Government carves out $3B to help communities with pandemic infrastructure projects

The federal government is adjusting a $33-billion COVID-19 infrastructure program to help Canadian communities respond to the global pandemic.

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna announced a new COVID-19 “resilience” stream during a news conference in Ottawa today, carving out $3 billion for pandemic-related projects that would not be covered under previous rules.

“Our government recognizes that with the health and economic challenges presented by COVID-19, we need to support Canadians to protect their health, improve their quality of life, and create jobs,” McKenna said in a statement.

“That’s why we’ve changed our infrastructure program to make it easier to invest in making schools and long-term care facilities safe for children and aging parents and to build projects that make it easier for people to get out and exercise and appreciate nature. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds stronger communities.”

According to a news release, the program offers a larger federal cost share for projects, up to 80 per cent for provinces, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations in provinces, and 100 per cent for remote, northern and territorial projects.

The application process will also be streamlined to get funds flowing faster.