FCM budget submission puts focus on building a strong Canada through strong hometowns (31/03/2015)
OTTAWA - The Federation of Canadian Municipalities delivered its final 2015 Budget Submission to Finance Minister Joe Oliver today. The document presents effective, long-term and predictable solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing the country. And it demonstrates that the most successful way to create jobs while improving Canadians' quality of life is to invest in municipal priorities: transit, clean water, and affordable housing.
"The upcoming federal budget is an opportunity to strengthen our country through investing in our cities and communities. Hometowns propel our country forward; they are engines of innovation, creativity and our sense of community," said FCM President Brad Woodside.
A core element of the municipal proposal is for all levels of government to move away from the project-by-project band-aid approach to infrastructure investments. Municipalities need to plan 10-15 years into the future and this is only possible with reliable, stable investments. In its submission, FCM points to the tremendous cost to the national economy of inadequate funding in our municipal transit infrastructure. A 2012 C. D. Howe study estimated that snarled traffic cost the Toronto region alone, $11 billion dollars a year.
"Canadians don't want to spend so much time in traffic; it's costing our economy billions of dollars. Mayors from across the country are united and ready to partner with the federal government on cutting commute times," said Toronto Mayor, John Tory.
Canadians also expect that clean water should not be a challenge for any community. Municipalities across the country strongly supported the Government of Canada's new national standards for Canada's more than 3,500 wastewater systems. But the cost is significant: more than $18 billion dollars over the next three decades.
Canadian municipalities call for all orders of government to partner on a new Clean Water Fund to ensure communities across the country are able to meet the new regulations.
In its submission, FCM highlights the critical issue of housing affordability that many Canadians are facing, in particular Canada's most vulnerable citizens. FCM is calling on the federal government to protect current levels of federal investments in housing now set to rapidly decline, and to create incentives to increase rental housing, easing the housing crunch faced by Canadians.
In all these areas, transit, clean water, housing, the federal budget presents a tremendous opportunity to ensure that Canada's municipalities can prosper, drive job creation and attract talent and investment, while remaining affordable and family friendly.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (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.