The president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Taneen Rudyk, issued the following statement at the conclusion of the FCM Board of Directors meetings and Advocacy Days discussions in Ottawa, ON.
“FCM wrapped the year up with another successful edition of our Advocacy Days from December 6 to 7, held just prior to our Board of Directors' Meeting on December 8. This consisted of FCM leading energetic engagement between municipal leaders and elected representatives from all major federal parties—including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Numerous advocacy meetings were held between municipal leaders and MPs across government and opposition benches, with a focus on addressing the shared issues that our communities are facing.
“Amid an uncertain economic outlook and the aftermath of the pandemic, our communities are rising to this task of meeting Canada’s most pressing challenges. Now is the time for reinvigorated partnership and collaboration between all orders of government to face these challenges head-on.
“This includes building the right kind of housing supply and addressing the crisis of chronic homelessness, ensuring the next generation of much-needed infrastructure is designed to meet local needs, prioritizing support for community safety and wellbeing, and the crucial need to put in place robust and long-lasting climate adaptation and mitigation measures.
“Our cities and communities continue to grow, but public infrastructure is having a hard time keeping up. With local governments owning and maintaining approximately 60 percent of vital public infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and waterworks, the need to reinvest has never been clearer. Only with this new infrastructure in place can we ensure a strong foundation for growing communities, and the much-needed supply of new housing.
“FCM recognizes that expired and over-subscribed federal funding programs must be renewed or replaced and is calling for a permanent doubling of the Canada Community Building Fund, to ensure municipalities have a stable and dependable source of funding to keep essential infrastructure in a state of good repair.
“Municipal leaders are also advocating for the swift launch of the Housing Accelerator Fund to remove barriers to housing supply, and for the scaling up of essential programs including the Rapid Housing Initiative and Reaching Home to ensure vulnerable populations are safely housed alongside essential wraparound supports.
This need for new infrastructure is matched by the need to better protect communities from the extreme weather events being fuelled by a changing climate. New infrastructure must be resilient, but also make better use of climate data, integrate climate risks in planning, and become more collaborative in design. That’s why it is critical that the recent top-up to the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund be totalled to $2 billion immediately and $1 billion each year thereafter, to meet the scale of the challenge represented by severe climate events.
“Additionally, we remain closely focussed on resolving the pressing issue of retroactive costs stemming from the recent RCMP bargaining agreement. This remains a major issue for many of our small and rural communities, and we will continue to advocate strongly for a full absorption of retroactive costs by the federal government.
“Ahead of Budget 2023, now is the time to advocate—and to push hard for communities so they can flourish in the years to come. FCM will continue to advance detailed, pragmatic recommendations in the weeks and months to come.
“Lastly, FCM’s Board of Directors wishes to recognize the significance of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which was marked by a moment of silence at our Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, December 6. As we commemorated the fourteen lives cut short at the École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989 this week, the tragic facts now coming to light in Winnipeg remind us of the need for continued, effective action against gender-based violence, in all its forms.”
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites more than 2,100 local governments at the national level, representing more than 92 per cent of Canadians in every province and territory.
For more information: FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, email@example.com