April 19, 2021 – The Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) caucus is pleased to see today’s federal budget focused on addressing large-scale policy priorities like housing affordability and childcare while also investing in municipal infrastructure priorities. Municipalities could not address these complex challenges without the ongoing support of the federal and provincial governments.
OBCM extends sincere thanks to Minister Freeland and Prime Minister Trudeau for preparing a budget that recognizes the ongoing need to support the municipal sector. In particular, the caucus would like to thank the government for the additional one-time investment of $2.2 billion in the Canada Community-Building Fund (previously named the Gas Tax Fund) which ensures municipal infrastructure priorities and improvements can go ahead as planned.
Ontario municipalities have been calling for additional investments in affordable housing strategies as housing prices continue to soar, making it harder and harder for Ontarians to afford homes. OBCM is encouraged to see an additional $1.5 billion allocated to the Rapid Housing Initiative which has supported the delivery of thousands of affordable units since the program’s launch in October 2020. The budget also proposes $600 million over seven years to renew and expand the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund and $315.4 million over seven years to the Canada Housing Benefit. These investments will go a long way in creating more affordable units and in supporting low-income residents with their rent payments.
In addition, the proposed Canada-wide early learning and childcare system and increased investments in childcare will go a long way in supporting Canadians, especially women, in getting back to work. The program will deliver $27.2 billion over five years to move to a 50/50 cost sharing system with provincial and territorial governments while working towards an average of $10/day by 2025-2026 for all regulated childcare spaces in Canada.
“The pandemic has proven that we can solve complex policy issues and improve the lives of our residents when all three levels of government work together. OBCM is thrilled the federal government has tabled a budget that recognizes the fight against the pandemic must extend into the future to ensure none of our residents or communities are left behind,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman, OBCM Chair and Mayor of Barrie. “OBCM is looking forward to continuing its work with the federal and provincial governments to support residents as we fight the third wave and move towards recovery.”
About Ontario’s Big City Mayors
Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), formerly known as the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, includes mayors of 29 single and lower-tier cities with a population of 100,000 or more, who collectively represent nearly 70 per cent of Ontario’s population. OBCM advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.
Mayor Jeff Lehman, Chair