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A Team Canada Approach to Fighting COVID-19: Supporting Provinces, Territories, Municipalities and Indigenous Communities

Supporting provinces and territories

As Canada faces the second wave of COVID-19, the Government of Canada continues to work with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous communities to ensure Canadians stay safe and healthy. This includes securing vaccines, scaling up testing and tracing, and ensuring we are able to battle the virus. This is a Team Canada effort. The federal government has provided more than 8 out of every 10 dollars spent in Canada to fight COVID-19 and support Canadians. To date, direct support made available to provinces and territories totals over $24 billion.

The Safe Restart Agreement

The $19.9 billion Safe Restart Agreement, as adopted by Canada’s First Ministers, was designed to deal with the most pressing issues facing Canadians’ health and safety. In particular, it focused on increasing testing and contact tracing capacity across provinces and territories. It has also assisted with the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help our essential workers, and protect the most vulnerable, like seniors.

As a result of the Safe Restart Agreement alone, federal health support for provinces and territories is up by over 23 per cent relative to the previous fiscal year’s Canada Health Transfer amounts.

Federal Investments in Health Care Support
Chart 1.4

Municipalities

Municipalities provide front-line services and need support to put in place appropriate precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and manage public spaces and critical services, like public transit. 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 supports with investments made this fiscal year.

More information on the Safe Restart Agreement.

Helping Provinces and Territories Protect Long-term Care and Other Supportive Care Facilities

The devastating COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes have highlighted the gaps in standards and care for our most vulnerable. Tragically, a large majority of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities and seniors residences. In the spring, the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces were deployed to 54 affected long-term care facilities across Quebec and Ontario.

Through the Safe Restart Agreement, the federal government invested $740 million to help provinces and territories address immediate needs of vulnerable populations, including those in long-term care. The federal government has helped provinces and territories to fight the outbreaks in long-term care facilities by providing PPE, contact tracing and over $39 million in funding for direct assistance through the Canadian Red Cross.

New National Standards

Our seniors deserve to be safe, respected, and live in dignity. In order to make sure our seniors and those in care live in safe and dignified conditions, the federal government will work with provinces and territories to set new, national standards for long-term care.

Proposed Investments

Support for Schools

Building on the Safe Restart Agreement, the federal government is providing up to $2 billion to provinces and territories through the Safe Return to Class Fund. The Fund offers the complementary support provinces and territories need, as they work alongside local school boards to ensure the safety of students and staff members throughout the school year. For example, the Fund is helping provinces and territories invest in adapted learning spaces, improving air ventilation, increasing hand sanitation and hygiene, and purchasing of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.

The return of Canadian children to school has seen COVID-19 transmission remaining low in most school and child care settings.

Investments to date

Towards a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System

Investing in accessible, high-quality child care is not only good for families, it makes good economic sense. It gives children a good start in life and gives parents, especially mothers, the support they need to maintain good jobs and provide for their families. In September, the number of mothers who worked less than half of their usual hours for reasons most likely related to COVID-19 was 70 per cent higher than in February, compared with 24 per cent among fathers.

Child care providers have been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial lockdown meant the closure of most child care operations across the country. Even as the economy reopened, the implementation of new public health practices and the uneven return of children in care resulted in financial challenges for many providers, and made more precarious the work of over 200,000 early childhood educators and child care workers across the country.

Now is the time to make long-term, sustained investments so that every Canadian family has access to high-quality, affordable and inclusive child care. As a first step, this Fall Economic Statement is announcing key early investments to lay the groundwork for a Canada-wide child care system, and the federal government’s commitment to working in partnership with provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples.

Proposed Investments

Business Support for a Strong Public Health Response

There is no choice between our health and economy. To see people through this crisis, federal government measures support businesses so that jurisdictions across Canada can make the best public health decisions. Programs like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy have helped protect over 3.9 million jobs, while the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) has helped over 790,000 small businesses and not-for-profits weather this storm. The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will help affected businesses pay their rent and mortgage interest, and the Lockdown Support will make sure that eligible businesses that have to significantly restrict their activities as a result of a public health order get extra support to cover their eligible expenses.

Proposed Investments

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Businesses, workers, and communities in every corner of Canada have been impacted by COVID-19. To help support those businesses unable to access other federal pandemic support programs, the government created the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, providing significant funding through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies.

A New Approach to Regional Development in Western Canada

To better tailor support to businesses in Western Canada, in recognition of its diverse regional economies, the government is proposing to create separate Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) for British Columbia and the Prairies, adding a new, seventh RDA for British Columbia. Additional detail and investments to follow.

Proposed Investments

Support for Indigenous and Northern Communities

Indigenous and northern communities have worked diligently to control the spread of the virus in their communities. The government recognizes that Indigenous and northern communities face unique challenges in responding to the pandemic, including a higher incidence of pre-existing health vulnerabilities, difficulties in accessing healthy food and health services and overcrowded living conditions that make it difficult to physically distance. The Government of Canada has provided support to communities through the Indigenous Community Support Fund. Many northern communities also face challenges responding to the pandemic.

Proposed Investments

Significant Support to Provinces and Territories

The government has already announced direct support for provinces and territories, with over $24 billion made available to date. This is on top of the funding regularly provided to provinces and territories through the major transfers and bilateral agreements, which totals over $85 billion in 2020-21. Additionally, unprecedented federal support for the economy is providing benefit to provincial and territorial tax bases, estimated to raise provincial-territorial tax revenues by approximately $17 billion.

Modernizing the Fiscal Stabilization Program

The federal government intends to introduce legislative and regulatory amendments to reform the Fiscal Stabilization Program to provide a more effective backstop to provinces that face an extraordinary drop in revenues. This is expected to result in billions in additional support to provinces for 2020-21, based on the current provincial outlook.

Proposed Investments

More Information

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