The president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Taneen Rudyk, issued the following statement at the conclusion of the FCM Board of Directors meetings in Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario.
“Municipalities are known for turning shared federal-municipal aspirations into action on the ground. From job-creating infrastructure projects to local climate resilience, to fostering safe and inclusive communities, we are improving Canadians’ quality of life in ways that are efficient and equitable.
“This work continues in the face of significant challenges for local governments. This week’s FCM Board of Directors meeting was an opportunity for municipal leaders to focus on delivering more and better results on key priorities like infrastructure, climate adaptation and mitigation, housing and homelessness, and community well-being.
“Municipalities own and maintain a large proportion of key public infrastructure, despite relying on an outdated fiscal framework. Ahead of the upcoming federal budget, we are advocating vigorously for the next generation of core infrastructure. The estimated cost of addressing all municipal assets currently in “poor” and “very poor” condition is more than $175 billion. Yet core infrastructure is crucial to growing communities, increasing housing supply, and delivering the basic services Canadians rely on.
“That is why FCM is calling for the next federal budget to address municipal infrastructure needs, including the creation of a new dedicated water and wastewater infrastructure fund, the permanent doubling of the proven Canada Community Building Fund (CCBF, formerly known as the Gas Tax Fund), investments in inter-community transit that builds on programs like the Rural Transit Solutions Fund, and more. These are efficient, cost-effective measures that will make life better in this country.
“Additionally, municipalities are focused on preparing and protecting Canadians from the ongoing effects of extreme climate events. That is why our members are urging substantial climate resilience investments, including an immediate increase to the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) totaling $2 billion in 2022–2023 and at least $1 billion per year over ten years for disaster mitigation infrastructure.
“Discussions among the Board also touched on the ongoing challenge of housing supply. FCM recognizes that all orders of government have important responsibilities and roles to play in alleviating this challenge, and local leaders are urging the federal government to work closely with municipalities. Action includes prioritizing a swift and effective rollout of the federal Housing Accelerator Fund in close collaboration with municipalities through FCM, to rapidly advance the Urban, Rural and Indigenous Housing Strategy, and to optimize and continue to invest in critical National Housing Strategy programs.
“Finally, FCM’s Board reiterated that community wellbeing is the basis of truly livable municipalities in Canada. That starts with safe communities, and today, FCM again calls for the federal commitment to absorb all retroactive costs associated with new RCMP bargaining agreements. FCM also continues to advocate for access to crucial services to address the ongoing mental health and addictions crises.
“With the meeting of the Board of Directors coinciding with International Women’s Day on March 8, our Board took the opportunity to call for continued support for FCM’s Canadian Women in Local Leadership (CanWILL) program – as part of a national effort to help counter harassment of female elected officials and public figures.
“Together we can go further and build a growing quality of life for all, in a Canada that is resilient, safer, and more affordable.”