FCM statement on Federal Budget 2018 (27/02/2018)
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities issued the following statement after federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled Budget 2018 in the House of Commons.
Canada's local and federal orders of government are working together to tackle pressing national challenges. Today's federal budget strengthens that partnership by responding to municipalities' calls to urgently fund opioid treatment and to take steps toward ensuring they have financial tools to safely implement cannabis legalization in their communities.
This budget, however, also missed a key opportunity to generate frontline outcomes by expediting repairs to Canada's social housing supply to kick-start the National Housing Strategy.
Three months ago, the federal government delivered a breakthrough National Housing Strategy reflecting FCM's detailed recommendations. It committed significant long-term investment to secure vulnerable social housing and the next generation of affordable housing. With continuing leadership, this strategy can transform our communities and this country.
That is why FCM called on the government to use Budget 2018 to kick-start the Strategy by expediting already earmarked funds for social housing repairs. After years of chronic underfunding for repairs, this move would have enabled housing providers to keep at-risk homes safe and open for vulnerable families. But instead of protecting this vital part of Canada's social housing supply, this budget delays funding for critical repairs that are ready to go ahead.
Municipalities are proud of the housing strategy we helped this government shape, working alongside housing advocates nationwide. Today, we also welcome new federal housing commitments to First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities and a positive commitment to support the rental housing market. Both provide welcome opportunities to expand Canada's affordable housing supply.
Today's new emergency funding for opioid treatment reflects the crisis unfolding on the front lines of our cities and communities and responds directly to recommendations made by FCM and the Mayors' Task Force on the Opioid Crisis. This budget also reaffirms the federal commitment to support a fair cannabis excise-tax revenue sharing model - a step toward ensuring local costs are covered as municipalities work to keep Canadians safe and well-served upon legalization.
Ultimately, the value of these commitments will be measured in the real-life outcomes they generate for Canadians across the country. Municipal leaders are outcomes people. That comes with being the order of government closest to daily life. This is why the federal government relies on municipalities of all sizes to deliver local solutions to national challenges. From its unprecedented infrastructure plan to its commitment to legalize cannabis safely, municipalities will continue working with this government to deliver the quality-of-life outcomes Canadians deserve.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of local government, with nearly 2,000 member municipalities representing more than 90 per cent of the Canadians.
For more information, please contact:
FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, firstname.lastname@example.org