Trudeau set to outline $19B COVID-19 relief program for provinces and municipalities

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will provide details on Wednesday about the government’s key recovery plan for provinces and cities, which involves $19 billion for measures aimed at fighting COVID-19.

Trudeau will be speaking Wednesday afternoon about the Safe Restart Program, which was announced back in June as a way to funnel money to cash-strapped provinces and municipalities. People familiar with the announcement, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Ottawa has now received agreements from all provinces and territories on the spending plan.

Funds under the Safe Restart Program will go towards public transit infrastructure, “immediate assistance” for seniors at risk of transmitting COVID-19, personal protective equipment for employees as they return to the workforce, and additional childcare services, among other things.

Ottawa had initially carved out $14 billion in spending for provinces and territories in June, which it expanded to $19 billion in July after provinces complained that the pool of funds was too small to fill their respective fiscal gaps. Others said the proposed funding included too many conditions that unnecessarily tied the hands of provincial leaders.

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