As the 44th Parliament begins its work, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) recently presented a vision for Canada’s recovery to new and returning members of Parliament. Municipal leaders are putting forward local solutions to pressing national challenges—to drive the inclusive, sustainable recovery Canadians need and deserve.
“From affordable housing to climate change and public transit, we know what’s needed and what works on the ground,” said FCM President Joanne Vanderheyden. “This is the moment to learn from the pandemic and come out stronger than ever on the other side. Our solutions build on our federal-municipal partnership to drive Canada’s recovery in communities of all sizes—the places where people live, work and raise their families. Canadians want their political leaders to deliver results they can see and feel in their daily lives, and that’s what local governments do best.”
The document, titled Partners for Canada’s Recovery, puts forward nonpartisan local solutions that create jobs and tackle some of Canada’s biggest recovery challenges. They include:
- Tackling the housing affordability crisis, including by prioritizing the launch of the Housing Accelerator Fund, protecting our residents from “renoviction,” preserving existing affordable rental supply, and co-developing a dedicated Indigenous housing strategy. The recovery is a critical moment to rally behind our shared objective of ending chronic homelessness, this is why we need a clear timeline to achieve our goal, scale up the Rapid Housing Initiative and build on the Reaching Home program.
- Ensuring that the recovery happens everywhere, including the rural communities that drive a third of Canada’s economy. That means seizing this moment to make universal Internet access a reality, growing infrastructure tools that empower local leaders everywhere, like the Canada Community-Building Fund, and leaning all the way into concrete rural priorities—from disaster mitigation to regional bus services and financially sustainable policing.
- Accelerating climate action. The devastating flooding in B.C. and Newfoundland is yet another tragic reminder of the urgent need to build more resilient communities—and in order to do that we need the federal government to scale up investments in disaster mitigation projects, natural infrastructure, and continue strengthening local adaptation capacity. And to reach Canada’s 2030 emission reduction target and set the country on the path towards net-zero emissions by 2050, we need to work together to build upon federal investments that are already being made—including through FCM’s Green Municipal Fund—to drive high-value projects in key areas like building retrofits, community energy generation, electric vehicles and capturing emissions from municipal landfills.
FCM is also calling for urgent federal leadership to help municipalities overcome key hurdles to recovery. This includes providing emergency funding for transit systems that continue to face pandemic-induced revenue shortfalls. Municipalities are also calling on our federal partner to cover all retroactive costs associated with the labour agreement it has negotiated with the RCMP for local contract policing.
“If we want to get this recovery moving, we need to tackle these issues with all speed,” said Vanderheyden. “As frontline governments, municipalities understand the challenges people face in their daily lives and we know how to transform federal investments into real outcomes in our communities. That makes municipalities key to Canada’s recovery, and we’re ready to work with every party to get the job done.”
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites more than 2,000 local governments at the national level, representing more than 90 per cent of Canadians in every province and territory. www.fcm.ca/en