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Federal stimulus to hit $28-billion in year two

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by Daily Commercial News

The federal government says its economic stimulus plan is on track to deliver $28 billion in stimulus in its second year.

OTTAWA

The federal government says its economic stimulus plan is on track to deliver $28 billion in stimulus in its second year.

“The Economic Action Plan continues to create jobs and economic growth with more than 26,000 projects underway or completed,” said Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. “With the economic recovery still fragile, our top priority will continue to be the economy.”

The nation’s stimulus plan has created approximately 400,000 jobs since July 2009. Close to 85 per cent of the jobs created since July 2009 have been full-time jobs and more than 90 per cent have been high-quality jobs in high-wage industries, the government reported.

The minister’s recent Report to Canadians on the stimulus plan indicated that the government has shown flexibility by allowing an additional construction season beyond the original March 31, 2011 deadline to complete infrastructure projects under four stimulus funds.

The economic stimulus plan helped create 7,800 provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure projects, including over 4,000 Infrastructure Stimulus Fund projects and more than 1,900 Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects. There have been over 12,000 social housing and First Nations housing projects and over 500 projects to improve infrastructure at colleges and universities across the country. Among the other infrastructure highlights are:

• 272 projects to improve small craft harbours

• 1,850 projects to assist communities hardest hit by the recession through the Community Adjustment Fund

• 140 cultural infrastructure projects

• 220 projects to upgrade facilities at National Parks and National Historic Sites.

• 200 projects to modernize federal laboratories

• Almost 2,000 projects to renovate and repair federal buildings

• Over 300 projects to enhance the accessibility of federal buildings for people with disabilities

Flaherty’s report noted that Canada’s unemployment rate in Canada fell from a peak of 8.7 per cent in August 2009 to 7.6 per cent in December 2010, its lowest level since January 2009.

“This is significantly better than what private sector economists were expecting early in the recession,” the report said. “In early 2009, some private sector economists were forecasting the unemployment rate to peak at as high as 10 per cent.”

The Canadian unemployment rate is currently close to two percentage points below that of the United States, “a phenomenon” not seen in more than three decades. On average, the Economic Action Plan is estimated to have boosted Canada’s gross domestic product growth by 1.3 percentage points per quarter since the second quarter of 2009.

DCN News Services

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