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Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland

Ottawa proposes $7.2B in funding for health care, municipalities

Friday, March 26, 2021 @ 12:52 PM | By Ian Burns

The federal government has introduced legislation which would provide $7.2 billion in support for urgent health-care needs as Canada continues its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill C-25, which Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced in the House of Commons March 26, includes $4 billion to help provinces and territories address immediate health-care system pressures, including backlogs in access to care.

Freeland said COVID-19 has placed extreme pressure on health-care systems across the country.

 Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland

“The pandemic is still here, and many parts of our country are facing the threat of a third wave right now. Canadians need help urgently,” she said. “This money will help provide the lifesaving procedures put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will ensure that our health-care system does not buckle under the continued strain of the pandemic, under the pressures of the third wave and new variants.”

The proposed legislation also includes $2.2 billion through the federal gas tax fund to address short-term infrastructure priorities and a $1 billion one-time payment to the provinces and territories to help with vaccine rollout.

“We know that the vaccine rollout is ramping up, and that must continue without delay,” said Freeland. “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 legislation also proposes changing the name of the federal gas tax fund to the Canada Community-Building Fund. The gas tax fund is a permanent source of twice-yearly funding for provinces and territories, who in turn provide these funds to municipalities while also supporting on-reserve infrastructure projects in First Nations communities.

More information about Ottawa’s COVID-19 response plan can be found here.

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