OTTAWA –The new Conservative government should increase the gas tax transfer to municipalities now and make it permanent instead of phasing it in over four years, says Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
A new Statistics Canada study shows that increased investment is needed to renew our aging infrastructure, particularly for wastewater treatment facilities. “We need sustained funding to stem the tide of deteriorating wastewater infrastructure,” Moist said. “This is a key element in keeping water sources clean, saving the environment and lowering costs.”
The study showed that the average age of wastewater treatment facilities is 18.3 years, or almost two-thirds of their service life. “Many facilities are at the brink and need to be repaired or replaced immediately, he added. Municipalities can’t afford this on their own and need more funding for this investment from the federal government.”
Moist says the transfer needs to happen now. Further delays will lead to much higher costs. And, “the transfer, which should be at the full five cents a litre, needs to be made permanent so that municipalities can plan for necessary long-term investments.”
“To avoid even more costs, municipalities need to reject public private partnerships,” Moist said. “P3s will increase costs to the public, provide poorer quality services, undermine accountability and rob communities of well-paying and stable jobs.”
Studies have shown that there is a 17 per cent average rate of return rate each year in cost savings to businesses for every dollar spent on public infrastructure investment. These savings do not even include the benefits to society of having safe roads and clean water.
CUPE is Canada’s largest union, with 540,000 members providing public services in communities across the country, including health care, child care, municipal services and more.
Contact: Paul Moist, National President, (613) 558-2873; Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer (porte-parole francophone), (514) 884-5074; Barry Doyle, CUPE Communications, (613) 294-9424.