The president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Scott Pearce, issued the following statement as the FCM Board of Directors convenes this week.
“As Canada faces multiple national challenges, municipalities and municipal leaders are taking action for Canadians directly in the communities they call home. Local infrastructure projects that support more housing, resilience planning, long-term emissions reductions technology to enhance safety in the face of a changing climate, and laying the foundations for communities to grow—these are all critical and expanding responsibilities for local governments.
“The reality of evolving municipal leadership was once again underscored in the wake of a record wildfire season that displaced thousands of Canadians in Canada’s north and beyond. Our meetings this week were planned to take place in person in Yellowknife, offering an opportunity to visit Canada’s proud northern regions. As a result of the very real threat to Yellowknife in recent weeks, the Board decided to convene virtually rather than risk interfering with the important response planning of local officials. The FCM Board of Directors also passed an important motion calling for renewed federal action to respond to wildfires and other natural disasters that are increasingly harming and displacing Canadians in their communities.
“This terrible circumstance has only reinforced the FCM Board’s firm view that now is the time for a truly nationwide conversation about the future growth of Canadian municipalities and the tools they need to meet interrelated challenges and opportunities that come with it. For too long, cities and communities have worked within an outdated framework that limits their ability to respond to the expanding set of local responsibilities that Canadians expect and deserve from their local government—the order of government closest to their daily lives.
“Our country recently surpassed a population of 40 million and is preparing to welcome half a million new permanent residents every year by 2025. Growth is good, but municipalities must be ready for it and require far more resources to meet the demands of a growing nation than they currently have. For Canada to hit the CMHC target of creating 3.5 million new housing units above the current trend, municipalities need the resources to lay the foundation for building, including core infrastructure like water and wastewater, public transit and community spaces. Municipalities also own and maintain a large proportion of key public infrastructure, and are advocating for the next generation of infrastructure funding in Canada to be designed with municipal realities in mind. Critical tools like the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund help to prepare for a changing climate.
“FCM has a clear mandate from its more than 2,000 member municipalities to drive a national conversation on a new Municipal Growth Framework. Put simply, that means a tool or tools that better link municipal revenue to growth dynamics such as national population or economic growth, and includes a redefinition of how Canada’s three orders of government work together.
“A new Municipal Growth Framework is at the centre of our conversations this week, as a Board and within FCM’s Standing Committees. Every member of FCM’s leadership is focused on this mission, and we look forward to continuing conversations with our counterparts at the federal, provincial and territorial orders of government on how we can improve Canadians’ quality of life as the country grows.”
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites over 2,000 local governments at the national level, representing more than 90 per cent of Canadians in every province and territory.
For more information: FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, email@example.com