Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) President Garth Frizzell issued the following statement in response to the Fall Economic Statement from the Government of Canada.
“Today’s Fall Economic Statement sends encouraging signals on what’s to come in the recovery plan for municipalities supporting Canadians through this pandemic—and includes welcome new investment for those experiencing homelessness. But it also illustrates the need for more concrete commitments to continued operating support for local services and transit systems.
“We welcome the federal focus on supporting Canadians through COVID’s second wave. This is what local governments are doing in cities and communities of all sizes, and we’ll need a strong federal partner as this pandemic evolves. We especially welcome today’s commitment to stronger action to help Canadians experiencing homelessness, and the Reaching Home strategy is a proven, community-based approach. To tackle chronic homelessness, the next step must be to scale up the federal-municipal Rapid Housing Initiative, which is turning available land and buildings into permanent housing for vulnerable Canadians.
“Our critical priority now must be to ensure municipalities have the support they need to protect frontline services and transit systems. The Safe Restart Agreement provided emergency funding at the deepest moment of COVID’s first wave, but we’ll need successor arrangements as pandemic impacts stretch through 2021. Municipal budget cycles are happening now, and without a timely response from federal and provincial governments, local leaders will be back to contemplating service cuts amid this second wave, threatening Canadians and the recovery.
“Looking ahead, this Statement opens doors to governments working together to build a better post-COVID Canada. We welcome new commitments to invest in residential energy retrofits, and municipalities stand ready help achieve the national goal of planting two billion trees. Let these be just first steps in tackling our national climate challenge—by scaling up local climate solutions and transit systems. Similarly, we welcome the intent to support an inclusive recovery by investing in rental housing construction, community safety and regional airports—and by supporting solutions that address mental health and substance use challenges and violence against Indigenous women.
"All governments are focused on tackling urgent pandemic challenges, and we can do this in ways that deliberately promote a strong and inclusive recovery. FCM has shared recommendations for a recovery that’s firmly rooted in our cities and communities. Our proposals bring orders of government together to create jobs, promote equality and tackle climate change. And municipalities are ready and willing to help lead that effort—in the places where Canadians live, work and raise families.”
For more information please contact:
FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, email@example.com