The NWT is receiving $14,555,000 to support health-care systems and essential services as part of the federal government’s Safe Restart Agreement, MP Michael McLeod announced Monday in a news release.
The fund is part of a $19 billion federal commitment to “safely restart the economy” to deal with the impacts of the pandemic.
The Safe Restart Agreement aims to support provinces and territories in their health care capacity, contact tracing, securing personal protective equipment, and protecting vulnerable populations in long-term care facilities, among others.
McLeod said the funding will “help with essential public health services, acquiring personal protective equipment and provide support for the increased demands on our health care system, especially for vulnerable populations.”
He also recognized the territorial and federal “shared priority,” of available childcare for parents returning to work.
The agreement is focused on the next six to eight months.
“As we continue to deal with the health and economic challenges of the pandemic here in our Territory and across Canada,” McLeod said, “the government will continue to invest in Canadians.”
“Together, we will build a more resilient Canada – one that is healthier and safer, cleaner and more competitive, and fairer and more inclusive for everyone.”
Premier Caroline Cochrane said on Tuesday she was pleased about the Safe Restart funding, some of which will assist with the costs of the new Covid-19 Coordinating Secretariat.
That new agency has a budget of over $86 million for the period until 2023.
Cochrane said a “portion” of the Safe Restart funding would go towards the costs of the Secretariat and the rest towards health care system expenses, without giving specifics.
“We are currently working with Canada on an additional northern funding stream to address Covid-19 which will also go towards the costs of $31.7 million for the first year of operations of the Secretariat,” Cochrane said.
“We will continue to work with our Federal counterparts to ensure that we can find opportunities to reduce the overall costs to the GNWT associated with our pandemic response.
“Further to that, our investments thus far have paid off. Our health system is safe. Our communities haven’t experienced loss of life as a result of this virus. And our biggest risks are being well-managed.”
– with files from Blair McBride