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FCM’s programs and advocacy help secure new tools that empower municipalities to build stronger communities of all sizes. Explore below to find out what’s new with us.

FCM welcomes National Housing Co-Investment Fund announcement

"The launch of the National Housing Strategy (NHS) last fall was a breakthrough, and today's announcement brings its largest component to life. This significant investment puts tools directly in the capable hands of local governments and affordable housing providers.

"These investments are about strengthening our federal-municipal partnership to build a future for Canada where 1.7 million households aren't struggling to find a decent home.  Turning these investments into real outcomes will require sustained collaboration among all partners. With the right tools, local expertise stands ready to repair, retrofit and grow Canada's affordable housing supply. 

"Municipalities are already innovating to support high-impact housing projects — with land contributions, expedited approvals, zoning changes and more. Engaging municipal expertise in the continued design of this fund will be critical to its ability to prioritize high-impact housing projects that reflect local needs. FCM expects deepened engagement and stands ready to work with the federal government to help get the details right.  

"Affordable housing is the bedrock of the livable, inclusive communities we want to build. That's why FCM has worked hard to secure and shape the National Housing Strategy. We commend Minister Duclos for his leadership, and the federal government for their meaningful reengagement in affordable housing."

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal governments, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of the Canadian population. 

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Infrastructure: Municipalities at the heart of nation-building

Jenny Gerbasi, President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

This month, Canadians are getting a closer look at how new federal infrastructure investments will roll out across the country over the coming decade. As Ottawa continues to sign agreements with provinces and territories, what I see etched throughout is a refreshing recognition-of municipalities' essential role in building Canada's future.

The Investing in Canada plan can transform this country with economic growth, climate progress and a higher quality of life. But turning this opportunity into outcomes means getting the design and delivery right. Canadians want their governments to squeeze every drop of value from every new infrastructure dollar, and that's where local governments excel.

Local governments deliver national outcomes

Municipalities are responsible for 60 per cent of Canada's public infrastructure and an expanding suite of services. As the governments closest to daily life, residents hold us responsible for delivering outcomes, from quality roads to clean water. And because we control just 10 cents of each tax dollar, cost-effectiveness has become our mantra.

Local governments also have unique expertise. We understand local needs and how to meet them in ways that foster more livable, competitive communities. Designing transportation infrastructure, for instance, is also an exercise in long-term planning for effective land use and neighbourhood development. And the local solutions we deliver have national impact.

For instance, a well-planned transit expansion eases traffic congestion, shortens local commutes, and strengthens communities. But it also boosts national productivity and reduces national greenhouse gas emissions-durable value on top of the direct jobs and growth these infrastructure projects generate as well. In short, when municipalities across Canada have the right tools, local progress transforms our country's bottom lines.

Investing in Canada: tools for local governments

That local capacity to deliver national impact is why municipalities find themselves at the heart of a historically ambitious nation-building plan. From early days, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities was deeply engaged in shaping Investing in Canada.

But we've always understood that the practical tools available to municipalities would depend on federal negotiations with each province and territory. And the agreements that are emerging take significant steps toward empowering municipalities to drive economic and quality-of-life outcomes nationwide.

First, governments are recognizing that local solutions are key to tackling national challenges.

Better roads and transit boost national productivity. Modern, accessible recreation infrastructure attracts and supports the new talent our economy needs to grow. Scaling up local green infrastructure helps achieve national climate goals. The municipalities that influence half of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are already driving some of Canada's most innovative solutions-from green fleets to low-emission waste management.

Recognizing this, Canada's new infrastructure agreements build in commitments to support a "fair balance" of municipal and provincial projects. That's ground-breaking. The transit expansion plan goes even further: most of this $20 billion investment will be allocated directly to municipalities with transit systems, based on a predictable funding formula.

Second, governments are addressing local fiscal barriers to building tomorrow's Canada.

The value that municipalities bring to the nation-building table is not money but expertise-from needs assessment through design and delivery. They have never had the fiscal flexibility to move projects forward on the transformational scale Canadians deserve.

This is why FCM has advocated a new cost-sharing formula: 40% federal, 40% provincial, 20% municipal. Ottawa has now accepted that benchmark, while provinces so far are committing to 33 per cent. Seeing other orders of governments cover nearly three-quarters of local costs is a meaningful recognition that Canada's future depends on moving local projects forward.

Third, governments are recognizing that nation-building includes communities of all sizes.

For two years, FCM has offered extensive advice on fine-tuning infrastructure programs to maximize outcomes. Another key area where we see our advice being adopted is in recognizing the financial and administrative realities of rural, northern and remote communities.

The federal government has boosted its cost-share to 50 per cent for projects in rural Canada-and to 60 per cent where populations fall under 5,000. Bilateral agreements are committing to streamline project administration. Steps like these empower rural and northern communities to deliver better roads, broadband, wastewater treatment and more.

Next steps are crucial

FCM has been an unrelenting advocate for local governments and the residents we serve. And while Canada's new infrastructure agreements are encouraging, much work remains to be done to drive to the outcomes Canadians deserve.

For instance, governments will be challenged to bring life to the ground-breaking "fair balance" commitment to local projects. What mechanisms will ensure project selection transparently honours that intent? On so many outstanding issues, local governments should continue to be engaged-not as outsiders looking in, but as the heart of the nation-building process.

Then we'll be ready to do what we do best: design and deliver projects to transform our communities and our country for generations to come.

Jenny Gerbasi is Deputy Mayor of Winnipeg and President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the national voice of municipal government, with nearly 2,000 members representing 90 per cent of Canadians.

 

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Canadian Mayors champion economy and trade in Washington, D.C.

"Canadian and U.S. mayors are leading conversations about building liveable, competitive cities that will support talent, investment and growth. Canadian mayors leave Washington today confident that our American counterparts share our deep appreciation for the important relationship between our two countries toward our shared priorities.

Whether it was mayor-to-mayor meetings at the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting, talks with thought leaders on the North American Free Trade Agreement at the Wilson Centre Canada Institute or engaging in trade discussions with Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton, we are building relationships across borders to attract investment and promote local business abroad.

On both sides of the border, the mutual benefits of a strong and fair economic partnership between Canada and the United States are clear. Our free and fair trade partnership is critical to building globally competitive cities and a prosperous future.

The United States has no closer friend, ally or partner than Canada. We enjoy the longest-standing, most peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship in the world - a partnership that has long been a model. Canadian mayors are working to make it even stronger."

Don Iveson is Chair of the Big City Mayors' Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of the City of Edmonton. FCM is the national voice of local government, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of Canada's population.
 

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Unlocking rural and northern potential: Municipal leaders converge on Parliament Hill

100 municipal leaders from across Canada converged on Parliament Hill this week with a strong message: this country’s future depends on unlocking the nation-building potential of municipalities, including rural and northern communities. Led by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the delegation met with 200 Parliamentarians representing all federal parties.

“Local solutions are already tackling some of Canada’s biggest national challenges, from economic growth to public safety. This week’s sessions were an opportunity to show parliamentarians how we can work together to unlock even more of that potential — to build Canada’s future by strengthening communities of all sizes,” said FCM President Jenny Gerbasi.

Top issues this week included the federal government’s long-term Investing in Canada infrastructure plan. As part of that plan, FCM’s advocacy helped secure a $2 billion fund dedicated to rural, northern and remote infrastructure needs. But the municipal leaders say turning that investment into outcomes still depends on getting the program design right.

“We’re ready to build better roads and wastewater systems, and to boost our quality of life, but this plan will need to recognize small-community realities,” said FCM Rural Forum Chair Ray Orb. “We’re here to show how fair cost-sharing and streamlined project administration are keys to moving many of these projects forward. We’re also advising on how the wider federal infrastructure plan can work for communities of all sizes.”

Throughout four days of intensive meetings, members of FCM’s Rural Forum took that advice to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Conservative Deputy Leader Lisa Raitt, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and other MPs representing rural areas across Canada. They also worked with the Liberal Party’s National Rural Caucus to explore new mechanisms to bring a rural lens to all federal policies and programs. That group’s chair and vice chair, TJ Harvey and Will Amos, continue to be strong partners to FCM and its advocacy for rural communities.

From coast to coast to coast, in communities large and small, urban and rural, local governments are delivering local solutions to national challenges, and building a more livable, competitive Canada.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the national voice of municipal government, with 2,000 members representing 90 per cent of the Canadian population.

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National housing strategy: A breakthrough for affordable housing

"The national housing strategy released this afternoon is a breakthrough for cities and communities from coast to coast to coast. This is the kind of federal leadership that local governments have been seeking for more than 20 years.

"Municipal leaders work on the frontlines of Canada's housing crisis. We see its effects etched into the faces of parents who must choose between making rent and feeding the kids. We see it as local businesses struggle to attract talented workers. And FCM led an intensive campaign to shape a national housing strategy that will tackle this crisis at its roots.

"The federal government took our advice to focus on the fundamentals. Replacing expiring social housing rent subsidies is a breakthrough for thousands of families who fear losing their homes as long-term operating agreements wind down. Investing to repair and renew that social housing will keep more people in their homes and help secure tomorrow's supply. And getting back to investing in affordable housing construction is the breakthrough we needed to start tackling the supply crunch.

"FCM will continue to examine the national housing strategy in the coming days, and we'll naturally have outstanding issues and questions. For instance, it's not yet clear how this strategy will leverage municipal expertise in decision-making on housing development to match local needs with the best possible solutions.

"But at the end of the day, this strategy is a breakthrough for 1.7 million families who can't find a decent home they can afford. It's a breakthrough for mayors working to build more livable, inclusive, competitive cities and communities across Canada. And we look forward to working with all orders of government to unlock the incredible potential that this strategy represents.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the national voice of municipal government, with 2,000 members representing 90 per cent of the Canadian population.

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Opioid announcement advances urgently needed action

"Canada's opioid crisis continues at a horrifying pace. The families, front-line workers, volunteers and communities enduring the worst of this emergency deserve action from all orders of government. And with an estimated 3,000 opioid-related deaths expected this year alone, the urgency of response is clear. 

"Wednesday's announcement by the Minster of Health to move to expand treatment options and reduce barriers and support those fighting on the frontlines of the crisis is an important step  forward. Authorizing drug-checking services at supervised consumption sites, easing legislative barriers to establishing overdose prevention sites and commitments to develop peer-driven public awareness campaigns respond directly to some of the Big City Mayors' Caucus' recommendations released earlier this year. 

"There is still significant work ahead to ensure a coordinated national response by all orders of government, including municipalities and Indigenous communities. Federal leadership is urgently needed to establish comprehensive timelines, measures and evidenced-based targets for the harm reduction, treatment, prevention and enforcement responses to the overdose crisis. An intergovernmental plan must align actions and resources with the essential work on the ground and respond to the specific needs of municipalities and Indigenous communities.

"Being on the front lines of this crisis, Canada's cities have consistently called for all orders of government to be working together in a co-ordinated, pan-Canadian response to end this tragic epidemic. 

"As we recognize the progress in Wednesday's announcement, we also look forward to meeting with the Health Minister to further align our actions to solve this national health crisis."

The BCMC Task Force on the Opioid Crisis convenes mayors of 13 cities: Vancouver, Surrey, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, London, Kitchener, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The Task Force was launched on February 3, 2017, by the Big-City Mayors' Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

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Canada’s municipalities pay tribute to Fort McMurray and the collaborative spirit of cities and communities

Municipal leaders from across Canada today paid tribute to municipal leaders, first responders, and residents affected by the wildfire that engulfed the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Alberta, including the community of Fort McMurray. A special tribute was held during the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference in Winnipeg.

"Like all Canadians, I was shocked by the images of devastation that emerged as the fire swept through Fort McMurray," said FCM President Raymond Louie. "But I was so impressed by the immense courage of first-responders, the extraordinary leadership of local leaders, and the outstanding support from neighbouring municipalities and Canadians from coast, to coast, to coast." 

The Fort McMurray wildfire burned more than 400,000 hectares, destroyed 2,400 buildings, and forced the largest evacuation in Alberta' history. However, it also spurred community spirit and an outpouring of generosity from Canadians, and municipal leaders  from coast to coast to coast who reached out to help their fellow-Canadians and municipal colleagues  in need.

During the ceremony, FCM President Raymond Louie applauded the leadership of Wood Buffalo Regional Council, including Mayor Mellisa Blake. Councillor Allan Vinni was on hand to receive this public acknowledgement. As well, President Louie commended all neighbouring municipalities who stepped up to welcome displaced residents, provided goods and services, and opened up their facilities to assist.  Mayor Omer Moghrabi of County Lac LaBiche and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson were publically thanked for their tremendous and continued show of support.

"The municipal sector banded together to support one of its own, and the generosity and leadership of community leaders remains as the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo undertakes the formidable task of rebuilding," said FCM President Louie.

FCM members will continue to support the Wood Buffalo community in the months and years to come as efforts now shift to rebuilding the community. Canadians are asked to make donations to the relief and recovery efforts through the Canadian Red Cross.

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Canada’s municipalities establish unified response to Syrian Refugee Crisis

Ottawa - Municipal leaders across Canada are pressing forward with their unified response to the humanitarian crisis facing Syria. Today the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) released details on the membership of the Task Force on Syrian Refugee Resettlement.

Membership on the Task Force reflects the diversity of the municipal sector. Cities that are traditional immigration hubs such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montréal, Ottawa and Halifax will be represented.  The Task Force will also include smaller municipalities, such as the City of St. Albert, AB, and the Town of Aurora, ON; both equally committed to assist in ways that are commensurate with their local realities.

FCM President Raymond Louie and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage will co-chair the Task Force."The scale of the crisis in Syria compels us all to respond in a way that is generous and compassionate, but to have a real impact our efforts must also be effective. This Task Force will be critical to our success," said president Raymond Louie.

The Task Force was launched earlier this month at FCM's board meeting in Fredericton when board members unanimously passed an Emergency Recommendation to coordinate the efforts of cities and communities across the country to amplify the effectiveness of local initiatives already underway. The Task Force will lead a Canada-wide municipal response to the Syrian refugee crisis to complement federal and provincial efforts. The Task Force will allow municipalities to share information and best practices.  It will also provide an efficient means of coordinating with provincial, territorial and federal counterparts to meet immediate and urgent resettlement targets.

Canada's cities and communities were quick to act on the obligation facing all orders of government to offer solutions to this crisis situation.

  • The City of London is working with local groups to raise awareness and funds to sponsor families from Syria to settle in the city.
  • The City of Vancouver held a public forum to discuss actions the public can take to address the emergency situation.
  • The City of Halifax adopted a motion assuring Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration that the city will provide a welcoming environment for refugees.
  • The City of Montréal adopted a declaration recognizing the urgency of the situation and stating its intent to work with all stakeholders on refugee resettlement.

"Municipalities across Canada have always been crucial to the success of Canada's efforts to resettle refugees in our country. The Task Force is a signal to other orders of government that our communities are prepared to be part of the solution to this humanitarian disaster," says Halifax Mayor Mike Savage.

The Task Force will meet for the first time next week to begin the process of coordinating the local government response to this crisis.

FCM is the national voice of municipal government. In leading the municipal movement, FCM works to align federal and local priorities, recognizing that strong hometowns make for a strong Canada.


FCM's Task Force on Syrian Refugee Resettlement

Co-Chairs
Raymond Louie, FCM President
Mike Savage, Mayor, City of Halifax
City of Saskatoon, SK
City of London, ON
City of Montréal, QC
City of Hamilton, ON
City of Edmonton, AB
City of Vancouver, BC
City of St. Albert, AB
Town of Aurora, ON
City of Halifax, NS
City of Toronto, ON
City of Kitchener, ON
City of Nelson, BC
City of Ottawa, ON

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Inclusive communities

Mayors meet Prime Minister on housing and transit

In a substantive meeting this morning, Canada's big-city mayors urged the Prime Minister to use his government's next budget to launch a new era of public transit and to tackle Canada's housing affordability crisis head-on. 

"This government clearly appreciates that we can't build livable, globally-competitive cities on top of a housing crisis," said Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton and chair of FCM's Big-City Mayors' Caucus (BCMC). "Our discussion with the Prime Minister today focused on the budget - as really a once-in-a-generation opportunity both to expand transit and to fix the housing crisis."

A million and a half Canadian families cannot find decent housing they can afford. One in five renters spends more than half their income on shelter. And vulnerable Canadians are at risk as long-standing federal operating agreements for Canada's 600,000 social housing homes progressively expire. The mayors are urging the federal government to invest $12.6 billion in housing solutions over eight years, directing money already earmarked for the Social Infrastructure Fund. 

In budget recommendations submitted on Monday, the mayors laid out a plan to protect existing social housing, build new affordable housing and kick-start rental housing markets. They also outlined the funding mechanisms that will ensure major transit expansions move forward - shortening commutes, easing gridlock, reducing emissions and boosting productivity.

"This government put unprecedented money on the table for transit, green and social infrastructure. And with the right mechanisms in place, cities are ready to turn transit and green investment into big outcomes for Canadians. But now we also need a clear and bold federal decision to put those Social Infrastructure funds into housing," said Iveson.

Today's BCMC agenda also includes a panel discussion with six housing stakeholder organizations from across Canada, as well as discussion on the fentanyl public health crisis. Later, the mayors will review their full Budget 2017 recommendations with senior Infrastructure Canada officials and Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs).

"Canada's big cities are hubs of innovation, and our local solutions drive progress on national challenges. More than ever, city-building is nation-building, and it's heartening to see our Prime Minister share that broad vision," said Iveson.

 

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the national voice of Canada's local order of government, with nearly 2,000 members representing 91 per cent of the population. Its Big-City Mayors' Caucus brings together 22 of Canada's largest cities.

For more information

Michael FitzPatrick, FCM Media Relations: mfitzpatrick@fcm.ca  or 613 907 6346

Resources

Seizing the moment: FCM's Budget 2017 recommendations

Canada's Housing OpportunityFCM's national housing strategy recommendations

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Public transit
Transportation

Big-city mayors reach out to newcomers and refugees

The 22 members of FCM's Big City Mayors' Caucus issued the following joint statement reaffirming their commitment to welcoming refugees and other newcomers to their communities.

The strength of Canada's cities lies in the diversity of our residents.

Those residents come from every part of the globe, seeking a decent quality of life, and sometimes safe harbour. As mayors, we understand that newcomers strengthen our economies with vital skills and capacity for innovation, and they enrich our communities with fresh perspectives and approaches to shared challenges.

Immigrants and refugees deserve equal treatment under the law and the same opportunities as any other Canadian. Exclusion of anyone based on their nationality or faith is unacceptable. On behalf of the millions we serve, we stand together against all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Canada's cities continuously strive to be welcoming communities. We are committed to diversity and oppose all forms of discrimination — both because our values compel us, and because Canada's future prosperity depends on it. 

To read more about how Canadian cities and communities are actively welcoming refugees, check out the Welcoming Communities toolkit.   

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal government, with nearly 2,000 members representing 91 per cent of the Canadian populationIts Big City Mayors' Caucus convenes 22 large Canadian cities from coast to coast. 

Information

Michael FitzPatrick, Media Relations: mfitzpatrick@fcm.ca  or 613 907 6346.

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Immigration and refugees
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