Infrastructure program expands to support COVID-19 community resilience
Ottawa, Ontario, August 5, 2020— Canada’s communities are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and need immediate assistance to make their public infrastructure safe for use during the pandemic.
Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, is announcing new steps to help provinces and territories deal with the pressures brought on by the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is being adjusted so that provinces and territories can use federal funding to act quickly on a wider range of more pandemic-resilient infrastructure projects. Whether retrofitting schools to allow kids to go to school safely, upgrading hospitals and long-term care homes to deal with social distancing requirements, building new parks, cycling and walking paths to help Canadians get access to nature to stay healthy, active and safe, or disaster mitigation projects that protect against floods and fires, these changes will help get more projects underway faster, and support longer-term goals of sustainable, economically healthy, low-carbon, and inclusive communities.
Under a new COVID-19 Resilience funding stream worth up to $3.3 billion, projects will be eligible for a significantly larger federal cost share – up to 80 per cent for provinces, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations in provinces, and raising it to 100 per cent for territorial and Indigenous projects designated under the new stream. A simplified funding application process will ensure that projects can get underway as soon as possible, and accelerated approvals will ensure that provinces and territories can address pressing needs in a timely manner.
For projects that can start in the near-term, eligibility criteria in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s other existing streams have also been expanded. For example, mobile phone and cellular projects are now eligible under the Rural and Northern Infrastructure stream, and inter-city transit projects are now eligible.
These immediate adjustments to existing programming follow discussions with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous communities. The changes are designed as short-term measures to address the current situation while we continue to work towards the long-term infrastructure objectives, including better public transit, more high-speed broadband, wastewater infrastructure and clean energy projects.
“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. 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.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
To support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program now includes a new stream to directly respond to the immediate pressures and concerns as a result of the current pandemic, new eligible project categories, and faster approvals.
The COVID-19 Resilience stream will help other orders of governments whose finances have been significantly impacted by the pandemic by increasing the federal cost share for public infrastructure projects to 80 per cent in the provinces, and funding 100 per cent of the cost of projects in the territories and for projects with Indigenous recipients.
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is delivered through bilateral agreements with all provinces and territories to make unprecedented investments in public infrastructure.
Funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund was accelerated this year to provide $2.2 billion in one payment in June to help communities quickly move forward with infrastructure projects that will stabilize local economies.
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
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