The following is the full text of a Government of Canada and Government of Ontario News Release and Backgrounder dated July 24, 2008:
The governments of Canada and Ontario today announced the signing of an infrastructure Framework Agreement worth more than $6.2 billion under Building Canada, the Government of Canada's long-term infrastructure plan. The Plan will help address infrastructure needs and priorities in Ontario until 2014.
The Honorable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable George Smitherman, Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Dwight Duncan, Ontario Minister of Finance, participated in today's announcement.
The governments of Canada and Ontario also identified improvements on Highway 11/17 in northwestern Ontario, expanding rural broadband coverage in southern and eastern Ontario, and rapid transit in the Waterloo region as initial priorities that the two governments will work together on under Building Canada. In addition, the Government of Canada has previously announced up to $50 million to the HELP Clean Water (Huron Elgin London Project) and Ontario today also committed up to $50 million for the project as well. Both governments have also previously announced up to $50 million each towards the expansion of the Ottawa Congress Centre.
"The Building Canada infrastructure plan will help support economic growth, a cleaner environment and the overall prosperity of all Ontarians," said Minister Cannon. "Substantial infrastructure funding was long overdue in this country and we're getting it done. Clean drinking water, safer highways, expanded public transit and improved connectivity are all clear examples of the concrete results that Building Canada will deliver to the people, cities and communities of Ontario."
"The Framework Agreement will help keep Ontarians green and connected – through investments in transit, roads, and surfing the Internet. The McGuinty government is committed to building a better quality of life for Ontarians, and this agreement is a clear example of how we all benefit when the governments of Ontario and Canada work together," said Minister Smitherman.
"As Canada's Minister of Finance, I appreciate the importance of investing in infrastructure, that's why we are making the largest single federal investment in public infrastructure since World War Two, that's why we made federal gas tax funding permanent, and that's why we have established the Government of Canada's first public, private partnership office," said Minister Flaherty.
"The funding under the Framework Agreement will help create good-paying jobs and strengthen our economic competitiveness," said Minister Duncan. "Together, we are making the right investments in Ontario's infrastructure to position this province for future prosperity."
"I'm truly happy we've signed the Framework Agreement with the Province of Ontario," said Canada's Environment Minister John Baird. "It will greatly benefit our cities and communities by helping ensure a more competitive economy, stronger communities, a cleaner environment, and a more prosperous Ontario."
Through its unprecedented $33-billion Building Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada will provide long-term, stable and predictable funding to help meet infrastructure needs across Canada. Building Canada will support a stronger, safer and better country.
For further information on the Building Canada plan, visit www.buildingcanada.gc.ca
The Framework Agreement sets the stage for a collaborative investment in the infrastructure needs in Ontario. Under this Agreement, approximately $3.09 billion from the Building Canada Fund, a centrepiece of the overall plan, will go towards infrastructure initiatives in Ontario through two components: more than $2.73 billion in funding will support larger-scale projects; while under the Communities Component, $362 million in funding will be available for partnership investments in communities with populations less than 100,000. Ontario will match federal funding, meaning that more than $6 billion will be made available for investment in the province's infrastructure.
Further, under the Plan, the Government of Canada will provide $25 million in base funding annually, for a total of $175 million through to 2014 for core infrastructure priorities in Ontario. A further $2.98 billion will flow to Ontario municipalities through the extension of the federal Gas Tax Fund agreement from 2010 to 2014.
The Canada-Ontario Framework Agreement outlines how the Building Canada Plan will operate in the province. It also establishes a governance framework through which the two governments will work together, in the spirit of open federalism, to identify and address further infrastructure priorities.
In addition to the $6.2 billion of guaranteed funding outlined in this agreement, under Building Canada, Ontario and its municipalities will also have potential access to the Gateways and Border Crossing Fund as well as the Public-Private Partnership Fund. Finally, with the full GST rebate and the Gas Tax Fund, over fifty per cent of the Building Canada Plan flows directly to municipalities to further strengthen local infrastructure priorities.
Through the Framework Agreement, Ontario is building on the success of ReNew Ontario, the province's five-year $30 billion-plus infrastructure investment plan to be completed by 2010. The province is currently developing a long-term comprehensive strategy for the additional investment in infrastructure that Ontario families depend on, totalling at least $60 billion.
Federal financial support for the priority funding initiatives announced today is conditional upon the initiatives meeting all applicable federal eligibility requirements under Building Canada.
Provincial financial support for the priority funding initiatives announced today is conditional upon the initiatives meeting all applicable eligibility requirements under ReNew Ontario and on satisfactory completion of provincial due diligence.
Canada and Ontario's contribution towards HELP Clean Water Project is conditional on the successful completion of a federal and provincial due diligence review of the project, including an analysis of the business case by the Infrastructure Framework Committee.
The contribution is also conditional on the municipalities securing any funding approvals that may be required respectively by federal and provincial Treasury Boards, all applicable environmental assessments, consistency with provincial water policy, and the signing of a contribution agreement that will detail the project elements, schedule, costs, and funding parameters.
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