Shomporko Desk:-OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday that a $19 billion deal has been reached between the government and the provinces and territories to enable local economies to bounce back from the pandemic.
Trudeau said the funds will help communities with getting ready for a possible second wave and will go towards boosting testing abilities, accumulating personal protective equipment, and progressing metropolitan transportation.
The funds are a revisal to a pre-declared “safe-restart agreement” that had an initial price tag of $14 billion. Talks have been ongoing over the last several weeks between the federal government and the provinces and territories over the size of help required.
“We’ve been working with our provincial and territorial partners to outline what needs to be done over the next six to eight months to safely restart our economy,” said the prime minister during a press briefing in Ottawa.
“As part of this agreement we’ve outlined seven priority areas on which to focus our efforts.”
He said this includes more testing and contact tracing, enhanced support for vulnerable communities – including seniors in long-term care facilities – and ensuring adequate childcare capacity.
“Our towns and cities have been at the forefront of responding to COVID-19. Cities must remain up and running if our economy is to eventually get back up and running. If cities aren’t equipped for a safe restart, people will not be safe.”
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland joined the prime minister on Thursday as she has during the 15 first ministers’ calls throughout the pandemic.
She touted the federal and provincial governments’ “team Canada” approach to navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Freeland also reflected on COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on women and families. She said beyond mandating mandatory 10-day paid sick leave, the agreement will address mechanisms to support women returning to work.
As detailed in last week’s fiscal snapshot, women have faced a much steeper decline in job loss since the pandemic took hold across the country and recent statistics show men are rebounding at a rate twice as fast as women as economies reopen.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has since weighed in on the $19-billion agreement, of which Ontario will collect $7 billion, saying he applauds the federal government’s efforts to help rebuild local communities at the front lines of the pandemic.
“This historic agreement proves what we can do as a nation when we stand united,” Ford said during a news conference on Thursday.
Photo credit: Andrew Meade/iPolitics
News source: CTV News