Our cities and communities are where Canadians are living out the realities of COVID-19. These are also the places where a strong national recovery will need to take root. And Budget 2021 should build on proven tools—to create jobs and drive progress in communities of all sizes across the country.
1. Build on proven infrastructure tools—to drive recovery in communities of all sizes.
Implementing the March 25 commitment to grow the Gas Tax Fund transfer (as the Canada Community Building Fund) will empower municipalities of all sizes to kickstart job-creating infrastructure projects—whether that’s fixing a bridge or upgrading a community centre. Expanding the successful Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund will unlock local projects to make our communities more resilient to new climate extremes.
2. Scale up the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) to protect vulnerable Canadians.
By redeploying distressed buildings, available land and modular housing, the new RHI is on track to deliver safe and affordable homes to 4,700 Canadians facing homelessness in this pandemic. Let’s build on this success story to deliver permanent housing to at least 24,000 more vulnerable people.
3. Apply a rural lens to ensure a truly nationwide post-COVID recovery.
That means prioritizing tools, like the Gas Tax Fund, that directly empower rural leaders to meet local needs. It also means optimizing other tools—like removing the project-size threshold for disaster mitigation funding, and growing the rural and remote stream of Canada’s homelessness strategy.
4. Address economic anxiety in western communities.
FCM’s Western Economic Solutions Task Force has advanced concrete recommendations designed to promote regional economic development, strengthen trade and transportation infrastructure, and support western economic diversification on the road to the federal net-zero emissions target.
5. Tackle remaining municipal operating budget shortfalls so we can gear up for recovery.
That means working on a durable follow-up to emergency funding provided through the Safe Restart Agreement, and the solution must once again bring provinces and territories to the table as well.
For our full recommendations for Budget 2021, see our submission to the Finance Minister.
FCM’s budget recommendations in the news:
- In pre-budget request, cities ask Liberals for $7 billion for rapid-housing program
- Investment in western communities needs to be key to federal budget