OTTAWA, Sept. 14, 2011 /CNW/ - The lack of affordable housing and access
to efficient public transit and community services are significant
barriers to the success of new immigrants and the Canadian economy,
says the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in a report on
Canada's immigration system.
"To keep its economy strong, Canada needs an immigration strategy that
meets growing on-the-ground challenges and gives cities and communities
a seat at the table," said FCM president Berry Vrbanovic. ''Without a
decent place to live, an affordable and reliable way to get to and from
work, and access to front-line community services immigrants will
continue to fall behind and Canada will not meet its economic and
According to FCM's report, new immigrants are falling behind other
Canadians in their income and job opportunities. Overcrowded road and
public transit systems are crumbling and a growing shortage of
affordable housing threatens to price more immigrants out of the
regional labour markets where they are needed most. Ottawa's language
and job-training programs are falling behind changing settlement
patterns, leaving communities big and small without the resources to
meet changing local needs.
"Municipalities are the front-line, first-responders for many
immigrants' needs, yet we collect just eight cents of every tax-dollar
paid in Canada and have been given no formal role in developing federal
immigration policies and programs," said FCM vice-president Claude
Dauphin. "The federal government must recognize municipalities as key
partners in immigrant settlement and work with us to tailor solutions
to local needs."
FCM called on the federal government to protect long-term investments in
communities, including more than $500 million in annual housing
investments scheduled to expire during the next decade; protect and
build on recent investments in Canada's infrastructure and public
transit; work with municipalities, provinces and territories to design
longer-term settlement programs that respond better to changing local
needs; and collect data on immigrants' needs and report back to
Canadians on the results.
* The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has been the national
voice of municipal government since 1901. FCM represents with close to
90 per cent of the Canadian population - close to 2000 municipal
governments across the country.
SOURCE FEDERATION OF CANADIAN MUNICIPALITIES
For further information:
Mouktar Abdillahi, Media Relations Officer, 613-907-6395