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The Issue


Public infrastructure is the foundation on which our communities are built. Good roads, bridges and water systems are just some of the municipally-owned core infrastructure that is essential to our quality of life. Smart investments in infrastructure drive our economy, increase prosperity and create jobs-even in times of slower economic growth. Building and maintaining local infrastructure provides a clear and measurable return on investment.

Across Canada, local governments own nearly 60 per cent of public infrastructure. They've consistently shown that they can get shovels in the ground quickly on major projects. However, taking advantage of key infrastructure renewal to strengthen Canada's long-term economic competitiveness will require collaboration among all orders of government.

Working in partnership with the municipal sector, the federal government must:

  • Implement commitments to increase the amount of dedicated federal investments in local infrastructure through predictable, long-term mechanisms like the federal Gas Tax Fund, providing municipalities with the flexibility to allocate funding towards local priorities.
  • Ensure greater consistency and coordination between federal and provincial/territorial infrastructure funding programs.
  • Remove the existing restriction on stacking multiple sources of federal funding for municipal infrastructure projects, allowing municipalities to apply federal Gas Tax Fund transfers towards critical local projects funded through federal infrastructure programs.
  • Carve out funding to support locally-prioritized rural infrastructure projects.


FCM Resources

2016 CIRC reportCanadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC)

The Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC) assesses the condition of Canada's municipally-owned infrastructure to help decision-makers identify cracks in this important foundation, and inform solutions to address them.


Canada’s housing opportunityCanada's Housing Opportunity

FCM outlines the steps and investment that can ensure every Canadian can find a safe, decent and affordable place to call home.


Ending poverty starts locallyEnding poverty starts locally

Municipal recommendations for a Canadian poverty reduction strategy.


Quick Facts

Nearly 60%

The percentage of public infrastructure in Canada owned by local governments.

Source: Statistics Canada, National Economic Accounts Division, 2013.


The number of jobs across multiple sectors, supported for one year, created for every $1 billion invested in infrastructure.


$1.20 billion and $1.64 billion

The amount of real GDP growth created for every $1 billion invested in infrastructure.

Source: The Conference Board of Canada, Lessons From the Recession and Financial Crisis, 2010 and Finance Canada, Canada's Economic Action Plan: A Seventh Report To Canadians, 2011.

Up to 50%

The amount of productivity growth in Canada between 1962 and 2006 attributed to investments in Canada's public infrastructure.

Source: Statistics Canada, Wulong Gu and Ryan Macdonald, "The Impact of Public Infrastructure on Canadian Multifactor Productivity Estimates, 2009.


The percentage of every dollar spent on public infrastructure recovered by federal and provincial-territorial governments through higher personal, corporate and indirect taxes. Local governments, on the other hand, receive almost no direct benefit-despite owning the majority of public infrastructure.

Source: Carl Sonnen, Informetrica Limited, Municipal Infrastructure: Macroeconomic Impacts of Spending and Level-of-Government Financing, FCM 2009.
Page Updated: 12/07/2018