Danger ahead: The coming collapse of Canada’s municipal infrastructure is the title of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities report that was released today. The FCM confirms that the physical foundations of Canada’s cities and communities are near collapse.
“This report confirms what municipal workers have known for some time, that our physical infrastructure is past its service life,” said Paul Moist National President of the Canadian Union of Public employees. The FCM report pegs the infrastructure deficit at $123 billion.
“Most municipal infrastructure was built between the 1950s and 1970s, and much of it is due for replacement. Our concern lies with the response that we have received to date from the Federal government in terms of the Building Canada Fund,” added Moist.
The $123-billion estimate in the study includes “sub-deficits” for key categories of municipal infrastructure: water and waste water systems ($31 billion), transportation ($21.7 billion), transit ($22.8 billion), solid-waste management ($7.7 billion) and community, recreational, cultural and social infrastructure ($40.2 billion).
“This figure of $123 billion will only grow exponentially, the federal, provincial and municipal governments need to come together to develop a sustainable plan that will tackle the infrastructure deficit. The impact of the infrastructure deficit goes beyond economic concerns, explained Moist, there is a threat to life and health – our bridges need repair, our water systems are springing leaks. With a federal surplus that is hovering at $14 billion, there are no good reasons to delay taking action.”
CUPE has known for some time that the infrastructure deficit was growing at an alarming rate. The FCM report details to the federal policy advisors and politicians the need to recognize the severity of the national infrastructure deficit. The expectation that municipalities can deal with the infrastructure deficit by increased property taxes is ludicrous – it is simply unsustainable.
“The Building Canada Fund announced last year is a flawed program that has repackaged already designated federal dollars into a scheme designed to profit from the infrastructure crisis so that municipal services can be privatized. What municipalities need is support to repair and replace aging infrastructure – not threats of ‘we will give you some money if you agree to privatize’, concluded Moist.
For more information please contact:
Paul Moist, CUPE national president, 613-558-2873 (cell.)
Catherine Louli, CUPE Communications, 613-851-0547 (cell.)