Government Announces Additional Pandemic Support For Vaccines, Health Care, and Municipalities
March 25, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada
Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is a Team Canada effort. All orders of government continue to take action to fight the pandemic, support Canadians and Canadian businesses, and keep Canadians safe and healthy. The federal government continues to work closely with provinces, territories, municipalities, and Indigenous communities in the face of COVID-19.
In recognition of the extraordinary pressures faced by all orders of government and First Nations communities during the ongoing pandemic, today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, introduced Bill C-25. This legislation would provide an additional $7.2 billion in support for urgent health care needs across the country, the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, and for local infrastructure projects in our cities and communities.
The proposed funding includes:
- $4 billion through the Canada Health Transfer to help provinces and territories address immediate health care system pressures, including addressing backlogs in access to care as the pandemic continues.
- $1 billion as a one-time payment to the provinces and territories to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out continues to accelerate and keeps pace with growing supply, and does not encounter any delays.
- $2.2 billion to address short-term infrastructure priorities in municipalities and First Nations communities. The funds would flow through the federal Gas Tax Fund.
- The federal government also proposes to rename the federal Gas Tax Fund as the Canada Community-Building Fund.
To date, more than eight out of every ten dollars to fight the pandemic has been provided by the federal government. Today’s announcement will build on the substantial investments made to support provinces and territories.
“Fighting COVID-19 and safely restarting our economy requires a Team Canada approach. We have said we will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to support Canadians. That is what today’s announcement is about. We know there are urgent, ongoing strains on the health care system. We know that the vaccine roll-out is ramping up – and that must continue without delay. And we know that our cities and towns, which are responsible for local infrastructure that Canadians use, need urgent support. That is support the federal government will provide.”
- The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
“The introduction of today’s legislation is another example of our government’s commitment to Canadians during the pandemic. Working collaboratively with the provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous partners, we are providing the tools and investments needed to support Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Together, Canadians will get through this pandemic.”
- The Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
“As we rebuild from the greatest public health and economic crisis of our time, I understand the vital role that immediate investments in infrastructure will play in addressing the needs of municipalities and Indigenous communities, reviving local economies and improving the lives of Canadians. The Government of Canada is taking decisive action to support communities across Canada by proposing to double this year’s federal Gas Tax Fund payment and rename it the Canada Community-Building Fund. This would put $2.2 billion in the hands of communities to fund projects like high-speed broadband, public transit and recreation centres, and get Canadians to work.”
- The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been there for Canadians. With today’s announcement, we are further investing in our health care system, as we continue to work with the provinces and territories to vaccinate and support Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”
- The Hon. Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Health
In December 2020, the federal government announced that it was providing $43.1 billion through the Canada Health Transfer to provinces and territories for 2021-2022.
In March 2020, the federal government provided an additional $500 million to provinces and territories to address critical health system needs.
In June 2020, the federal government announced that the annual allocation of $2.2 billion under the federal Gas Tax Fund would be accelerated and provided in a single payment in June to help Canadian communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible, while respecting public health guidelines.
The federal Gas Tax Fund is a permanent source of twice-yearly funding for provinces and territories, who in turn provide these funds to municipalities. The federal Gas Tax Fund also supports on-reserve infrastructure projects in First Nations communities.
In July 2020, the federal government announced the Safe Restart Agreement, a federal investment of more than $19 billion to help provinces and territories with surges in cases of COVID-19.
Through the Safe Restart Agreement, the Government of Canada is contributing $2 billion to support municipalities with COVID-19 operating costs with an additional contribution of $2.4 billion for public transit. Provincial and territorial governments will cost-match federal investments made this fiscal year.
Through the Safe Return to Class Fund announced in August 2020, the federal government has provided $2 billion in support for provinces and territories to ensure students, teachers and staff members have the support they need to stay safe and healthy throughout the school year.
Media may contact:
Deputy Prime Minister's Office
Department of Finance Canada
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