The Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Big City Mayors' Caucus Chair Don Iveson issued the following statement at the close of a series of meetings between Canadian mayors, the Prime Minister, and federal cabinet ministers.
"Canada's big city mayors are working every day to build better cities for Canadians.
"The upcoming federal budget is a critical opportunity to ensure Canadians benefit from a direct partnership between federal and local governments. Our priorities, and those of our federal partners, must remain focused on improving the lives of Canadians in tangible ways.
"That begins with building transit systems that get families to and from home faster. Ensuring those systems grow with urban populations often requires planning to start years in advance. All across the country mayors are preparing the next phases of major transit projects, but need certainty to drive those plans forward. A long-term, predictable, and permanent funding mechanism for public transit across Canada will empower cities to deliver shorter commutes now and in the future-without interruption.
"Local governments are also working on the front lines every day to keep communities resilient in the face of a changing climate. Disasters such as flood or wildfire can disrupt or destroy businesses, farms, homes and lives. That is why we are calling for increased support for the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, to ensure Canadians are kept safe.
"Finally, we believe it is time to modernize the federal-municipal relationship, to ensure the local concerns of families are being heard in Ottawa.
"Too often, local governments are excluded from the federal negotiating table when national projects begin. Yet, Canada's big cities are responsible for delivering the tangible change that families and workers need to live better lives.
"Budget 2019 provides an opportunity to commit to a new intergovernmental forum for federal-municipal dialogue. Our vision for this forum was well received today and we look forward to working with our federal counterparts to make it a reality.
"We thank the Prime Minister and his cabinet members for meeting with us today. Our growing relationship and continued cooperation will ensure that Canada's cities can continue to deliver vital outcomes that families and workers expect."
Don Iveson is Chair of the Big City Mayors' Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of the City of Edmonton. FCM is the national voice of local government, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of Canada's population.