Canada’s rural communities are essential to this country’s economy and quality of life. They drive key industries—from agriculture to manufacturing to natural resources—and provide vital services that families and workers need. All that while driving nearly one-third of Canada’s economy.

Rural communities also face unique challenges—geography, climate, demographics, and more. These challenges can’t be solved with cookie-cutter approaches. Local leaders are tackling them head-on, making the most of the outdated tools available.

This election, FCM is calling on all federal parties to commit to building a "rural lens" into the heart of the federal government—bringing rural realities to the table, and modernizing federal tools to empower rural leaders to build better lives.

Rural issues matter to us all. If Canada is going to reach its full potential, every community needs the right tools and opportunities to thrive.

This is what we’re calling for:

Bring rural realities to the table.

  • Adapt federal programs and policies to rural realities so smaller communities can respond directly to local priorities and needs.
  • Seek rural municipalities’ expertise on federal issues—from infrastructure program design to promoting trade that drives rural economic development.

Ensure new investments in broadband turn into reliable Internet connections for rural, remote and northern communities.

  • Maintain or exceed new federal broadband investments.
  • Commit to clear standards and timelines to meet CRTC speed targets (50/10 Mbps download/upload), and ensure rural communities don’t fall behind.
  • Ensure affordability and accessibility in hard-to-reach areas match that of urban areas. 

Modernize funding tools that rural communities rely on.

  • Double the federal Gas Tax Fund transfer that supports thousands of rural infrastructure projects every year—from roads and bridges to water and waste systems.

Promote rural economic development, in partnership with local leaders.

  • Engage municipalities directly to develop rural economic growth strategies.
  • Leverage existing programs and policies—such as regional economic development offices—to strengthen rural economic development.

Read our news release: Election 2019: Rural communities seek progress for Canadians

Quick facts
National GDP generated in non-metro areas
Canadians living outside census metropolitan areas
Canadians who can’t access a reliable Internet connection
© 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities