BC’s Economic Recovery Plan

On Thursday, September 17, 2020, the provincial government released Stronger BC for Everyone:  BC’s Economic Recovery Plan.  The plan identified a number of initiatives that are designed to support people, businesses, and communities in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including over $1 billion in public transit funding under the federal/provincial Safe Restart Agreement.  It is estimated that there is $3.7 billion in combined federal/provincial economic recovery spending in BC.

UBCM provided a preliminary summary of funding available following the Stronger BC announcement. Below is an overview of both BC’s Economic Recovery Plan and the Safe Restart Agreement, as well as local government focused funding;

Safe Restart Agreement

On July 16, 2020, the federal government announced the $19 billion Safe Restart Agreement.  The Agreement identifies seven (7) priority areas;

  1. $4.2 billion for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing
  2. $4.5 billion for purchase of personal protective equipment
  3. $625 million for childcare spaces
  4. $2 billion towards operating costs for municipalities (50/50 cost share between federal government and provinces and territories)
  5. $1.8 billion for public transit (50/50 cost share between federal government and provinces and territories)
  6. $1.1 billion towards creating a national sick leave program providing 10 paid sick leave days to those not covered by employers.
  7. $1.2 billion investments in health care to respond to the pandemic, including support for vulnerable population

NOTE:  BC’s allocation of the $19 billion is estimated to be $2.2 billion

  • Public Transit ($1.038B total) – operating funding relief. 
    • $644m to Translink
    • $86m to BC Transit
    • $308M to BC Ferries
  • Safe Restart Funding for Local Governments ($540M total)
    • $425m – Local government reopening and operating costs (formula-based funding for all local governments)
    • $100M – support for vulnerable populations/homelessness (application based)
    • $15M – support implementation of Development Approvals Process Review (application based)

BC’s Economic Recovery Plan

On September 17, 2020, the provincial government announced a new plan that maps the next steps forward in BC’s economic recovery.  The Plan identified $1.5 B in provincial economic recovery spending measures that respond to immediate needs.  The news release included a backgrounder that identified funding and support in the following areas;

  • Building a Resilient Future
  • Climate Action and CleanBC
  • Investing in Tourism for British Columbians
  • Supporting Businesses
  • Investing in Technology and Innovation
  • Investing in Community Infrastructure
  • Investing in Jobs and Training for British Columbians
  • Safe Restart funding for Local Governments (Federal Safe Restart Agreement)

Investing in Community Infrastructure - $418M of the $1.5B in provincial economic recovery spending

  • $100M Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (application based)
    • $30m - community economic resilience
    • $20m - develop tourism infrastructure
    • $20m - economic recovery for rural communities
    • $20m - heritage infrastructure (includes indigenous)
    • $10M - Aboriginal Head Start program – outdoor play spaces/learning programs
    • $27M - new COVID-19 Resilience Fund (Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – 100% funding 80% ($109m fed) & 20% ($27M prov)
  • $19M – tourism infrastructure for small, tourism-dependent municipalities
  • $37M – Ecosystem conservation and watershed restoration
  • $26M – Highways infrastructure – provincial side roads/forest service roads
  • $21M – highway culverts, creek channel, erosion protection
  • $26M – Bamfield highway improvements
  • $17M – Improvements to active transportation – trails, local paths, rail trails
  • $16M – Small rural airports
  • $40M – Ports of Nanaimo/Prince Rupert upgrades
  • $75M – connectivity for rural communities
  • $15M – connectivity improvements for highways and rest stops

Additional information is anticipated in the coming weeks to further clarify funding allocations and how funding will be delivered.

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