Federal Election 2019: A Lens for Ontario Municipal Governments

October 17, 2019

We are asking how the federal government can help to keep our communities clean, safe and great places to work and live. To help answer that question, here are the things AMO is thinking about as we consider the parties’ platforms and what the next federal government may mean for Ontario municipalities.

You couldn’t have missed it: If you’ve watched the news, opened your social media or cracked a newspaper in the last week, you know there is a federal election on October 21st.

The news is full of announcements and analysis of party commitments for individual Canadians and groups, but as municipal leaders, you have another lens to apply when evaluating what these mean: your community and municipal government organization. Just as we saw in election 2015, a promise to legalize cannabis, let us say, can have wide-ranging implications for municipal governments and the communities they serve.

We are asking how the federal government can help to keep our communities clean, safe and great places to work and live. To help answer that question, here are the things AMO is thinking about as we consider the parties’ platforms and what the next federal government may mean for Ontario municipalities.

Infrastructure:

The federal government plays an important role in supporting local infrastructure and keeping our communities clean, safe and great places to live. AMO is for looking a long-term, stable commitment to infrastructure funding for municipal governments through the continuation of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan (ICIP) and a potential doubling of the federal Gas Tax Fund – permanent, flexible and formula-based.

In any infrastructure commitments, municipal leaders will be evaluating how important core infrastructure such as roads, bridges, transit, water and wastewater and stormwater systems will be supported. These services are essential to economic viability, social connection and environmental quality.

Broadband:

Critical to communities and residents in a 21st century economy is the expansion of high-speed broadband and cellular services to all Canadians. The federal commitment to connect all Canadians to high-speed internet by 2030 is good goal. Continuing funding and implementing a practical plan to achieve this will be necessary to support access to services and information for all Ontario residents.

Climate Change

Municipal governments are the front lines and we see the effects of climate change often daily. Through flooding and drought; freeze-thaw cycles increasing potholes; extreme heat and more frequent storms our residents look to their local governments to help them in the most practical ways. Municipal governments in Ontario are looking for long-term funding for adaptation projects such as local flood mitigation as well as greenhouse gas reduction such as greening municipal buildings, fleets and wastewater system energy capture.

Cannabis:

Municipalities and communities are the front lines for cannabis growing, sales and consumption. Municipal governments want to ensure that their costs are for managing legal recreational cannabis are met, they have a strong influence over decisions that affect their communities and that communities benefit from any revenues the new industry creates so we can continue to support strong economies and quality of life for our residents.

Housing:

Housing affordability in the private market and the availability and fiscal sustainability of the community housing system in Ontario continue to be significant challenges for municipal governments and our residents. Municipal governments are seeking commitment from all parties for federal leadership through a permanent, well-funded National Housing Strategy focused on increasing access to community, affordable and supportive housing as well as attention on ending homelessness. There is need for funding to create more housing and to repair the capital repair backlog. There is also a need to invest in culturally appropriate housing for Indigenous households in local communities.

Childcare:

Access to high quality, affordable childcare continues to be an issue for municipal residents. Municipal governments are on the front lines providing childcare in local communities. We need support, including funding, from the federal government to increase the affordability and quantity of licensed, high quality childcare and early learning opportunities in Ontario municipalities and across the country.  It is vital to meet the development needs of our children and for economic prosperity so all are able to join the labour market with child care supports in place.

Railway Safety

As communities grow people and railways come closer together and that increases safety risks. Continued funding for grade crossing improvements can help improve safety for communities across Ontario and manage proximity issues with this important transportation system.
 

Category
Federal Election
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