Canada’s cities and towns provide most of the public services we rely on every day – from clean water and waste collection, to playgrounds and programs for our children. Yet local governments are under financial strain from increasing responsibilities and rising costs. They lack a sound financial footing to meet these needs. Municipalities collect just eight cents of every tax dollar levied in Canada, and their share of revenues coming from senior levels of government has declined. It’s time for new and better revenue sources for our cities and towns.

Big challenges face municipalities of every size, driving pressures on infrastructure and services.


Federal and provincial governments have downloaded responsibilities without enough funding to deliver the services.

Growing and aging population

A growing and aging population means increased demand for public services.

Climate change

Destructive storms, rising temperatures and flooding mean more damage to local infrastructure.

Growing income gap

The growing gap between rich and poor threatens communities’ social and economic stability.

Social services
Municipalities spend 25 per cent more on social services than they did a decade ago.

Streets and pipes
It is going to cost an estimated $172 billion to fix the roads, bridges, water and sewage systems that urgently need repair in our cities and towns.

Water and wastewater treatment
Meeting new federal wastewater standards will cost municipalities at least $10 billion. Meanwhile, drinking water plants also need upkeep and expansion.

Emergency services
Downloading means municipalities pay two to three times more for policing than provincial and federal governments, and the price tag keeps going up.

Public transit
Canadian municipalities face a $13.5 billion gap in funding needed to build and maintain transit systems between 2012 and 2016.

Community and recreation services
There’s increasing demand from families for services that improve well-being and quality of life.

With financial pressures on municipal budgets, important community resources like libraries are vulnerable to cuts.

Affordable housing
Lack of affordable housing is driving more people to public housing and homeless shelters that are already underfunded.

Learn how we can better fund municipalities, to build fair and sustainable communities.

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