Canada invests $2B to Safe Restart programs across cities

'If our cities aren't running, our economy isn't running'

Canada invests $2B to Safe Restart programs across cities

The Canadian government is allocating $2bn to ensure frontline workers across cities and towns are able to return to work safely.

The funding, announced on Thursday, is part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s $19bn Safe Restart Agreement with provinces and territories.

Provincial and territorial governments will be cost-matching federal support with investments into their local communities this fiscal year, Infrastructure Canada said.

As businesses reopen and workers head back to the worksite, the federal government will also be investing an additional $1bn to keep city public transit systems operating smoothly.

Read more: Are Canadian businesses stronger post COVID-19?

The federal government plans to spend more than $180bn on public transit projects and trade and transportation routes, among other sustainable development projects, in a span of 12 years.

“People need critical frontline services, including public transit, to get safely back to work and build back up our economy. Canada’s cities and towns provide those services,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

“There’s no recovery without a municipal recovery. If our cities aren’t running, our economy isn’t running. The Safe Restart Agreement will help Canada get back on track,” she said.

Infrastructure Canada said plans to help municipalities rebuild after the COVID-19 crisis are “resulting in thousands of projects, creating jobs across the country and building stronger communities”.

Read more: Trudeau extends wage subsidy scheme to aid employment rebound

Apart from a safe and reliable public transport system, health care and social care services are also critical to the country’s recovery, the agency advised.

“Essential, frontline workers need good public transit, parents need child care, public health must be able to track and contain disease outbreaks, everyone requires personal protective equipment, and vulnerable communities – including seniors – need enhanced support as Canada gradually reopens while containing the spread of COVID-19,” Infrastructure Canada said.

The Safe Restart Agreement includes enhanced measures to test and trace cases of COVID-19; support people struggling with their mental health amid the pandemic; and acquire personal protective equipment for essential workers and the most vulnerable sectors.

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