Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $2.2 billion for municipalities over the coming weeks to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trudeau said the money will be available through the Gas Tax Fund.
Usually, municipalities receive these payments through two installments each year. But, due to the pandemic, the full 2020/2021 payment will be delivered in June.
According to the federal government, the communities will 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,” states a release.
“From coast to coast to coast, Canadians are feeling the economic impacts of COVID-19, while they do what they can to protect the health and safety of their families and communities,” said Trudeau in a statement. “That is why we are taking action to restart the economy, get Canadians back to work, and come out of this stronger. This funding will help communities address their immediate needs, while also planning the infrastructure they need for the future.”
Monday’s announcement is what Trudeau called a first step on work with the municipalities, and that they are looking at other wats of supporting the work of municipalities.
“It has been a very difficult spring for many people,” said Trudeau during his press conference, adding that “things will get better.”
Trudeau said that the curve is flattening in Canada.
He said that the more we can control the spread of the virus the more we can reopen, and that every province and territory will have its own approach.
Last month, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) said its data shows municipalities are facing a minimum of $10-15 billion in near-term, non-recoverable losses due to COVID-19.
“That figure includes foregone property taxes, utility charges and user fees—including an estimated $400 million each month from lost transit ridership alone. At the same time, municipalities are taking unprecedented steps to support public health and safety,” said the FCM, who urged for at least $10 billion in emergency operating funding.