Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the federal government will be accelerating the $2.2 billion earmarked for municipalities across Canada as a move to help alleviate some of the increasing financial strain amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The $2.2 billion is typically paid out in two installments once per year to provincial and territorial governments, which then in turn funnel the money to the respective municipalities. The money is provided via the federal government’s Gas Tax Fund, and is used to fund local infrastructure projects. However, given the unprecedented hardships caused by pandemic, the federal government will be sending out in June this time, and in one lump sum.
Although the money has been traditionally set aside specifically for infrastructure projects, this year the situation is most likely going to be much different. Municipal governments have suffered a significant drop in revenue due to lockdowns, and as a result will using their portion of the $2.2 billion to fund operating costs for essential services such as public transit, trash collection, and other front-line services instead.
However, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is stating the $2.2 billion is not enough to cover the sudden and sharp decline in vital revenue. As such, the FCM is projecting that at least $10 billion is needed to cover emergency operating funding. The Prime Minister did mention that this is only the first part of the federal government’s fiscal support, with more funds to be provided in due time.
Information for this briefing was found via Bloomberg and CBC News. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.