Jenny Gerbasi, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Deputy Mayor of Winnipeg, issued the following statement after addressing delegates at the 2017 Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Conference on infrastructure priorities, water systems, and climate change:
I was pleased to meet with municipal leaders from across Ontario this week to discuss our shared challenges and opportunities on the road ahead. That includes unlocking the tremendous potential of the most recent federal budget, for Ontarians and for all of Canadians.
Federal Budget 2017 makes unprecedented commitments to municipal priorities, including public transit, affordable housing, rural infrastructure, and climate action. And last month, in a series of letters to provinces and territories, the federal government outlined its vision to bring these commitments to life in partnership with all orders of government.
These commitments can transform our cities and communities with economic growth and a higher quality of life. Unlocking this potential now depends on federal agreements to be negotiated with each province and territory in the coming months. These agreements will shape the design of infrastructure investments and the outcomes they can achieve. FCM and AMO will continue working to keep our shared municipal priorities front-and-centre at every step.
Our shared priorities include fair provincial cost sharing, so transformational infrastructure projects can move forward. Municipalities need predictable Green Infrastructure investment for local priorities, for water and wastewater systems, and to fight and adapt to climate change. We also need to ensure that new rural and northern infrastructure investment directly and realistically empowers smaller communities to service local needs.
While housing is not part of these bilateral negotiations, it is the bedrock of the strong communities we all want to build. FCM and AMO continue to make strong recommendations for the design of the National Housing Strategy expected later this year. We are both working to ensure that Budget 2017 commitments translate into real renewal for existing social housing-and significant construction of new, financially sustainable social and affordable housing.
As FCM continues engaging the federal government, AMO also has a remarkable opportunity to shape the future of this province and this country. If we get this right, we’ll be building a future of exceptionally livable communities in a more competitive Ontario and stronger Canada.