OTTAWA – The Federation of Canadian Municipalities today released A Thriving Rural Canada: Rising to the Moment in Federal Budget 2016, focusing on the importance of long-term investments in rural Canada as a companion to FCM’s pre-budget submission. The report lays out proposals to ensure that the 2016 federal budget supports economic growth, sustainable development and improved quality of life in our rural communities.
“Our country’s rural communities are an integral part of Canada’s fabric, strength and economy,” said Ray Orb, Chair of FCM’s Rural Forum. “New investments in green, social and transportation infrastructure, including an expanded Small Communities Fund, will help ensure small and rural communities can meet their needs and contribute to Canada’s economy.”
FCM’s budget submission includes targeted proposals that respond to the needs of small and rural communities including an expanded Small Communities Fund that provides dedicated funding for rural priorities such as roads and bridges and water and wastewater infrastructure. FCM is also calling for a flexible approach to the 100,000 population threshold to improve access to funding and allow provinces and territories to work with their municipal partners to determine a threshold that reflects the size of small communities in their regions.
A Thriving Rural Canada also calls for enhanced support for disaster mitigation and resiliency and renewal of core public infrastructure as part of the proposed federal Green Infrastructure Fund, and targeted action on affordable housing that responds to the unique challenges and concerns faced by rural communities. Whether green, social or core infrastructure, municipalities of all sizes are responsible for close to 60 per cent of the country’s public infrastructure. Communities need predictable, long-term resources and flexibility to carry out much needed repair and maintenance and to plan for future projects.
“We are all partners when it comes to building a better Canada,” said FCM President Raymond Louie. “By working together, every order of government, our big cities, rural communities and Canadians from across this great country can ensure that we continue to enjoy the highest quality of life that all Canadians deserve.”
A Thriving Rural Canada is a companion piece to FCM’s 2016 budget submission, Cities and Communities: Rising to the Moment which provides a detailed roadmap to help our federal partners deliver the best results for the bold investment promises made during the last election.
FCM is the national voice of municipal government. In leading the municipal movement, FCM works to align federal and local priorities, recognizing that strong hometowns make for a strong Canada.