The B.C. government has announced up to $1 billion in additional provincial spending that will go toward COVID-19 supports for local governments and public transit.
The money will match Ottawa’s contributions under the federal government’s $19-billion Safe Restart program
The funding is 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,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement 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 the funding will help address some of the transit revenue shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will help ensure both local government and transit services are available throughout B.C.’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,” Minister of Finance Carole James said in a statement.
“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.”
James introduced the 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.