Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, the Honourable Mona Fortier, met virtually with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors’ Caucus as part of the Government of Canada’s pre-budget consultations.
Canada’s largest cities have been hit hard by COVID-19 and are delivering many of the front line services that Canadians rely on. Today’s meeting was an opportunity to listen to municipal leaders’ needs as they continue to fight this pandemic and their ideas on how Budget 2021 can best support cities and the people who call them home. The discussion focused on how the government’s growth plan can create jobs, address housing affordability, invest in projects that promote sustainable growth, and strengthen the middle class.
Attendees also discussed the government’s recent announcement of permanent and stable federal funding for public transit, which provides cities with the predictable funding they need to plan for the future.
Throughout the pandemic, the Government of Canada has worked with all orders of government to protect Canadians’ health and safety and support workers and businesses. Federal assistance for food banks, shelters, and through the Safe Restart Agreement have provided significant aid to municipalities. But more needs to be done to get through this crisis and ensure all communities are well positioned for a robust rebound. When COVID-19 is under control, the government has a plan to make smart, targeted investments to jumpstart the country’s economic recovery in communities across the country.
All Canadians are invited to share their ideas through an online questionnaire at LetsTalkBudget2021.ca, which will be available until February 19, 2021.
“Fighting COVID-19 is a Team Canada effort and so is the work to make sure we have a robust and resilient recovery. I am grateful that the mayors were able to speak openly about the challenges Canada’s cities are facing and provide their thoughts on how our growth plan can help their communities come roaring back from the COVID-19 recession, stronger, healthier, and more resilient than ever before. ”
“Canadians have a once-in-a-generation opportunity through Budget 2021 to build an economy that is better, stronger and more resilient for our communities, families and the next generation. It was valuable to hear from our mayors about their ideas to spur job creation and support recovery efforts. Cities are on the front lines of this crisis, and we will continue to have their backs as we work to support Canadians during this challenging time.”
- More than eight of every 10 dollars spent in Canada to fight COVID-19 and support Canadians has been spent by the federal government.
- The Safe Restart Agreement has provided $2 billion to support municipalities with COVID-19 operating costs and an additional $2.4 billion for public transit.
- On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, the federal government announced an investment of $14.9 billion for public transit projects over the next eight years, which includes permanent funding of $3 billion per year for Canadian communities beginning in 2026-27.
- In October, the Government of Canada launched the Rapid Housing Initiative and announced $1 billion in funding to create up to 3,000 new permanent, affordable housing units across the country.
- Since the onset of the pandemic, the federal government has invested nearly $700 million through Reaching Home, to help communities address the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak among people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and provide additional support to front line workers in the sector.
- As announced in the Fall Economic Statement, once the virus is under control, the Government of Canada will invest between up to $70 and $100 billion, or 3 to 4 per cent of GDP, in a growth plan to jumpstart Canada’s economic recovery.
- Key to this plan will be smart, time-limited investments that can act fast and make a long-run contribution to Canada’s future shared prosperity, quality of life, competitiveness, and green transformation.