November 2, 2023

The president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and mayor of Gore Scott Pearce, and the Chair of FCM’s Big City Mayors’ Caucus and mayor of Halifax Mike Savage, issued the following today ahead of the federal government’s anticipated Fall Economic Statement.

“With Canada having recently surpassed a population of 40 million people, every corner of our country is turning attention to the opportunities and challenges that come with a growing nation. Growth demands action, and nowhere is this felt more urgently than in municipalities, where Canadians expect excellent public services and a high quality of life.

“That is why FCM is leading the national call for a new municipal growth framework: a new revenue tool or a set of revenue tools that are tied to Canada’s growth and potentially redefines how we work across government. As our nation grows, the need for municipalities to confidently meet that growth is clearer than ever, and they need the resources to do it. Increasingly, municipalities are on the frontlines of challenges related to homelessness and mental health, climate change and more.

“No challenge is more pressing than that of housing. And new housing depends on essential—but often invisible—municipal infrastructure. When Canadians move into a new home, they are not just expecting four walls and a roof. They expect sinks with running water, rooms that light up at the flick of a switch, a predictable system that hauls away garbage to a safe disposal site, local emergency services at the ready, and libraries, parks, and municipal programs that turn housing units into communities. These are not optional. Municipal infrastructure is the foundation for new home construction. And it requires immense public investment—resources that many municipalities and cities currently do not have at the scale required to meet Canada’s housing targets.

“All orders of government need to work together to solve Canada’s housing crisis. That starts with a recognition of—and commitment to solve—the very real but often unseen challenge of ensuring Canada’s public infrastructure can support the housing growth Canadians expect. The federal government has signaled that new details about their next generation of infrastructure funding are coming soon. Those details, and the upcoming Fall Economic Statement, must commit to infrastructure funding that not only meets the scope of our current challenges, but also recognizes the immense work and investment ahead if we are to meet the CMHC home building targets of 5.8 million homes by 2030—roughly doubling the annual rate of housing construction.

“Over the last year, municipalities and the federal government have been partnering through the Housing Accelerator Fund to increase the pace of housing development and increase density. Municipal leaders are committed to playing their part to increase housing supply. HAF funding is supporting municipalities to modernize land-use regulations and improve planning and approval processes, as well as upgrade or expand infrastructure to unlock new housing supply. The success of HAF shows that different orders of government can work together to address the housing crisis. Now we need to scale up efforts to match the level of growth that Canada is experiencing.  

“FCM is calling for significant new federal investment in municipal infrastructure to enable municipalities to approve and service more housing construction more quickly. FCM’s recommendations include: doubling the Canada Community Building Fund (CCBF) to $4.4 billion and increasing the annual index to 3.5%; $1 billion per year for 10 years for a new federal water and wastewater infrastructure program; and an investment of $500 million annually in municipal community, culture, and recreational infrastructure. As municipalities seek to protect communities from the effects of a changing climate, FCM is also calling for an immediate top-up to the DMAF program totaling $2 billion, with an additional $1 billion earmarked each year for the next decade. 

“To ensure uninterrupted federal funding for public transit, FCM is calling for the Permanent Public Transit Fund to be established in legislation in 2024, with new funding available for planning and design costs and a mechanism to approve projects for capital funding. The fund must also provide no less than $3 billion per year for a full range of eligible capital expenses, indexed at 3.5% per year starting in 2026.

“Canada is growing. Communities are growing. Municipalities are working every day to deliver the quality of life Canadians deserve. With other orders of government as partners, we meet Canada’s needs today, and in the future.”

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites over 2,000 local governments at the national level, representing more than 90 per cent of Canadians in every province and territory.

For more information: FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, media@fcm.ca

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