On Jan. 10, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the new Community Development Trust program.
The $1-billion program was promoted as being “designed to help provinces and territories assist communities and workers suffering economic hardship caused by the current volatility in global financial and commodities markets.”
Bill C-41, the legislation that set up the funding of the trust, was passed by the House of Commons and the Senate, and received Royal Assent in early February.
The agreement with the Province of Ontario was signed at the end of March, but we have yet to hear from them what specific initiatives will be undertaken.
Ontario will receive $358 million over three years. It is encouraging to note the official announcement by the prime minister and the premier outlined that “specific measures will be undertaken to help communities in Northwestern Ontario which have been hard hit by layoffs in the forestry sector.”
With increasing challenges in other parts of the province, we all must stay vigilant to ensure our voices continue to be heard.
It’s crunch time for Northwestern Ontario as many laid-off forestry workers are nearing the end of their Employment Insurance benefits.
These working families deserve to know what new programs will be available to help them through the difficult days ahead so they can plan appropriately for the future.
These are challenging times for Northwestern Ontario families and I will continue to work with my fellow local elected colleagues, Joe Comuzzi, Michael Gravelle, and Bill Mauro, to ensure these funds are distributed as quickly as possible.
It is my hope these dollars will help create new opportunities for our workers and their families.