THE Province is earmarking up to $1 billion of additional spending targeted to address COVID-19 impacts and restart plans of local governments and public transit services, conditional on matching federal contributions under a 50/50 cost-sharing criteria.
“British Columbians are depending on government to provide help during the pandemic and build a resilient, secure future for our province,” said Premier John Horgan on Wednesday. “That’s why I’m pleased this new funding will secure B.C.’s share of the federal government’s $19-billion Safe Restart program and ensure people have access to the critical services they need in their communities.”
The government said that transit services are critical for a successful restart of the B.C. economy. This funding will help address some of the revenue shortfalls created by COVID-19 and help ensure that important local government and transit services remain available throughout BC’s Restart Plan.
“To make sure people in B.C. get the maximum support from the national Safe Restart funding package, we are committing additional funds to support local governments and public transit, both of which are critical to restarting our economy,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “We have a shared commitment to come together to build back our economy and keep people healthy and safe. Subsequently, the federal Safe Restart program includes additional funding to support the Province’s efforts in health care, child care and support for vulnerable populations, as well as the pan-Canadian sick leave program.”
The latest commitment by the federal government will help support B.C.’s ongoing efforts to restart the provincial economy and make it more resilient to possible future waves of the virus, said the government.
James introduced supplementary estimates in the legislature for up to $1 billion to fund the Province’s portion of municipal and transit services assistance, depending on the outcome of further federal cost-sharing discussions in this priority area.
The federal government has been a reliable partner as the B.C. government has addressed the impacts of the virus. B.C. will continue to work closely with the federal government to address the needs of British Columbians, said the Province.