The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) President Joanne Vanderheyden issued the following statement after FCM’s Board of Directors meetings.
“After two long years of pandemic challenges, Canadians are looking to their governments to lead them into a strong recovery. This recovery needs to take root in our communities—the places where people live, work and raise families. The upcoming federal budget is an opportunity to lay the right foundation.
“Municipalities are ready to do our part. To drive the recovery Canadians deserve, all orders of government need to work together and strengthen our partnership. Last November, FCM shared its roadmap for a more inclusive and sustainable recovery, Partners for Canada’s Recovery. Last week, the Board strategized together how to bring these solutions to life for Canadians on priorities like tackling the housing crisis, building strong communities of all sizes and achieving Canada’s climate targets.
“Housing is the bedrock of safe, livable communities and is essential to our economic growth. Municipalities are ready to play a key role in boosting the right kind of affordable housing supply in Canada by working with our federal partners to optimize existing programs to build more housing faster. Scaling up investments into proven programs like the Rapid Housing Initiative can also make a big difference on the ground and help us to finally achieve our shared goal of ending chronic homelessness.
“To guarantee an inclusive recovery, we need to strengthen communities of all sizes, from coast to coast to coast. Renewing our infrastructure is a time-tested way to reach this goal – and create the jobs our recovery needs. Investing in municipal water and wastewater infrastructure would offer the opportunity to come out of this pandemic with a positive, inclusive nationwide legacy: clean water for all. To also ensure our communities are protected from new weather extremes brought by climate change, this budget needs to make investment in climate-resilient infrastructure a priority. Rapidly increasing investments in the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund would help protect communities across the country.
“Municipalities are not only on the front lines of new climate extremes; they’re at the forefront of action to bring emissions down. Together, they influence more than half of Canada’s GHG emissions, and as key partners in reducing those emissions, we recommend building on recent investments—including through the Green Municipal Fund—to drive high-value capital projects and capacity building at the local level that will accelerate climate action and help reach net-zero by 2050.
“Budget 2022 is critical. On the cusp of the recovery, this is the moment to empower communities with tools to create jobs in ways that tackle key national challenges, from the housing and climate crises to rural growth. But no municipality can lean fully into recovery from a place of financial instability. In Canada’s big cities, federal leadership and our partnership helped us find solutions to 2022 public transit shortfalls. However, many municipalities are grappling with retroactive contract policing costs resulting from the new federally negotiated RCMP labour agreement. This requires urgent federal attention.
“We leave these meetings with a plan to drive that urgent message home with our federal partners—in Ottawa, and directly in the communities that we serve together. Municipal leaders are already working with their local members of parliament and sharing our vision for an inclusive recovery. Every day, we see the tremendous progress the federal-municipal partnership drives for Canadians. FCM and municipal leaders across the country are ready to do their part.
Read FCM’s Partners for Canada’s Recovery.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites nearly 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