October 28, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Infrastructure, Laurie Scott, announced up to $1.05 billion in combined federal-provincial funding through the new COVID-19 Resilience infrastructure stream of the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). This stream will support the building or renovation of health and safety-related projects in long-term care, education, and municipalities.
Premier Ford and Minister Scott were joined by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark; Minister of Long-Term Care, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton; and Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce. Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford and Minister Clark responded to questions from media regarding the ongoing provincial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream
This afternoon, Premier Ford and Minister Scott announced the COVID-19 Resilience infrastructure stream of the federal government’s ICIP. Through this stream, up to $1.05 billion in combined federal-provincial funding will support the building or renovation of municipal health and safety-related projects. Infrastructure projects in this stream are expected to create hundreds of jobs in the province.
Funding administered under the COVID-19 Resilience ICIP stream will be flexible, in acknowledgement that local communities best understand which projects are most critically needed. Eligible projects will fall under four main categories:
- Community, recreation, health and education renovations (including retrofits, repairs or upgrades to long-term care homes, publicly funded schools and co-located childcare centre facilities, recreation centres or shelters);
- COVID-19 response infrastructure (including heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, new builds or renovations to enable physical distancing);
- Active transportation (including parks and trails);
- Disaster mitigation, adaptation or remediation (such as flood mitigation).
Funding delivered under the COVID-19 Resilience ICIP stream will be allocated as follows:
- Up to $700 million for education-related projects to be nominated and administered by the Ministry of Education;
- $250 million to municipalities through an allocation-based program to address critical local infrastructure needs, including $6.5 million that will be directed toward Indigenous and on-reserve education, through the Ministry of Infrastructure in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Indigenous Affairs.
- Up to $100 million for long-term care projects to be identified and administered by the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
Applications for the COVID-19 Resilience ICIP stream will open the week of November 16th. Eligible projects must begin by September 30, 2021 and be completed by December 31, 2021.
Questions from Media – Response to COVID-19
Prior to responding to questions, Premier Ford confirmed that Dr. Steini Brown, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, would be releasing updated COVID modeling tomorrow, October 29th. He suggested that the modeling demonstrates the effectiveness of Ontario’s tightened public health restrictions.
Access to Flu Immunization
In response to questions about reports of Ontarians having difficulty obtaining their flu shot, Premier Ford explained that because flu vaccines are typically ordered a year in advance, COVID was not taken into account when Ontario originally ordered vaccines for this flu season. In response to COVID-19, the province ordered an additional 300,000 doses. The Premier reiterated his confidence that Ontario will have enough doses of flu vaccine for everyone who wants a flu shot. The province will also be prioritizing flu vaccine distribution in long-term care, and rural and Indigenous communities.
Extension of Commercial Evictions Ban
When asked whether Ontario plans to extend the current ban on commercial evictions, Minister Clark confirmed that the government is working to ensure that the evictions ban continues. He reiterated that the Ontario government wants to do everything possible to assist businesses, adding that there will be more information in the coming weeks.