Progress! Federal cost-share boost for rural infrastructure projects
Today, the Government of Canada announced an increase to its cost-share under the new Rural and Northern Communities Fund. The federal government will fund up to 60 per cent of eligible costs in communities under 5,000 people. Larger rural and northern communities will continue to receive funding for up to 50 per cent of eligible costs, or up to 75 per cent for projects in the three territories.
Throughout FCM's engagement on Phase 2 of Investing in Canada, we have been clear that any nation-building plan needs to benefit communities of all sizes. We have urged the federal government to empower smaller communities to directly fund pressing local needs-avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach, and recognizing rural communities' unique challenges and opportunities. Today's announcement responds directly to FCM's advocacy and recognizes the role that our smallest communities play in building a thriving rural Canada.
Applying a rural lens
As the federal government continues Integrated Bilateral Agreement negotiations with provinces and territories, we are working to ensure it applies a rural lens to eligibility criteria for all infrastructure programs. To work, those criteria need to reflect the financial, administrative and demographic realities of smaller communities. For the same reason, we are making progress toward streamlining project application and reporting requirements for rural and northern communities.
FCM is partnering with our provincial and territorial counterparts to protect our important gains on federal cost-sharing. We are also working to secure full and fair contributions from provinces and to better define population thresholds for rural investment eligibility.
FCM's advocacy on behalf of smaller communities led to the biggest investment in rural infrastructure in a generation. But we recognize that turning this opportunity into outcomes will require ongoing engagement with the federal government, and we look forward to continuing that work on behalf of communities of all sizes.
If you have any questions, please contact Marc LeBlanc, FCM Policy Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.