Strengthening Canada's local economic foundations must be the top priority for federal, provincial and territorial government as they prepare to design a new generation of cost share funding programs this fall, said Weyburn Mayor Debra Button at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) board of directors meeting in St. John's Newfoundland.
"Weyburn needs a fair and predictable share of new federal funding in order to address our growing infrastructure challenges," said Button. "The federal budget promised longer term investments in the local roads, transit, water and wastewater systems that support our national economy, and now it's time to turn that promise into reality."
In order to meet the 2013 Budget commitment to ensure new programs will be up and running before next year's construction season, board members agreed that governments must act quickly to set priorities and sign funding agreements for the new 10-year, $14 billion Building Canada Fund.
At a time when fewer Canadians are able to enter the housing market, Ottawa can create jobs and support growth by working with cities and communities to jump start rental housing construction across the country.
The federal government must also follow through with its pledge to work with FCM on the design of new affordable housing programs.
While in St. John's, board members also endorsed national recommendations for improving rail safety in the wake of the Lac Megantic disaster, and called for closer collaboration with local governments.
"The lesson of this year's budget was simple: governments working together should be the rule, not the exception. It's time to expand cooperation among all orders of government so that we can strengthen our economy, keep our communities safe and prepare our country for the future."
More than 100 municipal leaders from across Canada sit on FCM's board of directors and standing committees, representing more than 2,000 member communities across the country.