By Robin MacLennan
Ontario Construction News Editor
A new $1 billion COVID-19 Resilience funding program was announced by the provincial government last week.
Money will be available to municipalities, Indigenous communities, schools, daycare centre and long-term care homes and other community projects “to get shovels in the ground on critical infrastructure that will help communities stop COVID-19 in its tracks and build for the future,” Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference.
“The construction of these projects will create hundreds of jobs, support local businesses and suppliers and improve the quality of life for so many people.”
About $700 million will go to schools to improve H-VAC systems, complete retrofits and repairs at schools and daycare centres. There will be $100 million for minor capital repairs and renovations at long-term care homes and another $250 million for critical local infrastructure projects including:
- Retrofits at public buildings
- Repairs and upgrades to municipal facilities such as firehalls and police stations
- Improving ventilation and H-VAC systems in long-term care homes and schools
- Renovations that will improve physical distancing in shelters and recreation centres
- Helping communities become more resilient to flooding and other natural hazards
The billion-dollar fund announced last week is a joint commitment with provincial and federal governments. The application process will open Nov. 16. All municipalities will receive information directly prior to that date.
“We don’t believe in a one size fits all approach,” Ford said. “We want communities to be able to decide on their priorities because they know their local needs best.
Ford is joining provincial premiers from across Canada, calling on the federal government to step up with additional infrastructure funding.
Ontario has submitted over 760 projects to the federal government, but only half have been approved. That leaves an additional $10 billion in projects waiting for cash.
“We need the federal government to make a renewed commitment to infrastructure,” Ford said. “This is critical to support the long-term recovery of our province and our country.”
Premiers are asking the feds to commit $10 billion per year for the next 10 years “to get shovels in the ground and get communities back on their feet.”
“Here in Ontario, we are going to continue to make strategic investments in infrastructure in every corner of this province,” Ford said.
Details of the “made in Ontario plan to rebuild and recover will be released on Nov. 5 when the provincial government presents the next budget.