Monday, April 18, 2016

Media Release: Ontario's Big City Mayors Encouraged by Prime Minister's Commitment to Partner with Cities on Key Issues

For Immediate Release April 18, 2016

The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) met with Prime Minister Trudeau and key members of his cabinet last week to discuss the issues facing the majority of cities in Ontario and across Canada, including infrastructure funding, job creation and affordable housing.

During LUMCO’s meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, discussions focused on forging a new and different relationship between the two levels of government. The federal government made a commitment to tackle infrastructure funding and other major issues by working in partnership with cities at a four-sided table that would include the federal government, provincial government, cities and Indigenous People.

“The Prime Minister clearly understands the need to have all levels of government at the table to deal with the complex issues facing today’s cities - that’s the only way we’ll see real progress,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman, City of Barrie and LUMCO Chair. “LUMCO mayors look forward to working with the federal government as soon as possible on solutions to these issues for the benefit of the 6 million residents who share our priorities.”

LUMCO met with Prime Minister Trudeau and Trinity-Spadina MP, Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs. Mayors also met with Finance Minister Bill Morneau; Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi; Transportation Minister Marc Garneau; Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development; Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition and Tom Mulcair, Leader, NDP. Below is a summary of key outcomes:

Infrastructure Funding

LUMCO applauds the federal government’s focus on infrastructure in Budget 2016 with its commitment to invest $120 billion in infrastructure over the next ten years. The federal government has stated that infrastructure funding will be implemented in two phases. Given the importance for cities to have access to long term, predictable, sustainable funding mechanisms to address growing infrastructure deficits, LUMCO made the following requests of the federal government:

That Phase 1 implementation include straightforward funding mechanisms, similar to the permanent and indexed federal Gas Tax Fund, and streamlined approval processes to make funding available for municipalities as soon as possible; and

That the federal government consult directly with municipalities for input into the implementation of Phase 2 funding.

LUMCO is encouraged that the Trudeau government is increasing its funding commitment up to 50 per cent for some infrastructure projects in recognition that municipalities across Canada own 60 per cent of public infrastructure, yet, Ontario cities get only 10 cents of every tax dollar collected.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Enhancement

As part of Budget 2016, the federal government announced that in the coming months, it will launch consultations to give Canadians an opportunity to share their views on enhancing the Canada Pension Plan, with the goal of being able to make a collective decision before the end of 2016.LUMCO requests that the federal government make this issue a priority and work to align provinces nationally to find consensus on CPP enhancements so they don’t have to create their own pension plans.

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is a critical issue facing cities across Canada. Minister Duclos emphasized the federal government’s commitment to build a national housing strategy – which LUMCO has been calling for – and to work in partnership with provinces, territories and municipalities in developing innovative options and solutions to address this crisis. LUMCO looks forward to engaging with all parties to develop the national housing strategy.

The issues facing Ontario’s largest cities are the same ones facing cities across Canada. These are complex problems that require all levels of government to work together. LUMCO looks forward to working with FCM and the federal government as a full partner in our efforts to build strong and prosperous communities for the benefit of all Canadians.

About The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO)

The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) represents 67% of Ontario’s population with Mayors of 27 communities over 100,000 residents. LUMCO advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities. Jeff Lehman, the Mayor of Barrie is the Chair of LUMCO; Linda Jeffrey, Mayor of Brampton, is Vice-Chair.

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