Budget 2019

Budget 2019: a turning point for cities and communities

Budget 2019 delivers major results for Canadians—directly through their local governments. From doubling this year’s federal Gas Tax Fund transfer to prioritizing universal broadband, this budget elevates the federal-municipal partnership as the way to build better lives.

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Featured news and resources

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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Housing

FCM statement on the passage of the Cannabis Act

"The passage of C-45 today marks a significant step towards the legalization of non-medical cannabis in Canada. All orders of government must now concentrate their efforts to ensure this transition occurs safely and effectively. Municipal governments remain fully committed to doing our part, with FCM providing continued support.

"With recreational cannabis soon to be sold and consumed in our communities, local governments are on the front lines of keeping Canadians safe and well-served. Legalization will impact as many as 17 municipal departments and impose significant new costs. And municipalities have been working hard to upgrade by-laws, processes and capacity to get ready.

"The federal government has engaged municipalities and recognized our key role in a successful transition to legalized cannabis. As a result of our discussions, our federal partner released a significant portion of its own excise tax revenues, with the clear intent that it be used to offset municipal costs. However, many of our members are still seeking clarity on how their provincial and territorial governments will flow those revenues to local governments.

"Among the most notable implications of legalization are costs to our police services through training, equipment and ongoing administration. We're also seeking more clarity about the federal government's commitment of $81 million to help address local law enforcement costs- specifically, how municipalities can access this funding and when it will become available.

"Municipalities need to know that financial tools will be in place to cover all costs associated with this federal initiative. At the same time, local governments will continue seeing full engagement with other orders of government and continuing their own preparations as we inch closer towards legalization."

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) 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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Cannabis

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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Immigration and refugees
Inclusive communities

FCM releases how-to guide to welcoming refugees - Welcoming Communities builds on municipal experience with Syrian newcomers

A year after Canada began opening its arms to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has released Welcoming Communities: A Toolkit for Municipal Governments. The practical guide builds on lessons learned by over 300 municipalities that have helped to welcome the newcomers

"I am proud of how Canadian municipalities stepped up and embraced our new Canadian family members," said FCM President Clark Somerville. "Now we've turned some of that experience into a practical guide to becoming truly welcoming communities for refugees.

"In September 2015, FCM launched a Task Force on Refugee Resettlement to share information across the country, to coordinate with federal, provincial and territorial governments, and to support frontline organziations and neighbourhood groups that led strong local responses. Welcoming Communities surveys the complex challenge of welcoming many refugees in a short period of time-focussing on priorities such as finding affordable housing, providing language and cultural supports, and building community connections.

"Once again, we are seeing how  municipal action helps meet national challenges," added Somerville, "Of course, as emergency federal support winds down now in 'Month 13', we'll need to help these refugees face new challenges, like finding affordable longer-term housing.

"A housing crisis continues to play out in communities across Canada, with a deepening shortage of affordable housing options. FCM has recommended a comprehensive response, calling for significant funding for housing solutions in Budget 2017.

Since November 2015, 35,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada. FCM and its members recognize the cultural, social and economic value that newcomers contribute to our communities, and they will continue to be part of a solution to this tragic situation.

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

Information:

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

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Immigration and refugees
Inclusive communities

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
Inclusive communities

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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Public safety

FCM statement on rail safety announcement

“Rail safety and the safe transportation of dangerous goods remain a key priority for Canada’s cities and communities. Since the disaster in Lac-Mégantic in 2013, the federal government has announced a number of new safety measures that respond directly to FCM’s call for urgent and concrete action. Today’s announcement that legacy DOT/TC-111 tank cars will be phased out is another important step towards improving the safe transportation of dangerous goods by rail.

“FCM has worked closely with all levels of government, rail companies and all partners to improve rail safety. Key elements of today’s commitment directly reflect concerns raised by local governments across Canada. The accelerated phase-out of jacketed and non-jacketed DOT-111 legacy cars transporting crude oil will reduce the municipal safety risks of transporting crude oil by rail.

“Safe railway operations are just as important as tank car design for reducing derailment risk. As such, we will continue to look to the Federal Minister and Transport Canada officials to deliver reforms that improve the safety of Canada’s railways. Our efforts will focus on improving grade crossing safety and the proximity of railways to where people live and work. And we will continue to seek permanent information-sharing solutions and ensure front-line municipal workers are prepared in the event of a rail emergency.

“In order to see continued positive results, federal rail policies and regulations must include input from local governments. We will continue to actively engage Transport Canada to improve the safety of rail transport and ensure future safety recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada are implemented with the support of Canada’s municipalities.”

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) 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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Public safety
Rail safety

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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Rural communities

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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Sustainable Communities Awards

Since 2001, these awards have celebrated the most innovative environmental initiatives in Canadian cities and communities of all sizes. The winning projects demonstrate sustainability best practices you can apply to similar initiatives in your community. These awards are presented biannually to outstanding municipal projects in several categories:

  • Asset management
  • Brownfields
  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Sustainable neighbourhood revitalization and design
  • Transportation
  • Waste
  • Water

Winners in each category are nominated for the Inspire Award, which is given to the project that demonstrates the most creativity and innovation.

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This library contains reports, toolkits, recommendations and other resources that are designed to help you address challenges in your community.

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Focus areas

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Increasing sustainability and enhancing the quality of life for people across Canada and around the world.

Canadian municipalities benefit with FCM

FCM works on behalf of 2,000+ member municipalities to shape the national agenda, and delivers tools that empower local governments. Together, we are building stronger communities—and a better Canada.

2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities