#CanadaGovt; #Funding; #SafeRestartOfEconomy; #Covid19; #LongTermCares
Ottawa, Jul 16 (Canadian-Media): Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today at a press conference on Parliament Hill that the federal government will provide $19 billion to the provinces and territories to help fund a "safe restart" of the Canadian economy.
Justin Trudeau. Official page
These governments would be able to cover some of their budgetary costs over the next six to eight months by the direct transfers as they prepare to reopen their economies as well as a contingency measure against the possible second wave of COVID-19.
"COVID-19 isn't just a health crisis. It's an economic crisis, too," Trudeau said in the press conference.
"When we talk about the recovery phase, it's not just about making sure we can detect, control and prevent future outbreaks. It's also about helping people, businesses and entire communities adjust to our new normal."
Focus of the money would be on seven priority areas, said Trudeau including enhanced COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, personal protective equipment (PPE) purchases for front line workers and businesses, municipalities' funding, a national sick leave plan, and child care to enable parents to get back to work.
Trudeau added that some of the money will go toward improving the state of long-term care, and to fund mental health services and tackle homelessness.
This deal was the result of weeks of negotiations, led by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, between the Liberal government and the provinces and territories.
"We managed to get to an agreement where the money that is designated for safe child care spaces, for example, the money that is designated for PPE, the money that is designated for testing and contact tracing, actually will get spent in those areas," said Trudeau.
The federal government recognizes that more funding could be required, said Trudeau, beyond the next six to eight months due to the fact that development of a vaccine could be far off.
Previously pledged sum of $14 billion was thought to be insufficient by many premiers.
Canadian cities alone are facing a deficit of $10 to $15 billion due to a loss of revenue from property taxes, utility charges and transit fees, said he Canadian Federation of Municipalities in April.
Extension of the agreement to restrict travel across the Canada-U.S. border into August was also confirmed by Trudeau.