Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and municipal leaders across Canada are working hard to keep Canadians safe through the pandemic’s second wave, while also planning for an economic recovery. Through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), detailed recommendations for recovery planning were released which protect frontline municipal services while ensuring a green and inclusive recovery.
“We know that municipalities can play a significant role delivering on economic recovery,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “By working together with our federal and provincial partners, municipalities will not only be well-positioned to support a strong economic recovery, but we will also be able to build back better so that our recovery is both green and inclusive.”
The pandemic will stretch into 2021, so continued operating funding support for municipalities from federal and provincial governments will be needed to protect frontline services. “The Federal government and Province of Ontario stepped-up with emergency operating funding for municipalities for our 2020 budgets through the Safe Restart Agreement, and we are thankful for their support,” said Vrbanovic. “As we move into 2021, we will continue to need operating funding support so that we can keep municipal services going strong, and to ensure cities are stable and ready to help drive Canada’s economic recovery.”
The pandemic has exposed real inequalities and disproportionate impacts in Canada. From women and seniors, to Indigenous, Black, and racialized Canadians, to those experiencing homelessness, more can be done to ensure marginalized and vulnerable populations aren’t left behind. “By scaling up the Rapid Housing Initiative, Reaching Home program and expanding affordable housing, municipalities want to do our part to make sure the economic recovery is also an inclusive recovery,” said Vrbanovic.
This is a great opportunity to ensure the economic recovery is also a green recovery. Post-COVID and well into the future, we know that public transit will be needed, and investments in public transit will create jobs and grow the economy while reducing GHG emissions. Investments in disaster mitigation and adaption efforts and natural infrastructure will also boost climate resilience. “Throughout this pandemic, we have seen and heard stories about air and water becoming clean at popular landmarks around the world due to reduced human activity,” said Vrbanovic. “We have to make green investments now to help maintain good air and water quality and do our part for the environment in the years to come.”
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