stephen Harper ought to have an answer for those small businesses."

He said city staff had been negotiating with the federal government on how costs would be covered when they learned of this development.

Leaders of the G20 countries will be meeting at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on June 26 and 27, protected by a fenced-in security perimeter in the downtown core. Mr. Vaughan has long argued that the event should have been held at Exhibition Place.

He said the city had tried to convince the federal government to post a bond in advance to cover the costs incurred during the event. He added that in the Entertainment District, businesses "can’t even get insurance for plate-glass windows because of the behaviour of club kids, so these people are in a more vulnerable position."

The summit’s website details what may and may not be covered by the government. Businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals living or working inside the security zone and who suffer financial loss as a result may be eligible for compensation. For those outside the zone, but who do business in it, certain claims may be eligible, the website states.

In addition to vandalism, the government will not compensate damages for personal injury, damages for emotional stress, "amounts that can be paid out by means of another instrument, such as statutory or regulatory scheme, Treasury Board policy, program, grant or contribution" along with private security measures "as security agencies will be providing the required security."

The estimated cost to police the G8, in Huntsville, and G20 summits is approaching $1-billion. Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mayor David Miller said Ottawa is paying for the G20.

"Ottawa is covering the costs of the G20, period. The city is not on the hook for them, so it’s up to them what they deem to be a cost," he said. "Property damage is between the individual properties and Ottawa."

He said there is an agreement with the federal government that they will cover Toronto police overtime.


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