The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) launched an urgent call for the federal government to invest in critical infrastructure for Canadian communities as the country faces historic crises in housing, affordability, homelessness and climate change.

“We have been moving at a record pace,” said Mayor of Halifax and chair of Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC), Mike Savage. “Municipalities across the country have been accelerating housing construction, fast-tracking permit approvals, and coming up with innovative zoning solutions to get more housing built faster.”

While municipalities are working hard to get housing built, they own and maintain most of the infrastructure that Canadians rely on every day. Yet they only collect between eight and 12 cents out of every tax dollar.

“We tend to take infrastructure for granted because most of us only think about it when it’s not working. We expect our first responders to show up when there’s a crisis, our local recreation centre to have space for kids to play, and our bus to get us to work on time,” said FCM President Scott Pearce. “But this critical infrastructure and these services cost money – and municipalities can’t be expected to keep raising property taxes to pay for them.”

Municipalities have been underfunded for decades and municipal funding models have not kept pace with record growth. “Towns, cities and villages have been funded the same way since 1867,” added Pearce. “Back when a horse and buggy was the primary mode of transportation, and population growth was measured in the hundreds, not millions.”

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FCM is calling on the federal government to step up in Budget 2024 and enhance its commitment to new housing by investing in the infrastructure required to develop complete communities for Canadian families. Municipalities need to be able to rely on programs such as the Canada Community Building Fund (CCBF) that support growth and rehabilitation of existing assets.

“It is high time to empower municipalities with the tools they need to support growth,” said Savage. To successfully support Canada’s growth, FCM is advocating for all orders of government to come together to develop and agree on a Municipal Growth Framework to ensure economic development and great quality of life in every community across the country.

Featured image: (City of Toronto)

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