The federal government will provide $19 billion to the provinces and territories to help fund a “safe restart” of the Canadian economy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today.
The money will help pay for enhanced COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, the purchase of personal protective equipment for front line workers and businesses, funding for municipalities for transit, a national sick leave plan and child care so that parents can get back to work.
“COVID-19 isnt just a health crisis. It’s an economic crisis, too,” Trudeau said at a press conference on Parliament Hill. “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.”
The deal comes after weeks of at-times testy negotiations between the federal government and the provinces and territories.
Trudeau previously pledged $14 billion but many premiers said that amount was not nearly enough to cover their needs.
The Canadian Federation of Municipalities said in April that cities alone are facing a $10 to $15 billion shortfall due to a loss of revenue from property taxes, utility charges and transit fees.