As we continue to improve access to testing in our province, Ontario recognizes that there are several key areas to watch out for if the country is to safely restart the economy. One such area is the role and responsibility of the federal government to protect Canadians if you are considering your strategy for a possible reopening of borders. Ontario looks forward to the federal government presenting a clear plan that protects people`s health and safety while taking a responsible approach to reopening the border. We also need you to ensure that effective measures are taken, including increasing staff, improving screening, testing and follow-up measures, and exchanging data. To support the recovery of the economy, the Canadian government will directly link US$4.05 billion for the purchase of PSA for national distribution to provinces and territories, US$500 million for the purchase of PSA for the non-health sector and US$3 billion $US directly to provinces and territories for past and planned PSA investments. To facilitate future procurement, provinces and territories will regularly share relevant PPE data with the Government of Canada. Ontario municipalities are receiving a total of $2 billion in support to address pressure from municipal businesses, social services, shelters and food banks, as well as exceptional public health costs, to support public health and safety as a result of the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ontario`s transit agencies will receive up to US$2 billion to deal with the real financial pressure of COVID-19. The provincial government has a series of provincial programs that directly support municipalities. In addition to the unconditional municipal operating grants and provincial gas tax of approximately $29 million, the provincial Municipal Capital Works program invests millions per year in municipal infrastructure as well as a multi-year program for large municipalities. Canadians receiving long-term care, home care and palliative care have an increased risk of more severe cases of COVID-19. As the economy re-develops, it is important to continue to protect and support older people and to provide health and social support to other vulnerable groups.
I would like to acknowledge the hard work and collaboration of Premiers in recent months to address the COVID-19 pandemic – and I would like to acknowledge the historic over $19 billion agreement between provinces, territories and the federal government. In order to protect the health of Canadians and ensure a safe reopening of our economies, all governments must continue to cooperate effectively to address the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Funding through the agreement will also support Ontario`s ongoing efforts towards timely case management and contact tracing to reduce outbreaks and achieve our goal of reaching new cases within 24 hours of receiving a positive result.