Canada’s municipalities are at a turning point. There is a growing consensus that more and better long-term funding through progressive revenue sources is needed to ensure that our cities and towns continue to be strong foundations for culture, community and industry.
The argument that municipalities just have to tighten their belts is wrong. Consider this: 90 per cent of Canadians live in municipalities and depend daily on local services and infrastructure. Yet local governments only collect eight per cent of Canada’s total tax revenues. That’s about half the share municipalities collected 45 years ago. During the same period of time, the share of infrastructure that municipalities own and must maintain has more than doubled, while the federal and provincial share has dropped.
Our cities are growing and supporting more people. Climate change, widening income disparities, and a rapidly aging population are just some of the challenges our municipalities are working to address. The pressure created by decades of service and infrastructure downloading from other levels of government is finally being recognized, but remains unresolved.
It is time to join together and advocate for the revenue tools that help us build fair and sustainable communities now and in the future.
From public health initiatives to preventing and mitigating damage from severe storms, municipalities are often in the best position to respond to local needs and opportunities. We help our communities and country succeed when we give municipalities the proper resources to do so.
It is time to fund our cities and towns properly, and fairly.
“As the size and scope of responsibility for cities has expanded to accommodate rapid urbanization and growth across metropolitan areas, ensuring that city-regions have the appropriate financial and governance arrangements to effectively and efficiently deliver services has become increasingly critical.”
- Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, 2011
“To succeed, cities need access to taxes that increase with economic growth.”
- Conference Board of Canada, 2007