TORONTO, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - Municipal leaders across Canada are seeking help
from the federal government to address a growing problem that is affecting
residents, businesses and all orders of government alike.
"Canada is a rich country," said Doug Reycraft, President of the
Association of Municipalities of Ontario. "So why is our municipal
infrastructure in crisis?"
The infrastructure underinvestment problem has emerged over the last two
decades. In the early 1990s, the federal government transferred a significant
portion of its operating deficit to provinces and territories by drastically
cutting funding transfers. In Ontario, in turn, the provincial government
downloaded part of its operating deficit to municipalities by downloading
costs for programs such as welfare, social housing, ambulance services, and
5000 kilometres of provincial highways and related bridges.
"The results are clear," said Reycraft. "Federal and Provincial
historical budget deficits have been transformed into a municipal
As a result of the massive shift in financial responsibilities,
municipalities have had to increase taxes year after year, reduce services in
the community, and defer infrastructure rehabilitation to later in its
Solving the problem will require collaboration, ingenuity and much higher
levels of capital investment by the federal government.
"Canada's massive municipal infrastructure deficit is undermining the
prosperity and competitiveness of the nation," said AMO President Reycraft.
Responding to a new study undertaken by the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities that shows Canada's municipal infrastructure deficit is now
$123 billion, Reycraft said, "The national figures are staggering and
Ontario's municipal infrastructure deficit is a big part of that picture."
Canada's aging transportation and transit networks are resulting in
gridlock that undermines productivity and the economic competitiveness of our
local, provincial and national economies. Aging municipal water, sewer and
storm sewer systems strain to safeguard the health of our communities, our
natural resources and our environment. As a nation, we are only just beginning
to understand how municipal infrastructure will need to be enhanced as we
adapt to the impacts of global climate change and the global economy.
Most public infrastructure in Ontario is municipal infrastructure. It
includes roads, highways and bridges; transit systems; water and wastewater
systems; public housing; long-term care facilities; electricity generation and
distribution, waste management and recycling facilities; sporting and
recreation facilities; the infrastructure that supports police, fire and
ambulance services in Ontario cities and towns and so on.
AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario's 445
municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government
in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and
essential component of Ontario and Canada's political system.
For further information:
For further information: Pat Vanini, AMO Executive Director, (416)
971-9856, ext. 316 or (416) 729-4394; Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, (416)