OTTAWA, ON – Municipal leaders from across Canada met today at the Resolutions Plenary of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) 2021 Annual Conference, where members debated and passed four critical resolutions on issues of concern for municipalities and local governments.
1. Strengthening Canada’s hate speech laws: This resolution calls on the federal government to address hate speech in two ways: through legislation that clarifies and strengthens the definition of hate speech including recognizing the harmful effect of hate symbols, and through engagement with all orders of government to address the root causes of hate speech. This resolution was brought forward by the Town of Collingwood, Ontario.
“Acts of hate and discrimination take place in countless communities every day, but local leaders can’t tackle these issues alone,” said Garth Frizzell, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. “FCM is calling on the federal government to be a partner in addressing these issues head-on to ensure that the places we call home are more accepting and inclusive now and for future generations.”
2. Emergency federal support for inter-community passenger bus service: This resolution focuses on the urgent need for the federal government to implement emergency inter-community passenger bus funding that can be made available to providers as early as this summer. The resolution also calls upon the federal government to swiftly implement a long-term, comprehensive plan for inter-community passenger bus transportation in Canada. The resolution was brought forward on an emergency basis, with support from the FCM Executive Committee, in response to the recent closures or reductions of regional bus routes across the country, including Greyhound Canada.
“Businesses and citizens rely on public transportation and bus services like Greyhound,” said Frizzell. “These passenger bus services are critical for our local and national economies, and for maintaining a vibrant and flourishing rural Canada. These systems are also integral to a transit network that is equitable and accessible—they are disproportionately used by women, Indigenous people, students, seniors, and persons with disabilities. This resolution recognizes that inter-community bus services must be part of a vital mix of transportation options for Canadians.”
3. Expand the Rural & Remote stream of the Reaching Home program: This resolution urges the federal government to support the rural and remote-focused stream of the Reaching Home program by: increasing dedicated funding from $11 million per year to $50 million per year, gathering improved data on rural housing and homelessness, and ensuring that updates to the National Housing Strategy increase support for social and affordable housing in rural and remote communities. This resolution was brought forward by the Town of Perth, Ontario.
“Housing, homelessness, and the need for a safe and affordable place to call home was a critical part of our discussions throughout FCM’s Annual Conference,” said Frizzell. “Housing affordability is one of the major challenges Canadians are facing right now. The recent federal commitments on housing were important first steps, and we can build on that progress with increased targeted supports for ending homelessness and improving housing options in rural and remote communities.”
4. Preventing accidental 9-1-1 calls on personal devices: This resolution calls on the federal government to reduce the impact that pocket-dialled and dropped 9-1-1 calls are having on municipal resources by: requiring carriers and companies offering cellular products and services to educate consumers on preventing accidental calls, modelling best practices through departmental communications, and working with the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) to develop a strategy to mitigate municipal impacts. This resolution was brought forward by the City of Port Moody, British Columbia.
"Municipal governments play a critical role in oversight of the first responders that keep communities safe,” said Frizzell. “Taking this step is an important part of ensuring that resources and attention are spent on emergencies and not on pocket dials or dropped calls.”
FCM is committed to reflecting the needs and interests of our more than 2,000 members from coast to coast to coast. The resolutions process is a powerful tool for ensuring FCM’s policy remains current with membership and the challenges municipal leaders face on the ground as they work to serve their communities.
For more information: FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, firstname.lastname@example.org