Canada’s Big City Mayors looking forward to driving economic recovery

By: Kw Now Local News
| Published 10/13/2021

Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and other big-city mayors met with the Prime Minister today
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Canada’s Big City Mayors looking forward to driving economic recovery

“Canadians expect all orders of government to continue working together as we focus on our economic recovery.' - Mayor Vrbanovic

Kitchener – Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and other big-city mayors met with the Prime Minister today to discuss federal support for economic recovery of big cities across the country, including Kitchener.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc and others today to ensure the strong economic recovery Canadians are counting on through federal-municipal partnerships.

“Canadians expect all orders of government to continue working together as we focus on our economic recovery and building back better,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “With the recent federal election behind us, we are looking forward and stand ready to work with the new federal government and all parties to address national challenges at the local order of government, including homelessness and affordable housing, economic recovery, climate change, and transit recovery funding.”

The Mayors emphasized the need for bold federal action with clear timelines to end chronic homelessness and tackle the housing crisis—including by scaling up the proven Rapid Housing Initiative and by launching the promised Housing Accelerator Fund that would empower cities to expand affordable housing options for Canadians.

“We can’t leave anybody behind during our economic recovery. The pandemic has proven itself to have the greatest impact on our most vulnerable and other lower income residents, and we need to work to find both supportive housing solutions, as well as affordable and attainable rentals, to support all Canadians,” said Mayor Vrbanovic.

With the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow opening at the end of the month, the Mayors underlined cities’ readiness to work with federal partners to deliver cost-effective local climate solutions that all parties can get behind. They also hosted special guests for a wide-ranging discussion of vibrant recoveries for big-city downtown cores.

“Downtowns and business districts from coast-to-coast-to-coast have suffered during COVID19. That’s why earlier this year, the City of Kitchener committed up to $5 million from our Make It Kitchener 2.0 economic development plan for our post-COVID19 recovery plan. But we know we can’t do it alone. Downtowns and small businesses in general will continue to need support, and we hope to partner with other orders of government to ensure the economic recovery of all business sectors,” said Mayor Vrbanovic.

The BCMC discussed major, permanent funding that can make modernized transit a centrepiece of Canada’s recovery and the longer road to net-zero emissions. However, the Mayors stressed that without federal leadership on COVID-driven revenue shortfalls, transit recovery potential is threatened. Covering those gaps by reducing service or delaying projects like fleet renewal will make it even harder to recover lost ridership and revenues. It is not only bad for people, but it is also bad for climate progress and for the economic recovery transit can help drive.