Investments to Protect Public Health, Prepare for Future Waves and Support Safe Economic Restart
The Pallister government is seeking authority from the Manitoba legislature to spend an additional half-a-billion dollars on its COVID-19 response to protect Manitobans, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.
“As Manitoba adapts its response to address emerging and evolving needs, we continue investing in our top priority – protecting Manitobans,” said Pallister. “Manitoba has devoted the third highest per capita pandemic spending in Canada, after only Ontario and Quebec, to help protect public health and safety, prepare for potential future waves of the virus and further support the safe reopening of our economy.”
The supplementary appropriation would provide government departments the additional spending authority for $577 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The appropriation would provide authority to distribute federal funding to municipalities through the Safe Restart Agreement with the federal government, new infrastructure investments through the Manitoba Restart program and additional supports to the Manitoba education system.
Manitoba is receiving $106 million for municipalities and public transit through the federal Safe Restart Agreement, of which the majority of the funds will flow to the City of Winnipeg.
“Municipalities are on the front lines of a safe economic restart and need to continue to put in place appropriate precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and manage public spaces and critical services, like public transit,” said Pallister.
The premier noted the province responded quickly to support municipalities and advanced $128 million or 75 per cent of flexible operating grants on May 6 and the remaining amounts of $42 million in September. This $170 million is in addition to Manitoba’s current operational support of more than $500 million for a range of municipal services, programming, systemic capacity, and necessary prevention and resiliency measures, he added.
Pallister noted the supplementary funding is in addition to the $1 billion approved in April in the Appropriation Act, 2020 (COVID-19 Response), bringing the COVID-19 spending authority request for the 2020-21 fiscal year to $1.577 billion.