Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'm very pleased to be joined by my deputy and associate deputy.
I should say at the outset, we have been tremendously well served—the Canadian people and the government—by the hard-working talent at the department, particularly with the economic action plan. They have worked incredibly hard and done an outstanding job.
I want at the outset to start on a non-partisan front, as I always do, Mr. Chair, and compliment the leader of the opposition for his shuffle of his shadow cabinet and the addition of Bonnie Crombie, not only as critic but also as a member of this committee. Welcome.
I have spoken to this committee many times over the past year on the Government of Canada's commitments to Canadians. Specifically, our Government remains committed to stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and supporting Canadian families through Canada's Economic Action Plan.
Since we announced the economic action plan in January 2009, the government has worked closely with provinces, territories, and municipalities to green-light projects and to get work under way. As announced in budget 2010, the Government of Canada has committed to almost 16,000 projects across the country, of which 12,000 have begun or in fact have been completed. Construction is under way in every region of the country. Project managers have told my department that work has begun or is completed on close to 3,250 projects worth over $12.9 billion. As we head into this construction season, these numbers are increasing each and every day.
Members, our funding matches the pace at which funding partners build their infrastructure projects. Provinces and municipalities manage these projects, and we will reimburse costs after claims are submitted. I should note that in many cases work has begun on projects, but the claims haven't been submitted yet. It shows that the municipalities and provinces in question are putting all their efforts into making things happen on the ground. We have been urging our partners to get these bills in as soon as possible. To meet the cashflow needs of the project proponents, we are carrying forward $1.4 billion from the past fiscal year to match the pace of construction of our partners and will reimburse them this fiscal year when we receive their claims.
One of the primary goals of the action plan was to create and protect jobs. Finance Canada indicates that the plan has contributed to the maintenance and creation of over 130,000 jobs since July 2009. It is estimated that about 45% of the jobs created or maintained by January 2010 have been in the manufacturing and construction industries.
Last Wednesday the Conference Board of Canada released its report indicating that if it were not for the boost in infrastructure spending Ontario's economy would have lost an additional 70,000 jobs in 2009, and in 2010, when spending peaks, another 40,000 jobs will be added to the payrolls in the province. That is a report commissioned by the Conference Board of Canada by Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Year one of the Economic Action Plan was two-fold: it introduced new infrastructure funding, and it accelerated existing funding. We introduced the $4 billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, which has resulted in almost 4,000 new projects across the country. Close to 300 of these have been completed. That's improvements to 300 roads, parks and trails, cultural facilities and more that had not been started this time last year.
A thousand more projects will be completed in the coming months. We transferred $699 million to the provinces and territories through the provincial-territorial base funding initiative. For every province that could match the accelerated funding, we have provided it. That's money for highways, for green energy, for public transit, water, waste water, and that has been made available much earlier than expected.
Overall, with the accelerated approval under Building Canada, we have committed nearly $9.6 billion to more than 6,000 projects since the launch of Canada's economic action plan. That means that since January 2009, Infrastructure Canada has committed funding to an average of 16 projects per day, every single day. I'm proud of our achievements in designing, launching, and implementing an infrastructure program faster than has ever been done before.
We couldn't have done it alone. We worked very closely with provinces and territories to make things happen, as well as municipalities in every corner of the country.
With respect to transport, nowhere has our government been more clear about our commitment to safety and security than with respect to air security. For countries like Canada, who take terrorism very seriously, the attack on December 25 was a stark reminder that we must remain vigilant. That's why in the weeks following our government took additional steps to strengthen aviation security. We announced new body screeners and strengthened explosive trace detection capabilities. We announced our intention to develop a passenger behaviour observation program and we introduced measures to meet new U.S. rules for U.S.-bound flights from Canada. And on February 25 we announced an additional $1.5 million over five years for CATSA.
I'll turn it over to my colleague, Rob Merrifield.