March 25, 2021
FCM President Garth Frizzell issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement that the federal Gas Tax Fund transfer to municipalities will be doubled for one year—growing it by $2.2 billion—and renamed as the “Canada Community Building Fund.”
“By doubling down today on the most proven and reliable tool available to strengthen municipal infrastructure, the Government of Canada is taking an important step toward fostering the strong, community-rooted recovery Canadians deserve on the other side of COVID-19.
“Municipalities are responsible for 60 per cent of the public infrastructure that supports Canada’s economy and communities. Investing in that infrastructure is a time-tested way to create jobs, generate growth, and raise Canadians’ quality of life. The best available tool to do that is the federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) transfer to municipalities. Every year, it directly and predictably empowers communities of all sizes—rural, urban, northern and remote—to move the best local projects forward.
“Right now, in some communities, that may mean fixing a bridge to keep commuters safe and to support local commerce. In others, it may mean upgrading a recreational facility to keep people healthy and connected—or energy-retrofitting one to save money and reduce emissions. Or it could mean improving critical water and wastewater infrastructure to protect the local environment.”
“The GTF works because it leverages the expertise of local leaders—the ones closest to people’s daily lives. They are well positioned to identify the most pressing local needs, and the Gas Tax Fund is a powerful tool to meet them. Doubling next year’s transfer means more jobs, real economic growth, and better lives for Canadians everywhere. And that’s exactly what we’ll need to drive a strong and truly national post-pandemic recovery.
“Today’s announcement responds to FCM’s recommendation to grow the GTF transfer through a three-year post-COVID recovery window. It also leads off a response to FCM’s wider call for a national recovery that is rooted in Canada’s communities. These are the places where people live, work and raise their families—and where they’re living the realities of this pandemic.
“FCM has advanced strong recommendations to drive that recovery, starting in the upcoming federal budget. Those include bold action to tackle homelessness and housing insecurity—including building on the successful new Rapid Housing Initiative. We’ve put forward proposals to strengthen rural communities and practical solutions to economic uncertainty in Western communities. And to ensure municipalities can gear up for recovery, we continue to call for a durable solution to COVID-driven budget shortfalls that cannot be covered by last year’s national Safe Restart Agreement.
“To drive the national recovery Canadians deserve, we’ll need to work together. Today’s announcement recognizes municipalities’ central role in recovery, and local leaders stand ready to turn this key investment into jobs and better lives—in communities of all sizes across the country.
For more information: FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, firstname.lastname@example.org