Trudeau began his address recognizing that anti-black racism is real here in Canada. Over the weekends, Canadians sent a message that this racism and racism in any form will not be tolerated in this country. He also acknowledged the role of journalists who document what’s happening on the front line (a number of American journalists were arrested in the US at the many demonstrations responding to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 5).
The curve is flattening in Canada. The federal government is working with the provinces on the range of issues that require a collaborative approach including country-wide testing and contact tracing.
Trudeau announced that the federal government will make $2.2B available to municipalities in the next few weeks through the Gas Tax Fund, making the full 2020/21 payment available to municipalities now. Normally, payment is made through two annual payments. Now, it will be provided in one single, accelerated payment.
The Federal of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) earlier stated that the municipalities will require anywhere from $10B to $15B to recover from this crisis. “FCM’s data shows municipalities facing a minimum of $10-15 billion in near-term, non-recoverable losses due to COVID-19.”
Trudeau acknowledged that this is a start and that “we need to do more.” He suggested that the provinces also need to step up and support their communities. A range of services (no elaboration provided) offered through municipalities are on the verge of disappearing.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund will be accelerated this year to help communities as quickly as possible while respecting public health guidelines.
This means that $2.2 billion in annual federal infrastructure funding for communities will be delivered in one payment in June. Early delivery of the full funding for 2020-21 will help communities quickly move forward with infrastructure projects that will improve our quality of life and help restart local economies.
Communities have flexibility to use the funding to meet their local needs. Projects could include access to high-speed broadband, improvements to water and road systems, and the building of cycling and walking paths. These projects create jobs, and improve how Canadians live, work, and play.
Since the start of the crisis, Prime Minister Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland have worked closely with premiers. The Government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories to look at ways to further support municipalities as part of this ongoing collaboration.