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 Strathcona County, Alberta.
“Our country is still dealing with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Canadians are faced with many challenges. We have our work cut out for us: from the housing and homelessness crises to the rapidly rising cost of living—from the fallout of increasingly frequent and extreme weather events to ensuring the safety of our communities by maintaining effective levels of police service—these challenges are complex and multifaceted.
“The past years have taught us that we will need unprecedented collaboration and partnership between all orders of government to face these national issues, and as Canada’s 44th Parliament is about to resume its work in Ottawa, municipal leaders from coast to coast to coast gathered this week virtually and in Strathcona County, Alberta, for FCM’s Board of Directors meeting to discuss these priorities ahead of the next parliamentary session.
“Infrastructure is at the heart of our communities, our economy, and was at the heart of discussions in Alberta. Renewing our infrastructure is a vital step in strengthening communities of all sizes—and it is critical that the future of national infrastructure programming reflect the unique conditions of communities large and small across Canada. This can both ensure the infrastructure we use every day supports our economic growth, and guarantee our communities are built for the long-term. This discussion at the FCM Board coincided with the reality that municipalities need to be better protected from new and increasingly frequent weather extremes. FCM’s suite of proposals to the federal government for the National Adaptation Strategy, released last week, is a comprehensive document that touches on the urgent need to take action to protect our Canadians from what’s coming.
“FCM Board members also stressed the need to work with our federal partners to tackle our country’s housing crunch. Too many Canadians, especially the most vulnerable, are struggling to find a safe and affordable place to call home. We need to continue to work on boosting the right kind of affordable housing supply in Canada, and local governments are the key to driving progress toward our shared goal of ending chronic homelessness. FCM is putting forward solutions targeting small and rural communities as well as big cities, through scaled up investments in proven programs like the Rapid Housing Initiative and the collaborative design of promising tools like the Housing Accelerator Fund.
“Municipalities are already leading in tackling these urgent challenges, but some of them are also faced with the financial strain caused by the retroactive costs associated with the new RCMP bargaining agreement. These contracts were negotiated without municipalities being at the table, and FCM has called on the federal government to absorb these retroactive costs, and ensure municipalities are involved in future negotiations.
“The safety, inclusiveness and resilience of our communities has always been a top priority for local governments across the country, and FCM Board members also acknowledged the excellent work done by the FCM Standing Committee on Anti-Racism and Equity. The Committee adopted a Commitment Statement at the Board of Directors Meeting, recognizing FCM’s responsibility and opportunity to drive change as a national federation. The statement commits FCM to grounding its culture, systems, policies and practices in an anti-racism and equity lens to challenge issues of race and correct inequities as we strive to improve lives in communities across Canada.
“Lastly, FCM’s Board of Directors wished to convey its most heartfelt and sincere sympathies to all those who were affected by the tragic act of violence that unfolded in Saskatchewan earlier this month. The shock and grief of this event is being felt not only in neighbouring communities, but across Canada.”
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites nearly 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, email@example.com