Support for communities is key to Canada’s COVID-19 recovery

June 23, 2020

The Council of the Town of Collingwood has joined a growing chorus of municipal, business, and labour leaders calling on federal, provincial, and territorial governments to come together to support municipalities on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), local leaders have appealed to other orders of government for emergency operating funding. In April, FCM released a report showing that municipalities nationwide face a near-term gap of $10-$15 billion due to the pandemic. Municipal leaders are seeking emergency funding to keep frontline services going strong—and to be ready to drive Canada’s recovery.

“Municipal leaders are taking extraordinary steps to keep Canadians safe during this pandemic,” said Councillor Kathy Jeffery, who serves as an FCM National Board Member, “But with costs rising, revenues plummeting, and no ability to run deficits, municipalities are facing financial crisis. In small urban communities like Collingwood, limited resources means the job of protecting Canadians is even harder.”

Examples of how Collingwood has been impacted are, but not limited to, the loss of Colltrans ridership revenues, loss of interest income on reduced cash flow, deferral of property taxes to August 31, 2020, and delays or one year postponements of capital projects contained in the 2020 budget to ensure the budget will be balanced for the year.

“This is no time to start cutting back vital municipal services or shelving infrastructure projects that will drive our recovery,” said Mayor Brian Saunderson, “Without emergency funding, municipal leaders are out of acceptable options. This will require bold national leadership and significant Provincial collaboration. We need all governments working together on this now.”

At the Monday, June 22 Council Meeting, Collingwood’s Council endorsed the FCM as they continue to appeal other orders of government for emergency operating funding on behalf of Canadian municipalities. Town Council shares the reminder that communities like Collingwood are central to Canada’s economy and well-being, are vital partners in getting this country back on its feet, and are ready to work as partners to build Canada’s future.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) unites nearly 2,000 local governments at the national level, representing more than 90 per cent of Canadians in every province and territory.