British Columbia

B.C. will match $1 billion from Ottawa to help jump-start pandemic economy 

The British Columbia government says it is matching $1 billion in federal government money to address the impacts of COVID-19 and help restart the economy.

Money will go toward helping municipal governments and local transit

British Columbia Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James at a press conference in March 2020. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

The British Columbia government says it is matching $1 billion in federal government money to address the impacts of COVID-19 and help restart the economy.

Premier John Horgan says in a news release the funding will secure some of B.C.'s share of the federal government's $19-billion "Safe Restart'' plan for the country.

It says the money will support local governments and transit operators that have revenue shortfalls created by the pandemic.

Finance Minister Carole James says the federal government's restart program also includes funds to support health care, child care, vulnerable populations and a sick leave program.

James introduced the supplementary estimates in the legislature Wednesday for up to $1 billion to fund the province's portion of municipal and transit services help, depending on the outcome of further federal cost-share discussions.

"If we don't have our transit system back, we're not going to have the ability for people to be able to get back to work," she said Wednesday.

James announced last week that B.C.'s forecasted budget had gone from a surplus to an expected deficit of $12.5 billion because of the pandemic. She confirmed that the $1 billion to match federal funds will add to that deficit.

Horgan has said the province expects a total of $2.2 billion in federal transfers to B.C. under the federal agreement.

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