April 23, 2020

Ottawa – Pushed to the brink of financial crisis, municipalities nationwide are calling for emergency federal funding to continue supporting Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic. That call comes as an urgent written appeal today from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

"From turning arenas into safe shelters to deferring property taxes, municipal leaders are working flat-out to support Canadians through this pandemic," said FCM President Bill Karsten. "But with new expenses, staggering drops in revenue and no freedom to run deficits, municipalities need emergency funding to keep essential services going strong.

FCM’s data shows municipalities facing a minimum of $10-15 billion in near-term, non-recoverable losses due to COVID-19. That figure includes foregone property taxes, utility charges and user fees—including an estimated $400 million each month from lost transit ridership alone. At the same time, municipalities are taking unprecedented steps to support public health and safety.

Cities and communities are major economic drivers for Canada. The emerging crisis represents a destabilizing force for our national economy and the daily lives of all Canadians. In the absence of significant action from either provincial or federal governments to address severe revenue shortfalls resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, FCM is calling on all orders of government to work together in partnership, starting today with an appeal to national leadership.

To fill the gap FCM urges at least $10 billion in emergency operating funding. This includes at least $7.6 billion in direct federal allocations to all municipalities, plus $2.4 billion for those with transit systems. This core would be supplemented with additional funds for municipalities facing extraordinary challenges supporting isolation and good health among vulnerable populations.

"Emergency funding for municipalities is the next step to get Canadians through this pandemic," said Karsten. "From fire and ambulance to safe transit for essential workers, this is about delivering vital services when people need them the most. We’re all in this together, and our municipal-federal partnership can help carry Canadians through this crisis—and be ready, when the time comes, to drive the economic recovery they’ll be counting on."

Download: Protecting vital municipal services: Urgent recommendations to address the financial crisis in our cities and communities due to COVID-19

For more information: FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, media@fcm.ca

Municipal finance
Public safety
© 2020 Federation of Canadian Municipalities