The federal government will provide $ 19 billion to the provinces and territories to help finance a “safe restart” of the Canadian economy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today.The money will help finance the improvement of COVID-19 tests and contact tracing, the purchase of personal protective equipment for front-line workers and businesses, the funding of municipalities for public transit, a national sick leave plan and child care so that parents can return to work.
“COVID-19 is not just a health crisis. It is also an economic crisis, “said Trudeau at a press conference on Parliament Hill. “When we talk about the recovery phase, it’s not just about ensuring that we can detect, control and prevent future epidemics. It is also about helping people, businesses and entire communities to adapt to our new normal. ”
The agreement comes after weeks of sometimes trying negotiations between the federal government and the provinces and territories.
Trudeau had already promised $ 14 billion, but many premiers have said it is not enough to cover their needs.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities said in April that cities alone face a $ 10 billion to $ 15 billion deficit due to lost revenue from property taxes, utility and transportation costs .