Ottawa–Canada’s big-city mayors wrapped their weeklong summit with federal leaders today by delivering a clear message: cities are central partners in the strong, nationwide recovery Canadians will need after COVID-19.
“Wednesday’s landmark federal transit commitment recognizes that cities are where we’re going to get our economy moving again after COVID,” said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, who chairs the Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). “As we work through challenges like municipal operating and transit shortfalls, we’re encouraged to see all federal parties recognizing the key role cities will play in getting Canada back to a position of strength.”
The winter BCMC meeting is a critical moment for Canada’s urban leaders to tackle the challenges facing cities ahead of the spring federal budget. They met throughout the week with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Official Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Associate Minister of Finance Mona Fortier and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.
This week’s meeting schedule was boosted by the federal announcement of major transit funding, including a permanent transit fund—responding to years of advocacy led by FCM. Investing in transit creates jobs, shortens commutes, reduces emissions and supports economic growth across the country. That is why the BCMC welcomed the announcement from the Prime Minister as a truly transformative measure—one that will permanently and predictably support Canadians directly in their communities.
The BCMC summit meetings also covered strategies to end chronic homelessness, including by scaling up the Rapid Housing Initiative and Reaching Home homelessness strategy. To fuel a broad-based, community-rooted recovery, they recommended building on proven tools like the Gas Tax Fund transfer and FCM’s Green Municipal Fund. They also stressed the need for continued support for transit operating shortfalls so cities can gear up for recovery.
“We know there are still challenges, but we are also optimistic that there are solutions. Cities and communities will be ready to co-pilot the strong recovery Canadians will need on the other side of this pandemic,” said Iveson. “With FCM, we’ve built a plan that creates jobs, promotes equality and achieves climate objectives, starting with modern transit and more affordable housing.”
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites more than 2,000 local governments at the national level, representing more than 90 per cent of Canadians in every province and territory. FCM’s Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) convenes the mayors of 22 major Canadian cities.
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