The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) President Scott Pearce issued the following statement today in response to the Fall Economic Statement from the Government of Canada.
Ottawa, ON – “Housing affordability is a top priority for Canadian municipalities. Today’s Fall Economic Statement takes some steps to improve housing affordability by increasing federal financing for new rental housing construction, increasing federal grants for affordable housing by $1 billion over three years, increasing funding for co-op housing development, and supporting municipalities in regulating short-term vacation rentals .
“While FCM acknowledges the federal investments to support new housing construction announced today, the reality is that we cannot rapidly scale up new housing construction without also investing in the municipal infrastructure that supports it. In May 2023, the federal government made a commitment to deliver a landmark investment in infrastructure across this country this fall.
We are concerned that the Fall Economic Statement does not reflect the scale of infrastructure investment required to meet the national housing supply gap, and FCM will be looking to Budget 2024 for a comprehensive, ambitious investment in community infrastructure that matches the record-breaking population growth currently underway in Canada. With winter approaching, we are also calling for urgent action on the homelessness crisis impacting communities across the country.
“The challenge of investing sufficiently in infrastructure to support ambitious new levels of housing will deeply influence the quality of life of Canadians in their communities for decades to come, and forms the core of FCM’s detailed recommendations as submitted to the Standing Committee on Finance in August 2023.
“In the last year alone, Canada’s population increased by more than 1.1 million. With every home built, there is a corresponding infrastructure need that must be met. New housing depends on new municipal infrastructure: from water, to roads, to wastewater facilities, to community amenities, to public transit facilities. This is what makes the difference between laying brick and mortar, and ensuring vibrant, successful communities into the future.
“That is why FCM has consistently called on the federal government to make targeted investments in the Canada Community-Building Fund to help boost local infrastructure. It’s 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 redefines how we work across orders of government.
“As our nation grows, the need for municipalities to confidently meet that growth is clearer than ever. Municipalities are on the frontlines of challenges related to homelessness and mental health, climate change and more. As Budget 2024 approaches, we will, as the order of government of proximity, continue to engage with our federal counterparts, putting forward detailed, future-focused recommendations that will empower Canadians by empowering communities.”
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites 2,100 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, firstname.lastname@example.org