Federal Budget 2016: Bold investment in municipalities a big win for Canadians (22/03/2016)
Ottawa, March 22, 2016 – Today, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) applauded the federal government’s 2016 budget which stands to transform the way we build cities and communities and marks a new era of federal-municipal partnership.
Budget 2016 includes unprecedented investments in housing, transit, and green infrastructure that will not only bolster the economy now and in the future, but will also improve the quality of life for Canadians living in municipalities of all sizes from coast, to coast, to coast. The budget also introduces a new cost-sharing funding model, recognizing the limited funding capacity confronting municipalities. With an immediate emphasis on short-term projects, including repairs and renewal, FCM looks forward to working with the government on longer-term funding strategies.
“I want to congratulate our federal partners for their bold vision for the future of our country,” said FCM President Raymond Louie. “Working together, we will create jobs, give people affordable housing, improve transit, and protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.”
Municipalities play a crucial role in delivering services and creating quality hometowns for Canadians. Local governments are also best positioned to identify and carry out the projects that best serve their residents. Budget 2016 recognizes this reality through an increased federal contribution to important infrastructure projects and a streamlined process to ensure these investments move quickly to build, repair, and maintain Canada’s core infrastructure now and for years to come.
Local governments will be able to move ahead quickly with shovel-worthy projects thanks to Budget 2016. The commitment to repair and maintenance of municipal infrastructure will result in immediate benefits for Canadians by improving roads, bridges, transit, clean water, and wastewater facilities in their local communities while also allowing local governments to plan for future projects.
By committing close to $1.5 billion over two years for the renewal and repair of Canada’s affordable housing units, the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and shelters, our federal partners will help build livable and sustainable communities across Canada. FCM welcomes the commitment to develop a National Housing Strategy and remains committed to working with the federal government and key stakeholders on its design and a long-term approach.
“This budget and the new, stronger working relationship between the federal government and municipalities really marks a new way of getting things done for Canadians,” said Don Iveson, Chair of FCM’s Big City Mayors' Caucus. “This introduces a new era of collaboration which will see us build stronger cities and a stronger Canada.”
Municipalities will continue to play a key role in climate protection thanks to new investments in green infrastructure, promoting the development of resilient and low-carbon cities and communities. In addition, a new capital investment of $125 million in FCM’s Green Municipal Fund (GMF) will expand the municipal’s sector contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring environmental sustainability efforts for years to come. The GMF recapitalization, along with the additional $75 million in funding for FCM’s climate change program recently announced by the federal government, will allow local communities to continue developing innovative green solutions.
FCM welcomes new $50-million funding for infrastructure management and measurement, and the leadership role it’s being asked to play. With municipalities responsible for 60 per cent of Canada’s infrastructure, the time has come to collect comprehensive data on the condition of infrastructure to inform decision making in the future. FCM will work with key stakeholders to set up an infrastructure data and asset management capacity building program.
Canada’s rural, northern, and remote communities are an integral part of the nation’s fabric, strength, and economy. Budget 2016 builds on the strong partnership between the federal and local governments to continue building those strong and vibrant hometowns. FCM welcomes a new $500-million investment, over five years, to extend and enhance broadband service in rural and remote communities. The budget also makes important commitments to cultural and recreational infrastructure for all communities and to address the high cost of living in northern communities.
“FCM has been working closely with the federal government to lay out a roadmap to help make sure that these investments improve people’s lives,” said FCM President Raymond Louie. “Budget 2016 is the result of that work, but it is only the beginning. We now look forward to working together with all orders of government to transform these plans into tangible results that will build our communities and our nation and give Canadians the quality of life they expect and deserve.”