Today, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors’ Caucus met to discuss the priorities facing Canadians in Canada’s largest cities. Chair of the caucus, Halifax mayor Mike Savage, issued the following statement at the conclusion of the meeting.
“Canada’s mayors are focused on people: the millions of Canadians—families, workers, seniors, students and more—that call cities home. In the midst of difficult national challenges, including a housing and homelessness crisis, increasingly severe weather events brought on by climate change, affordability concerns and more, city leaders are on the ground every day working with the people they serve to address those challenges.
“The challenge of increasing both market and community housing supply is top among city priorities. Cities have an undeniable responsibility to set the conditions for more home building, and to ensure our communities can grow confidently. Community housing, affordable rental, and both market rental and ownership are all part of a housing mix that cities need to thrive. And cities are leading with the tools at their disposal, including rezoning for greater density, building and maintaining essential infrastructure, and working across orders of government to get homes built.
“When it comes to solving Canada’s housing crisis, no order of government can do it alone. Canada’s big cities are looking for progress on our federal-municipal collaboration in service of our communities’ most vulnerable. Making the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) a long-term program is an essential starting point. With more than 10,000 new affordable housing units generated through the program, and more to come, the RHI must continue as a pillar of a modern housing strategy that serves the needs of the non-market housing sector. Further success in ending chronic homelessness likewise depends on scaling-up the Reaching Home program with additional resources to address homeless encampments and making the program permanent. FCM’s BCMC is also calling for boosts to two key programs designed to support both market and non-market affordable rental housing: the Rental Construction Financing Initiative and the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, respectively.
“Increasing Canada’s supply of housing depends on smart investments in the core infrastructure municipalities build and manage. More homes mean more water and wastewater systems, sidewalks, roads, waste removal and more. The BCMC looks forward to more details this fall on the next generation of infrastructure programs, and is united in calling for the Permanent Public Transit Fund to be established in legislation in 2024, with new funding available for planning and design costs and a mechanism to approve projects for capital funding. A new infrastructure plan for Canada must work with cities to ensure Canadians can count on stronger, more climate resilient, and more efficient communities.
“The caucus thanks Canada’s Minister for Housing Infrastructure and Communities, and the Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, for joining us today to discuss the needs of a growing nation and how cities and the federal government can continue to work together to drive solutions to the challenges facing Canadians.
“As Canada’s population crossed the 40 million mark this summer, the leaders of Canada’s biggest cities strongly reiterated during their meeting their support to FCM’s call for a new Municipal Growth Framework. By better linking municipal revenue tools to national growth, Canadians will benefit from communities that can grow confidently. Better gathering places such as community centers and green space; stronger core services such as water and waste removal; healthier and safer cities that reduce their carbon footprint and are prepared for extreme weather: all this and more is possible for Canadians if municipalities are empowered to meet the demands of our growing nation.”
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites over 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, firstname.lastname@example.org