Toronto highlights the value of investing in people, infrastructure, the environment and small business in pre-budget submission to federal Committee on Finance |
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Toronto City Councillor Shelley Carroll appeared yesterday before the Federal House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance in Toronto and detailed a series of recommendations that will assist the federal government in preparing the next budget.
The submission provided the committee with a full range of options to consider how best to meet the growing needs of Canada’s cities and highlighted how enhanced support to Canada’s largest City would contribute to the quality of life of all Canadians.
"As you know, the economic security of Canada is inextricably linked to the economic strength and stability of its cities," said Councillor Carroll. "The success or failure of local and regional economies contributes to the overall competitiveness of Canada within an international marketplace.”
In recommending that the federal government continue to invest in cities, the Councillor noted that the strength of Toronto’s economy, with 16% of the national labour market, which generates 11% of the overall national GDP, significantly impacts the economic well being of Ontario, adjacent economic regions, and the country.
The full submission, containing the details of the City’s recommendations can be read at: http://www.toronto.ca/budget2010/2010_federalbudget.htm
Toronto’s submission to the Committee outlined the fundamental value of investments in people and public infrastructure and requested the federal government to:
• Enhance the Employment Insurance Program to ensure equal access
• Create a national housing strategy with predictable, long-term funding for affordable housing and homelessness services
• Create a national transit strategy
• Provide permanent support for early learning and child care system
With respect to affordable housing, the City highlighted the continued need for a national housing strategy to ensure sustained and enhanced investment in affordable housing. The Councillor noted that building 1,000 affordable houses creates between 2,000 and 2,500 jobs. Availability of affordable housing attracts key workers and their families and encourages people to live near where they work - reducing pollution from long commutes.
The submission also detailed the value of supporting the green economy. As the City of Toronto is implementing a sustainable energy strategy to help meet greenhouse gas reduction targets, which includes a component to help accelerate the retrofit of buildings, transportation systems and energy infrastructure in Toronto, the City recommends that the federal government supports the green economy in areas such as:
• Labour market development and support programs for the green building and renewable energy sector,
• Building retrofits
• Investment in the agricultural sector and local food
Councillor Carroll emphasized the need for the federal government, as part of its next budget, to develop a policy focus to support entrepreneurship, self-employment and small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). SMEs will be a principle driver of employment growth in the future and governments need to implement public policy and programs that support this sector, which is a key source of employment growth in Toronto.
The Councillor noted to the committee that the recession has hit Toronto hard and more Torontonians are relying on Employment Insurance and live in vulnerable situations. The Councillor highlighted the many actions the City has taken to help residents and business in Toronto, including:
• Investing $25 B in capital spending over 10 years to create and protect over 300,000 jobs
• Modernizing employment & social services to enhance labour market access
• Stimulating local development
• Creating green jobs
• Launching the “Toronto Helps” program outreach initiative
• Committing to match federal stimulus programs or in the case of the Infrastructure Stimulus fund, put two-thirds funding on the table.
The City submission also recognized the public infrastructure initiatives the Government of Canada has undertaken in partnership with the City, including:
• The federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) and the Public Transit Fund
• The Building Canada Fund, major infrastructure component
• The Infrastructure Stimulus Fund
• Recreational Infrastructure Canada program
• Federal investment in Social and Affordable Housing
Media contact: Councillor Shelley Carroll, 416 392-4101, firstname.lastname@example.org