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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.

CRTC broadband decision: Big win for rural and northern communities

FCM President Clark Somerville issued the following statement in response to today's decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in the Review of Basic Telecommunications Services.

Broadband is now fundamental to modern life and commerce. The CRTC recognized this today in its Decision adopting a "universal service objective" mandating universal access to reliable broadband — in communities of all sizes — through both fixed and mobile wireless networks.

The CRTC launched its sweeping review of basic telecommunications services in April 2015. FCM's final submission to that process raised the alarm over the "broadband gap" that constrains so many northern and rural communities. Some struggle with bandwidth and network capacity that cannot meet user demands. Others have no broadband coverage at all.

For these communities, today's decision can be transformative. Expanding broadband access will improve local quality of life, help stem youth out-migration and support economic growth — by boosting productivity, supporting innovation and improving market access. The CRTC is responding to FCM's call by adopting a universal speed target of 50 mbps for downloads and 10 mbps for uploads, backed by a new long-term funding mechanism.

This decision comes less than a week after the federal government launched its Connect to Innovate program. First announced in Budget 2016, this five-year $500-million commitment will accelerate broadband upgrades in high-cost rural areas. This plan responds to many of FCM's recommendations and we will keep working with our federal partners to confirm its details.

Even with this new federal support, however, market forces alone will not close the broadband gap for many remote and northern communities. FCM will be examining the CRTC's new funding mechanism to ensure it complements Connect to Innnovate funding to best support the communities that need it most. The next step will be to develop a comprehensive, long-term plan and timeline to make universal broadband access a reality for Canadians. FCM is eager to work with all orders of government to make that happen.

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

Media Contact

Question for press and media?

613-907-6395
Broadband
Northern and remote communities
Rural communities

Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalization

Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalization

Published: April 2018 - PDF (1.2 MB)

Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalization

A roadmap for Canadian local governments

Canadians care about the impact of cannabis legalization and municipal governments will be the first place they turn to if they have concerns. Developing the rules and processes that will govern the legalization of non-medical cannabis is a complex task. Municipalities will need to make critical decisions about how and when to write new bylaws on a range of issues including land use planning, business licensing and public consumption.

FCM designed the Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalization to provide an overview of the work ahead for local governments and offer both policy and regulatory options to choose from. It will take coordinated effort from all orders of government to ensure that Canadians are safe and well-served during the process of cannabis legalization. This guide can help communities get it right.

Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalization

Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalization

Published: April 2018 - PDF (1.2 MB)

Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalization

A roadmap for Canadian local governments

Canadians care about the impact of cannabis legalization and municipal governments will be the first place they turn to if they have concerns. Developing the rules and processes that will govern the legalization of non-medical cannabis is a complex task. Municipalities will need to make critical decisions about how and when to write new bylaws on a range of issues including land use planning, business licensing and public consumption.

FCM designed the Municipal Guide to Cannabis Legalization to provide an overview of the work ahead for local governments and offer both policy and regulatory options to choose from. It will take coordinated effort from all orders of government to ensure that Canadians are safe and well-served during the process of cannabis legalization. This guide can help communities get it right.

Cannabis legalization: Municipalities key to keeping Canadians safe and well-served

Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) President Vicki-May Hamm issued the following statement to mark the legalization of non-medical cannabis across Canada today.

“Today marks a significant shift in how our society operates. From public safety to retail services, to transit and labour law, keeping Canadians safe and well-served in a world of legal cannabis will require significant coordination among all orders of government.

“Local governments are on the front lines of cannabis legalization. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has been helping cities and communities get ready nationwide by providing tools and engaging our various partners. We also know that keeping Canadians safe and well-served will require a clear framework for sharing the costs that come with this new policy.

“Legalization has operational and cost implications for as many as 17 municipal departments. This is why the federal government also released half of its share of cannabis excise tax revenues to provinces and territories—to support municipalities. Yet, only three provinces have revealed plans to share those funds with local governments. Too many of our members across Canada do not have any clarity on how cannabis costs will be covered through provincial revenue sharing frameworks. As the lead on cannabis legalization, the Government of Canada will need to ensure adequate revenue-sharing plans are in place and municipalities are made whole for the costs of this federal policy.

“In September 2017, the federal government also committed $81 million to help our local police services manage a reality of legal cannabis—including through training and technology to tackle drug-impaired driving. Yet as legalization day comes and goes, we are still waiting for details on how this support will flow.

“Local governments have been hard at work changing bylaws, building capacity and engaging citizens to get ready for legalization. Canadians can count on local leaders to be ready to adapt to challenges on the road ahead. One challenge we cannot tackle alone, however, is ensuring local costs are fully and sustainably covered for this new federal initiative.

“Safe and effective cannabis legalization requires collaboration across orders of government and municipalities are ready to do their part. We all need to work together to get this right.”

Vicki-May Hamm is President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of the City of Magog, Quebec. 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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Cannabis

Diverse Voices: Tools and Practices to Support all Women

Diverse Voices: Tools and Practices to Support all WomenWomen are consistently underrepresented in leadership positions across the political and professional spheres, filling only 26 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons, Provincial and Municipal governments.

Diverse Voices: Tools and Practices to Support all Women explores how municipalities across Canada can work to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the leadership gap. Using examples from select municipalities, it provides resources and tools for local action to support women as leaders and agents of change.

Download the toolkit

FCM welcomes Canadian poverty reduction strategy

 "Tackling poverty in Canada requires coordination among all levels of government, starting with municipalities. Today's release of a federal poverty reduction strategy is a meaningful response to FCM recommendations, and is a positive step toward tackling the poverty that affects Canadians in every city and town across the country. 

"Every single day, municipal leaders see how poverty prevents people and communities from achieving their full potential. From their place on the front lines, local governments are also making the most of the tools available to respond. They are bringing diverse actors together to tailor federal and provincial initiatives to local realities, and many are leading the way with comprehensive local poverty reduction plans of their own.

"Opportunity for All aligns with FCM's recommendations to boost access to the things people need to thrive - from affordable housing, childcare and transit to robust income supports. Our top priority is an effective roll-out of the National Housing Strategy engaging all orders of government. As well, strengthening data collection and reducing data gaps, if this engages local governments and service providers, will enable municipalities to design, scale up and track local solutions with sharper evidenced-driven policies and programs.

"The experience of living in poverty varies across the country, and so do the right solutions. While Canadians see and feel poverty's effects most at the local level, other orders of government manage investment and policy levers that are vital to lasting solutions. So we especially welcome today's fresh recognition that tackling poverty requires coordinated action across orders of government, grounded in municipal expertise.

"FCM was pleased to participate in this process through our CEO, Brock Carlton, who served on the Ministerial Advisory Committee that informed Opportunity for All. To succeed, any national poverty reduction strategy will need to continue engaging the local order of government every step of the way. FCM and our municipal members look forward to working in partnership to build a Canada where everyone has the opportunity to thrive."

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.

Media Contact

Question for press and media?

613-907-6395
Homelessness
Housing
Inclusive communities
Poverty reduction

Coast-to-coast cooperation to build tomorrow's Canada

"Following this week's announcement in Saskatchewan, Canada now has bilateral infrastructure agreements in place in every province and territory—a milestone achievement. These agreements set the stage for a decade of transformational progress driven by local governments: better roads and transit, modern wastewater systems, more resilient and sustainable infrastructure, and more.

"For more than two years, FCM has helped shape the long-term federal plan to invest in Canada's transit, social, green and rural infrastructure. As a result, we have set in motion a historic opportunity to strengthen the cities and communities that Canadians call home. And this opportunity was always going to rely on strong agreements with provinces and territories.

"These bilateral agreements make major commitments that recognize local governments' central role in nation-building. Raising the bar on cost-sharing—to at least 40 per cent federal and 33 per cent provincial—empowers municipalities to move projects forward. And with strong follow-through, committing to fund a fair 'balance' of municipal and provincial priorities breaks new ground in this relationship.

"For rural, northern and remote communities, even stronger cost-sharing and streamlined project administration means more projects can go ahead. At the same time, predictable, allocation-based public transit funding puts Canadian cities in the driver's seat, as they plan and deliver the next decade of ambitious transit expansions.

"Municipalities deliver local solutions to national challenges, from economic productivity to public safety to climate change. With infrastructure agreements in place, the next step is provincial and territorial intake processes that work locally. Provincial-territorial municipal associations across the country are ready to help get this right and get projects moving. This is about orders of government working together to build tomorrow's Canada-livable, competitive and sustainable."

Vicki-May Hamm is President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of the City of Magog, QC. FCM is the national voice of local government, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of Canada's population.

Media Contact

Question for press and media?

613-907-6395
Infrastructure

Coast-to-coast cooperation to build tomorrow's Canada

"Following this week's announcement in Saskatchewan, Canada now has bilateral infrastructure agreements in place in every province and territory—a milestone achievement. These agreements set the stage for a decade of transformational progress driven by local governments: better roads and transit, modern wastewater systems, more resilient and sustainable infrastructure, and more.

"For more than two years, FCM has helped shape the long-term federal plan to invest in Canada's transit, social, green and rural infrastructure. As a result, we have set in motion a historic opportunity to strengthen the cities and communities that Canadians call home. And this opportunity was always going to rely on strong agreements with provinces and territories.

"These bilateral agreements make major commitments that recognize local governments' central role in nation-building. Raising the bar on cost-sharing—to at least 40 per cent federal and 33 per cent provincial—empowers municipalities to move projects forward. And with strong follow-through, committing to fund a fair 'balance' of municipal and provincial priorities breaks new ground in this relationship.

"For rural, northern and remote communities, even stronger cost-sharing and streamlined project administration means more projects can go ahead. At the same time, predictable, allocation-based public transit funding puts Canadian cities in the driver's seat, as they plan and deliver the next decade of ambitious transit expansions.

"Municipalities deliver local solutions to national challenges, from economic productivity to public safety to climate change. With infrastructure agreements in place, the next step is provincial and territorial intake processes that work locally. Provincial-territorial municipal associations across the country are ready to help get this right and get projects moving. This is about orders of government working together to build tomorrow's Canada-livable, competitive and sustainable."

Vicki-May Hamm is President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of the City of Magog, QC. FCM is the national voice of local government, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of Canada's population.

Media Contact

Question for press and media?

613-907-6395
Infrastructure

Case study: St. Andrews revitalizes community after wastewater plant upgrades

Project overview

The Town of St. Andrews, NB, upgraded its wastewater treatment plant to meet environmental standards, improve quality of life for residents and create capacity for growth. To increase capacity while minimizing costs and the environmental impact of construction, the town chose to make one of its two existing facultative treatment ponds deeper and add a lining to the pond, rather than build a new pond. The town also introduced submerged aeration and UV disinfection systems and installed a monitoring and control system. The upgrades are part of a broader, ongoing wastewater plan that includes separating the town's storm sewer connections from its sanitary collection system and encouraging citizens to remove foundation drains from their sanitary sewer service lines. 

Figure depicting the  Town of St. Andrews, NB , wastewater project timeline.  Figures depicting the population served by Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative and its budget.  Figure depicting the improvement in water quality resulting from the Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative.

Reasons for the project

  • The town needed to increase the capacity of its wastewater treatment plant to allow for growth.
  • Some equipment was reaching the end of its service life.
  • The system was not in compliance with Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations and standards set by the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government.

Innovative aspects of the project

  • The upgrades will lead to significant improvements in the watershed and allow the community to grow in a sustainable manner.

Best practices and key lessons

The municipality's experience with this project demonstrates some best practices and key lessons that can inform similar projects.

Engage early and broadly

  • The town met with the provincial Department of Environment and Local Government early on to gain support, expedite the permitting process and learn from its expertise.
  • During the scoping stage, the town engaged with local residents to explain the project and its benefits and obtain feedback. The town ended up modifying the design to address residents' concerns.
  • For a small municipality, obtaining community buy-in and support is particularly important when a project involves borrowing funds or increasing user fees to pay for upgrades.

Conduct background research

  • As a smaller community, it was important that the town do its own research, rather than simply rely on a consultant, in order to explore a full range of options and make the best choices for the community. The research helped the town identify new technologies, estimate costs and learn from other municipalities' experiences.

Include contingencies in the project budget to avoid schedule delays

  • The project was delayed because of weather, contractor delays and cost overruns.
  • The bids received by the town were significantly higher than anticipated in the project budget (close to $4 million compared to the budget of $3 million). This was compounded by the fact that the project had been pre-approved by the Building Canada Fund for funding that would cover two-thirds of the original (lower) budget. The town was responsible for all the additional costs, which would have doubled its financial contribution to the project. To move forward, the town worked with the contractor and a design consultant to modify the project design and schedule, reducing costs without sacrificing the integrity of the project.

View of lagoons for Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater treatment facility.
View of lagoons for Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater treatment facility. (Credit: Town of St. Andrews)

Project benefits

This project yielded a number of environmental, social and economic benefits. 

Environmental benefits

  • Decreased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions: The plant upgrades have yielded a 26 per cent reduction in annual power consumption.
  • Improved effluent quality: Water quality now meets regulatory standards.
  • Reduced chemical residuals: With the introduction of ultraviolet disinfection, water discharges are now cleaner.
  • Protected biodiversity and ecosystem: The quality of the discharge has improved, benefitting the surrounding ecosystem and leading to greater aquatic health.
  • Decreased noise pollution: The previous mechanical aerators created an extremely loud howling sound that disturbed neighbours and people in the nearby campground. Replacement of this system has reduced noise pollution in the community.
  • Decreased odour pollution: The improvements to the treatment process have eliminated the odours perceived by local residents and pedestrians.

Social benefits

  • Protection of public health: The quality of the discharge has improved, benefitting the natural environment and, in turn, improving human health.
  • Improved staff health and safety: The upgraded wastewater treatment plant meets health and safety regulations, creating safer working conditions for municipal staff.
  • Community beautification: The project improved the aesthetics of the treatment site by making the facility more compatible with its surroundings.
  • Improved service delivery: The upgraded plant has a greater water treatment capacity.

Economic benefits

  • Decreased operating costs: The plant's upgraded technology is more efficient, reducing operating costs.
  • Decreased maintenance costs: The new equipment will be less likely to break down, resulting in less downtime and reduced maintenance costs.
  • Increased potential to attract new residents and businesses: The increased wastewater treatment capacity will allow the town to attract new growth and support sustainable development.
  • Local business development: The improved effluent water quality may contribute to the return of shellfish harvesting in the local area, which has been suspended for many years due to poor water quality in the Chamcook Lake and the larger Passamaquoddy Bay. In addition, increased presence of larger marine life, such as sea birds and whales, will attract visitors and may represent a source of income for local tour boat operators.


Pie chart depicting the funding breakdown for the Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative.

Technical highlights

This project was a new facility. Technical highlights are current as of 2013.

Municipal population: 1,889

Urban/rural: rural

Treatment: Aerated lagoon

Disinfection

  • Before: None
  • After: UV disinfection system — 136CFU/100 ml

Biosolids management: Ponds dredged periodically

Annual average daily flow (AADF)

  • Before: 2.1 MLD (million litres per day)
  • After: 2.5 MLD

Design capacity

  • Before: 1.3 MLD
  • After: 2.1 MLD (9.2 MLD is what the system could handle if the recorded influent data were used as a model)

Per cent of total capacity used for AADF

  • Before: 161 per cent 
  • After: 104 per cent 

Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)

  • Before: 17 mg/L
  • After: 8.2 mg/L

Project contact information

Chris Spear
Treasurer/Deputy Clerk
Town of St. Andrews, NB
T. 506-529-5250

Dan Bartlett
Water & Sewer Technician
Town of St. Andrews, NB
T. 506-529-5255

Case study: St. Andrews revitalizes community after wastewater plant upgrades

Project overview

The Town of St. Andrews, NB, upgraded its wastewater treatment plant to meet environmental standards, improve quality of life for residents and create capacity for growth. To increase capacity while minimizing costs and the environmental impact of construction, the town chose to make one of its two existing facultative treatment ponds deeper and add a lining to the pond, rather than build a new pond. The town also introduced submerged aeration and UV disinfection systems and installed a monitoring and control system. The upgrades are part of a broader, ongoing wastewater plan that includes separating the town's storm sewer connections from its sanitary collection system and encouraging citizens to remove foundation drains from their sanitary sewer service lines. 

Figure depicting the  Town of St. Andrews, NB , wastewater project timeline.  Figures depicting the population served by Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative and its budget.  Figure depicting the improvement in water quality resulting from the Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative.

Reasons for the project

  • The town needed to increase the capacity of its wastewater treatment plant to allow for growth.
  • Some equipment was reaching the end of its service life.
  • The system was not in compliance with Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations and standards set by the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government.

Innovative aspects of the project

  • The upgrades will lead to significant improvements in the watershed and allow the community to grow in a sustainable manner.

Best practices and key lessons

The municipality's experience with this project demonstrates some best practices and key lessons that can inform similar projects.

Engage early and broadly

  • The town met with the provincial Department of Environment and Local Government early on to gain support, expedite the permitting process and learn from its expertise.
  • During the scoping stage, the town engaged with local residents to explain the project and its benefits and obtain feedback. The town ended up modifying the design to address residents' concerns.
  • For a small municipality, obtaining community buy-in and support is particularly important when a project involves borrowing funds or increasing user fees to pay for upgrades.

Conduct background research

  • As a smaller community, it was important that the town do its own research, rather than simply rely on a consultant, in order to explore a full range of options and make the best choices for the community. The research helped the town identify new technologies, estimate costs and learn from other municipalities' experiences.

Include contingencies in the project budget to avoid schedule delays

  • The project was delayed because of weather, contractor delays and cost overruns.
  • The bids received by the town were significantly higher than anticipated in the project budget (close to $4 million compared to the budget of $3 million). This was compounded by the fact that the project had been pre-approved by the Building Canada Fund for funding that would cover two-thirds of the original (lower) budget. The town was responsible for all the additional costs, which would have doubled its financial contribution to the project. To move forward, the town worked with the contractor and a design consultant to modify the project design and schedule, reducing costs without sacrificing the integrity of the project.

View of lagoons for Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater treatment facility.
View of lagoons for Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater treatment facility. (Credit: Town of St. Andrews)

Project benefits

This project yielded a number of environmental, social and economic benefits. 

Environmental benefits

  • Decreased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions: The plant upgrades have yielded a 26 per cent reduction in annual power consumption.
  • Improved effluent quality: Water quality now meets regulatory standards.
  • Reduced chemical residuals: With the introduction of ultraviolet disinfection, water discharges are now cleaner.
  • Protected biodiversity and ecosystem: The quality of the discharge has improved, benefitting the surrounding ecosystem and leading to greater aquatic health.
  • Decreased noise pollution: The previous mechanical aerators created an extremely loud howling sound that disturbed neighbours and people in the nearby campground. Replacement of this system has reduced noise pollution in the community.
  • Decreased odour pollution: The improvements to the treatment process have eliminated the odours perceived by local residents and pedestrians.

Social benefits

  • Protection of public health: The quality of the discharge has improved, benefitting the natural environment and, in turn, improving human health.
  • Improved staff health and safety: The upgraded wastewater treatment plant meets health and safety regulations, creating safer working conditions for municipal staff.
  • Community beautification: The project improved the aesthetics of the treatment site by making the facility more compatible with its surroundings.
  • Improved service delivery: The upgraded plant has a greater water treatment capacity.

Economic benefits

  • Decreased operating costs: The plant's upgraded technology is more efficient, reducing operating costs.
  • Decreased maintenance costs: The new equipment will be less likely to break down, resulting in less downtime and reduced maintenance costs.
  • Increased potential to attract new residents and businesses: The increased wastewater treatment capacity will allow the town to attract new growth and support sustainable development.
  • Local business development: The improved effluent water quality may contribute to the return of shellfish harvesting in the local area, which has been suspended for many years due to poor water quality in the Chamcook Lake and the larger Passamaquoddy Bay. In addition, increased presence of larger marine life, such as sea birds and whales, will attract visitors and may represent a source of income for local tour boat operators.


Pie chart depicting the funding breakdown for the Town of St. Andrews, NB, wastewater initiative.

Technical highlights

This project was a new facility. Technical highlights are current as of 2013.

Municipal population: 1,889

Urban/rural: rural

Treatment: Aerated lagoon

Disinfection

  • Before: None
  • After: UV disinfection system — 136CFU/100 ml

Biosolids management: Ponds dredged periodically

Annual average daily flow (AADF)

  • Before: 2.1 MLD (million litres per day)
  • After: 2.5 MLD

Design capacity

  • Before: 1.3 MLD
  • After: 2.1 MLD (9.2 MLD is what the system could handle if the recorded influent data were used as a model)

Per cent of total capacity used for AADF

  • Before: 161 per cent 
  • After: 104 per cent 

Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)

  • Before: 17 mg/L
  • After: 8.2 mg/L

Project contact information

Chris Spear
Treasurer/Deputy Clerk
Town of St. Andrews, NB
T. 506-529-5250

Dan Bartlett
Water & Sewer Technician
Town of St. Andrews, NB
T. 506-529-5255

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2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities