The new Building Canada Fund will force municipal governments into privatizing vital public infrastructure, even if it’s against the democratic will of local governments and costs taxpayers millions more. Having the federal government dictate decisions to municipalities is not an effective solution to Canada’s $127 billion infrastructure deficit, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
“Giving P3 Canada, a federal crown corporation set up explicitly to promote public-private partnerships, final say on whether a municipality must enter into one of these risky deals is an inexcusable encroachment on the jurisdiction of local governments,” says Paul Moist, national president of CUPE. “To make these kinds of rules, without any meaningful consultation, shows the federal Conservatives are not serious about helping municipal governments renew their crumbling infrastructure.”
CUPE is urging stable, predictable, long-term public infrastructure funding – as has been repeatedly requested by municipal governments across the country. This funding should not place unnecessary restrictions, such as requiring projects of any value to use a P3 model, that impede the priority-setting and decision-making powers of local governments.
“P3s are an exceedingly risky option for public infrastructure. Over time, many end up costing municipal governments millions more than if they had used conventional public procurement,” says Moist. “These deals force local governments to give up control of vital public infrastructure, at a higher cost to taxpayers, for lower-quality service. They are too risky to be a viable option for the massive infrastructure needs Canada is facing today.”
CUPE is calling on the federal government to abandon the P3 requirements, and consult with municipal governments, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and other stakeholders on better and more effective solutions that protect and strengthen public infrastructure.
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CUPE Media Relations