Mayor Stewart welcomes 2021 budget support for cities grappling with COVID-19 pandemic
The following is a statement from Mayor Kennedy Stewart following the tabling of Canada’s 2021 federal budget:
“Canada’s 2021 Budget is a welcome blueprint for how cities can work directly with the federal government to put investments to work for Canadians in order to get through the COVID-19 pandemic and build back better.
Of note, the federal government is doubling down on its historic direct housing investments to cities like Vancouver with $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative, including 25% with a focus on women’s housing, $567 million to fight homelessness through the Reaching Home program, over $1 billion in new co-investment and innovations funds, and a new national vacant homes tax.
The government is also committing an additional $116 million in new funds for the Substance Use and Addictions Program, which compliments our ongoing work to advance a world-leading ‘Vancouver Model’ of decriminalization of simple possession in our city and the safe supply measures.
Of course, the marquee item is a $6 billion a year investment in a Canada-wide EarlyLearning and Child Care Plan. COVID-19 has shown just how important high quality childcare spaces are to supporting families and our economy. Vancouver has been a childcare leader, on track to build more than 2,300 new spaces by 2024. Directing capital funds directly to Vancouver will mean the government can rapidly fulfil their childcare targets.
Another boost to our local economy is news of a nation-wide roll out of a “digital main street” style program to help small businesses get online as well as funding for a new dedicated B.C. economic development agency.
As always, the City of Vancouver stands ready to put these new commitments to work directly and quickly.”