The Liberal government has made available a total of $3.3 billion in funds for provinces and territories in order to get a head start on infrastructure projects that will be compatible in the new coronavirus reality.
On Wednesday, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna announced that the federal government has earmarked $3.3 billion out of the $33 billion in promised fund-matching for projects across Canada’s provinces and territories to go towards ensuring that hospitals and schools are more pandemic resilient. The newly unveiled plan comes after a weeks-long bitter dispute between provinces and territories and the federal government regarding allegedly stalled infrastructure spending.
The Federal government anticipates that the funds will primarily go towards building additional walking paths and bike lanes in urban areas, as well as better equipping long-term care homes, schools, and hospitals in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Provincial and territorial governments will also be able to allocate a portion of the funding to build protective infrastructure in the event of other natural disasters, such as wildfires and floods.
Previously, the federal government would commit to providing one third of the costs associated with municipal projects, 50% of projects initiated by provincial governments, and up to 75% of costs for projects located in Canada’s territories. However, under the new plan, the federal government will be responsible for 80% of coronavirus-related infrastructure projects in provinces, while covering all infrastructure expenses in the territories. In addition, the maximum cost of projects cannot exceed $10 million, and all provincial projects must be completed by 2021, and territorial projects by 2022.
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