Ottawa/Sputnik: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that the federal government will provide $14 billion in funding for Canadian provinces and territories as part of its “safe restart” program.
“Our government will invest over $19 billion [US$14 billion] to ensure that provinces and territories have the support they need to protect the health of Canadians, help people get back to work safely and prepare for a potential second wave [of the novel coronavirus],” Trudeau said.
Trudeau said the sizeable amount of funds has been earmarked for municipalities and core services, including transit, a source of concern for mayors and municipal leaders around Canada.
“Today’s agreement provides municipalities with funding to cover operational cost” Trudeau said. “Investments in municipalities and in transit will be shared evenly between the federal and provincial governments.”
The news was welcomed by Toronto Mayor John Tory, who had threatened possible tax hikes and service cuts should the federal and provincial governments not intervene, and by Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
The program is designed to help provinces and local jurisdictions for the next six to eight months.
Canada’s officials have not said whether the program would be extended beyond this timeframe should the pandemic persist.
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