TORONTO: Premier Doug Ford is pressing the federal government to immediately layout a plan to fund provincial priorities, including responding to future waves and surges of COVID-19, strengthening health and longterm care, increasing testing and quarantine enforcement at the border, and making strategic investments in infrastructure projects to spur long-term recovery.
The Premier was joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, in calling for an increase to Canada Health Transfer to cover at least 35 percent of provincial-territorial health spending starting this year.
The funding will be used to enhance the province’s fall preparedness plan. The Ontario government is making an unprecedented investment of $67 billion in health care this year.
On Saturday, Premiers Doug Ford, Jason Kenney, François Legault, and Brian Pallister (Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, and Manitoba) were in Ottawa asking that the federal government give the provinces tens of billions of dollars more for health care, infrastructure, and fiscal aid.
Premier Ford said “I’m calling on the Prime Minister to meet the urgent needs of the provinces and territories with an additional $28 billion through Canada Health Transfer. A strong health care system is the foundation on which we can build a strong economic recovery for Ontario and for the country.”
Ontario is calling on the federal government to provide immediate and ongoing supports to long-term care residents and those who care for them, including investments for staffing, infection prevention, and control, and infrastructure funding to help build new beds and redevelop existing ones to provide quality homes for vulnerable seniors.
The Ontario government is investing over $4.8 billion in longterm care this year.
“We require the necessary resources to prepare for the worst should it come,” said Minister Elliott. “This includes dramatically expanding our testing capacity, launching more testing locations, and adding more case and contact management resources to trace and isolate new cases.” enforcing public health rules at the border is critical to help contain and prevent the spread of COViD-19.
That’s why the Ontario government is asking Ottawa to play a more active role in testing and enforcing quarantine measures in order to keep Ontarians safe. increasing testing and screening at the border and hiring additional federal staff to enforce the quarantine rules are necessary, especially with case numbers on the rise.
Key investments in infrastructure projects across the province will help restart the economy and create jobs. The province is calling on the federal government to invest an additional $10 billion per year over 10 years in infrastructure.
Ontario alone has nearly $10 billion in shovel-ready infrastructure projects over and above the approximately 750 submissions to the federal investment in the Canada infrastructure Program, it was pointed out.
Additionally, Ontario has four nationally significant subway projects in the Greater Toronto Area with a total value of $28.5 billion that will support over 22,000 jobs and reduce annual
emissions by over one million tonnes.
Ontario also has over 360 shovel-ready projects not yet approved by the federal government. The province is looking to the federal government to help quickly remove roadblocks to these projects.
The province is further calling on the federal government to make additional investments to expand and improve broadband service in more unserved and underserved communities.
Ontario stands ready to work with Ottawa and its provincial partners to deal with a potential second wave of COViD-19 and keep people safe while ensuring the province and country can chart a path to a strong, resilient economic recovery, the provincial government said.
• Ontario has invested $67 billion in health care this year, including an additional $7.7 billion as part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Response to COViD-19.