Good afternoon, and thank you for inviting me to speak with you today.
The health and well-being of Canadians have been and will continue to be the top priority of our government, but this pandemic has affected more than our personal health. It's having a profound effect on our economy.
Our government's historic plan, Investing in Canada, is to build a more prosperous, resilient and sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.
Over the last three months, we've assessed and approved hundreds of projects. We've talked with every province and territory about their changing infrastructure needs and priorities. We've put in a new chair at the Canada Infrastructure Bank, Michael Sabia, a leading businessman from Quebec who headed the Caisse de dépôt. Just this month, we announced an MOU with the Government of Alberta on an exciting proposal for a Calgary-Banff rail line. We're funding electric buses, renewable energy and water projects, as well as better broadband that will help create good jobs and help communities get back on their feet.
Our Government understands the challenging situation that cities and towns are in. I have spoken with provinces, territories, mayors, and indigenous leaders, and I’ve heard about the financial pressures this pandemic has imposed. That is why we are looking at ways to help them safely restart their economies—without losing sight of our long-term goals: to create jobs, and build a stronger, cleaner and healthier and more connected country.
Our investing in Canada plan is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in five key priorities: public transit, green, social, trade and transportation, and rural and northern communities infrastructure. We are making great progress.
Together, the 20 federal departments and agencies that deliver funding through the plan have already committed over $68 billion, investing in projects across the country and making a huge difference in the lives of Canadians. Most of these projects are either under way or completed—projects like the ones I was happy to announce this morning in Waterloo. There are investments in public transit and active transportation, from improvements to bus shelters and pedestrian crossings, to new and expanded walking and cycling routes. These will help create jobs, get more people moving and make our cities and towns better places to live. It was great to be able to make this announcement with the provincial government as well as with the municipality.
We are also proposing to introduce a new COVID-19 funding stream that would allow provinces and territories to redirect over $3 billion of existing federal funding to projects that can start quickly.
Communities must have the resources they need to get projects going during this pandemic. As announced on June 1, we pushed out all of this year's funding to municipalities through the federal gas tax fund, and we provided it in one single payment last week. It's a first step to help ease the immediate cash crunch.
We believe that better is possible when it comes to maximizing the value of infrastructure investments. That's why my mandate letter includes instructions from the Prime Minister to look at best practices globally when it comes to assessing and funding infrastructure needs. I firmly believe that a national infrastructure assessment, which they have established in the U.K., would benefit our country and our long-term infrastructure planning.
I also believe that there may be room to explore outcomes in a broader sense, so we consider infrastructure projects as part of overall plans to achieve outcomes for Canadians. The idea is to better connect national infrastructure priorities with long-term provincial and municipal strategies, while also improving accountability for all orders of government, for example from provinces and municipalities for gas-tax funding.
COVID has also shown that we need to ensure we are building resilient and inclusive communities. This includes affordable, high-speed broadband across the country, including for people living in rural communities and for first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples; housing for all; and more access to open spaces and nature.
Finally, I can assure you that I'm focused on getting value for taxpayers. We need to ensure that every dollar does double and triple duty, with outcomes that benefit our climate, marginalized populations and disadvantaged communities while creating jobs and growing our economy.
What we build and where we build matters. That is why we're focused not simply on projects being shovel-ready but also on ensuring they are shovel-worthy.
We're contributing to a safe restart for our economy, helping communities get back on their feet, supporting them to get more infrastructure built—such as high-speed broadband, public transit, affordable housing and clean water—creating jobs and building a stronger, cleaner, healthy and more connected country. When Canada builds, Canada grows.
I look forward to answering your questions.