September 12, 2019

TORONTO – The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) released its Election 2019 recommendations to federal parties today at a media event in Toronto. The platform—titled Building Better Lives—is a call to improve Canadians’ quality of life by empowering the local governments closest to their daily challenges. 

“Municipal leaders are on the ground with Canadians,” said FCM President Bill Karsten. “We understand their daily challenges, and we make the most of limited tools to build solutions—from faster commutes, to more affordable housing, to more climate-resilient neighbourhoods. And we’re showing the federal parties how to work with us to significantly improve people’s quality of life.” 

FCM’s cornerstone recommendation is to permanently double the federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) transfer. Municipalities are responsible for 60 percent of Canada’s public infrastructure, but collect just 10 percent of each Canadian tax dollar. The GTF helps by transferring predictable funds to municipalities to renew roads, bridges, water systems and other core infrastructure. While the GTF model works, its current scale still leaves many vital repairs and upgrades unfunded every year. 

“Because it’s predictable and direct, the GTF empowers us to plan and deliver cost-effective solutions,” said Karsten. “By doubling this year’s transfer, Budget 2019 triggered a surge of work and proved what’s possible with this tool. Permanently doubling the GTF is the most efficient and effective step the next government can take to build better lives, in communities of all sizes.”

FCM’s recommendations reflect the central and growing role local governments play in everyday life: 

  • A permanent public transit funding mechanism would empower municipalities to continue easing gridlock and shortening commutes for workers and families. 
  • FCM’s housing affordability proposals would continue growing the affordable housing supply—while tackling the broader disconnect between rents, home prices and incomes. 
  • New long-term funding for local climate adaptation would protect Canadians from more frequent, severe weather extremes—from wildfires to floods and storm surges. 
  • FCM is urging parties to champion rural and northern communities, by committing to universal Internet access and modernized, streamlined funding tools. 

“All the federal parties are telling people they have the best plan to build better lives,” said Karsten. “As the frontline order of government, that’s what municipalities do every single day. This election, we urge Canadians to think about who’s best placed to make their lives better—and how federal parties will empower their local leaders to deliver the results they want.”

Additional quotes 

“Fundamentally, city governments are builders. Whether it’s through more affordable housing, modern transit, or innovation in climate resilience, we’re building better lives for the people we serve. And with the modernized tools set out in FCM’s platform, we’ll be ready to build the exceptionally livable, competitive, sustainable cities Canadians deserve.” 
—Don Iveson, Chair of FCM’s Big-City Mayors’ Caucus and Mayor of Edmonton

“This platform is a roadmap for how municipalities of all sizes can work together with the next federal government to build better lives for Canadians. Strong, healthy, financially stable, forward-looking cities are key to the continued success of our country. FCM’s plan would modernize how governments work together, in very positive ways, to get more done for Canadians. Better roads, transit, housing—these are things everyone can get behind.”
—John Tory, Mayor of the City of Toronto

“Rural communities help drive Canada’s economy and quality of life, and we’re looking for a federal champion. We’ve made real progress, but we need to see that parties are ready to take the next step. That means universal Internet access, modern funding tools that recognize our realities, and real commitments toward building a rural lens into the heart of government."
—Ray Orb, Chair of FCM’s Rural Forum

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites nearly 2,000 local governments at the national level, representing more than 90 per cent of all Canadians.

Contact:  FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395,  

Download: Building Better Lives: Our Municipal Vision for the 2019 Federal Election


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