Ottawa is offering Canadian provinces and territories $14 billion to combat COVID-19 and the potential of a second wave, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this morning.
The funding will be distributed asthe federal government and each of the provinces reach a “safe-restart” agreement for a coordinated effort to re-launch the Canadian economy post-COVID, Trudeau said.
Such a restart plan will look to cover the next 6-8 months as each province look to restart the economy while requiring more PPEs for health workers and businesses, Trudeau noted, adding that the funding will also cover items such as childcare for working parents, seniors, workers on 10-day sick leaves and municipalities who are cash-strapped to offer services like transit.
"To really move forward, we need a Canada-wide plan on safely and effectively restarting the economy," he said, calling the plan a "standard of support" that's consistent nation-wide. "Having the right approach and the right resources to back it up will determine where we are not just in the coming weeks but into the fall and winter."
Trudeau told premiers of Ottawa's new funding agreement in a meeting Thursday. He added that the key goal of the funding is to ensure a quick and careful restart so Canada does not lose the progress it has made in the fight against COVID-19.
Officials also noted that the plan will feature some flexibility from province to province based on the realities of the local situations. More than 1.2 million Canadians, Trudeau said, have already recovered enough to no longer need the Canada Emergency Response Benefit announced in March - but Friday's job numbers provide a dose of reality that he hopes the new funding will address.
“The numbers show more Canadians returned to work last month, but that many, many people continue to face a really tough time," he said. "That tells us we are moving forward, but we need to focus on getting more people back on the job."