Federal address pledges a more inclusive & sustainable Canada

Addressing UBCM delegates from Ottawa, federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson offered his government’s support for local governments in BC in the very difficult, indeed extraordinary times in which we find ourselves.

Minister Wilkinson acknowledged that local government leaders have seen first-hand the effects of this pandemic in BC communities. “Disruptions like this disproportionately affect our most vulnerable populations: low income earners, women, indigenous peoples, racialized people, people living in remote communities, and our youth,” he said

Local governments are on front lines of the challenges resulting from COVID-19, said Minister Wilkinson. “The federal government wants to work with you in addressing the challenges and vulnerabilities that the pandemic has revealed. You have our support.”

Specifically, in the Safe Restart Program, Ottawa has pledged up to $2 billion for COVID operating costs for 6-8 months. BC and Canada last week announced an allocation transit in BC over $1 billion.

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home,” Minister Wilkinson stated with reference to the $1 billion Rapid Housing initiative announced this week that will rapidly create affordable housing units.

“As we focus on the crisis of COVID-19, we cannot lose sight of the other challenge looming on the horizon: climate change,” he said. The Liberal government will be bringing forward an emissions plan that exceeds the 2030 Paris Agreement. Also, he said, there will be legally binding 5-year targets leading to net-zero by 2050.

"The most important lesson is how effective we can be when we work together at a common cause,” he said. “We must build stronger and more resilient communities together.”

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