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May 14, 2010
Municipal Leaders Coming to Toronto to Build on Recent Gains
  
The City is issuing this News Release and Backgrounder for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

FCM conference a chance to engage Ottawa on future of cities, communities

TORONTO / May 14, 2010 - In two weeks more than 1,500 municipal leaders will come to Toronto with one overriding objective: to keep Ottawa working with municipalities to address national challenges playing out on local streets.

That was the message today from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Second Vice-President Berry Vrbanovic and Vice-President at Large Claude Dauphin and Toronto Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone during a briefing at Toronto City Hall about FCM’s annual conference being held in Toronto from May 28 to 31.

The upcoming conference will be an opportunity for federal party leaders to talk about their vision for the future of Canada’s cities and communities with municipal leaders from every part of the country.

Working through FCM, municipalities have made important gains in recent years. The permanent federal Gas Tax Fund is investing $2 billion a year in local roads, water systems and public transit, and thousands of cost-shared stimulus projects have brought governments together to create jobs, fight the recession and repair crumbling municipal infrastructure. Between 2005 and 2014, Toronto alone will receive $1 billion in federal gas tax transfers, in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in dedicated public transit funding, GST rebates, and funding from FCM’s Green Municipal Fund.

“We need to start turning recent gains into a vision for the future. That’s the only way to deal with the growing challenges Canadians see outside their front door, from homelessness to traffic gridlock to aging infrastructure,“ said Vrbanovic, a Kitchener Councillor. “We’re heading into a tough, post-recession world. Canada is going to need strong, sustainable cities and communities to protect our quality of life and compete with the world’s best for jobs, talent and investment.”

The host city of Toronto formally welcomed the FCM Conference today.

“As the country’s biggest municipality, and one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse cities, Toronto embodies some of Canada’s greatest achievements and biggest challenges,” said Deputy Mayor Pantalone. “It’s a great place to start planning a new vision for the future.”

This year’s conference includes a wide range of seminars, workshops and speakers, including; Lessons from the New Deal, a conversation with former Prime Minister Paul Martin and former Minister of Infrastructure and Communities John Godfrey; and Leading Sustainability, a discussion moderated by Mayor Miller with mayors from Mexico City, Mexico; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Melbourne, Australia. The full agenda for FCM’s 2010 conference is available online at http://www.fcm.ca/conferences.


For more information, please contact:

Eric Collard
Federation of Canadian Municipalities
613-907-6395; ecollard@fcm.ca

Patricia Trott
City of Toronto
416-392-8937; ptrott@toronto.ca


Backgrounder

Strong Cities, Strong Communities, Strong Canada
2010 FCM Annual Conference
Toronto, May 28 - 31, 2010

Overview
From May 28 to 31, FCM will host its 73rd Annual Conference in Toronto. More than 1,500 municipal leaders are expected to attend. Their main objective will be to keep the federal government and all parties in Parliament working with municipalities to address growing national challenges playing out on local streets - from homelessness to traffic gridlock to the estimated $123 billion municipal infrastructure deficit.

During the conference, federal party leaders will have the opportunity to talk about their vision for the future of Canada’s cities and communities.

The conference is also a valuable opportunity for municipal leaders from every part of the country to meet and learn new ways to serve their citizens better and tackle challenges in their own communities. Workshops and seminar topics range from how to use new online tools to improve public services to building community energy systems that cut greenhouse gas emissions and save taxpayers money.

The FCM Annual Conference is Canada’s largest annual gathering of elected officials. This is the first year the conference will be held in the GTA since 1995.

Recent Gains
From the Federal Gas Tax Fund to the infrastructure stimulus plan, the municipal sector has made significant gains in recent years.

Core investments in cities and communities:
• $2 billion per year: Federal Gas Tax Fund
• $1.2 billion per year: average annual investments from federal cost-shared infrastructure programs (e.g. Building Canada Fund)
• $600 million to $1 billion per year: federal investments in affordable housing and homelessness
• $700 million per year: municipal GST rebate
• $10 billion: one-time federal stimulus investment in municipal priorities in 2009 and 2010

Benefits to Toronto
Toronto is a great example of what cities have achieved by working together through FCM. Benefits to the city include:
• $1 billion in federal gas tax transfers between 2005 and 2014
• $223 million in dedicated public transit funding between 2006 and 2010
• $50 million per year in GST rebates
• Millions of dollars in support from FCM’s Green Municipal Fund

New and Growing Challenges
Recent gains have helped repair some of the damage done to cities and communities by years of offloading and underinvestment. However, in order to protect its quality of life and compete in the post-recession world, Canada must turn these gains into a long-term vision for cities and communities.

Municipalities are still forced to rely on an inadequate 19th century property tax system to meet the challenges of the 21st century, from pollution to homelessness to traffic gridlock.

• Municipalities own and manage more than 50 % of Canada’s infrastructure, but collect just 8 cents of every tax dollar paid in Canada;
• As of 2007, the municipal infrastructure deficit stood at $123 billion;
• Canada is falling behind its international competitors when it comes to providing fast, efficient urban transportation systems.

2010 FCM Conference Highlights
Thursday, May 27:
• FCM Big City Mayors’ Caucus meeting

Friday, May 28:
• Prime Minister Stephen Harper (invited)
• Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff
• Winning in the Post-Recession World: a panel discussion
• Leading Sustainability: An International Mayors Panel

Saturday, May 29:
• Lessons from the New Deal: a discussion with former Prime Minister Paul Martin and John Godfrey, former Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Sunday, May 30:
• NDP Leader Jack Layton
• Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

The full agenda for FCM’s 2010 conference is available online at http://www.fcm.ca

For more information: Eric Collard at 613-907-6394 or ecollard@fcm.ca


 

 

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