Alberta is about to get some COVID-19 financial support from Ottawa.
The Province of Alberta has announced how it plans to spend its portion of the $19 billion the Government of Canada has allocated to provinces and territories to restart in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday that his government has “worked closely from the outset” with the provinces and territories to support Canadians during the pandemic, and the investment is meant to ensure “the provinces and territories have the support they need, to protect the health of Canadians, help people get back to work safely, and prepare for a potential second wave.”
A Friday release from the Province of Alberta welcomed the financial support, with Premier Jason Kenney stating that he pleased that, after several weeks of negotiations, the provinces have reached an agreement with the federal government on a Safe Restart Agreement.
“This agreement will help our economy take the next steps to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 as we work to keep Albertans and all Canadians safe and healthy,” said Kenney.
“This [$19 billion] includes funding for testing, PPE for front-line workers, child care, mental health, and protecting the most vulnerable Canadians, including our seniors. The Government of Canada’s decision to recognize and credit the work already done by the provinces in the fight against the virus will be particularly helpful to Alberta, which has led the country on PPE procurement and testing.”
The agreement included additional funding for paid sick leave, and also hopes to offset the revenue lost for municipalities over the past few months, such as in decreased public transit revenue.
Kenney stated that the incoming funds from the Safe Restart Agreement will be used “compliment and accelerate Alberta” on its path to economic recovery.
The release stated that Alberta has spent roughly $14 billion in coronavirus support during the pandemic, which included half a billion dollars to the health-care system, long-term care homes support, emergency isolation payments, $200 million in small business relaunch grants, homeless shelter support, $50 million to mental health support, 40 million free masks, day care operator funding, utility bill deferrals, increased credit access, and renter tenant protections.
“I would like to thank the federal government for working with the provinces, listening to our concerns, and responding to them,” Kenney stated int he release.
“I would especially like to thank my fellow premiers, whose solidarity, mutual understanding, and dedication to the good of our country resulted in a deal that is more generous, fair, and flexible than where we started.”