The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is urgently calling for action from the federal government to equip municipalities with the tools they need to ensure the quality of life Canadians deserve.

The organization published a report with recommendations detailing how to achieve a new, fair and predictable municipal growth framework. This plan would allow local governments to maintain and build the infrastructure residents need daily and deliver the services they depend on in their everyday lives.

“The time for bold, visionary and impactful ideas has come. A new municipal growth framework would notably enable better public transport and relieve congestion in our cities. It would ensure more affordable housing and facilitate access to home ownership. Municipalities could maintain and build more green spaces where we can gather and play with our children. We could offer more services to citizens who rely on these resources daily” said FCM President and Mayor or the Township of Gore Scott Pearce. “Our report, Making Canada s Growth a Success, charts a course for action that will benefit Canadians for generations to come.”

FCM is calling on the federal government to commit by the next Fall Economic Statement to convey a conversation with all orders of government to work together to negotiate a new municipal growth framework.

The analysis and recommendations contained in FCM’s paper were formed following an extensive research period that involved collecting information and data from public finance experts, municipalities, provincial and territorial municipal associations. The information gathered showcases the growing need to find sustainable financial solutions for municipalities to ensure residents are not being left behind.

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Within this renewed framework, FCM would notably like to see the following recommendations implemented:

  • Linking federal transfers to economic growth by indexing them to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product.
  • Increase the annual transfer to municipalities by $2.6 billion. Paired with the existing Canada Community-Building Fund, this would bring the total annual federal transfers to $5 billion.
  • Advance a new cost-matching agreement with provinces and territories to match the $5 billion federal contribution to municipalities.
  • Allow municipalities to use federal funding for both operating and capital costs, so they can prioritize local projects that foster population growth and economic development.
  • Develop a cohesive plan with all orders of government to end chronic homelessness.

“Big cities are a motor for progress and also dealing with a growing number of issues”, said Mike Savage, Big City Mayors’ Caucus chair and Mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality. “We are limited by a financial system that doesn’t give us the power to solve local problems on the scale needed in 2024 and beyond. Cities provide important services and infrastructure, but they only get 8 to 10 cents for every tax dollar. We need to get federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal leaders around the same table, working together to negotiate this framework. This needs to happen immediately. Canadians can’t wait any longer.”

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek emphasized the need for a new growth framework to address issues such as Canada’s historic population growth and disastrous weather events that are on the rise.

“As municipalities like Calgary continue to grow and face the challenges of serving new and existing residents, we need more financial resources like those in FCM’s Municipal Growth Framework. Ottawa needs to step up and ensure that municipalities receive the necessary support to serve the well-being of all Canadians,” said Mayor Gondek.

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Featured image: (FCM)

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