CPWA Welcomes Government’s Focus on the Resilience of Canadian Communities

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – April 20, 2021 – The Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA) welcomes the Government’s focus on the resilience of Canadian communities outlined in Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience. Tabled Monday by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Budget 2021 will top up the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, establish a Natural Infrastructure Fund, and provide funding for federal departments to work with provinces and territories to complete flood maps for higher-risk areas – resources that local governments rely on. This builds on earlier announcements by the Government to fund public transit projects, conduct Canada’s first ever National Infrastructure Assessment, develop a Canada Water Agency, and double the federal government’s investment in municipalities and First Nations communities through the Gas Tax Fund (renaming it the Canada Community-Building Fund) in 2020-21.

“Public works and infrastructure services are vital to the health of our communities – and that’s seldom been more evident than during the past year,” said CPWA President Patty Podoborozny. “Our members welcome the Government’s continued focus on infrastructure investment, resilient communities and a healthier, greener economy.”

As part of A Healthy Environment for a Healthy Economy, Budget 2021 proposes to:

  • Provide $1.4 billion over 12 years, starting in 2021-22, to Infrastructure Canada to top up the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, to support projects such as wildfire mitigation activities, rehabilitation of storm water systems, and restoration of wetlands and shorelines. Of this, $670 million would be dedicated to new, small-scale projects between $1 million and $20 million in eligible costs.
  • Invest $11.7 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, through Infrastructure Canada to renew the Standards to Support Resilience in Infrastructure Program, so that the Standards Council of Canada can continue updating standards and guidance in priority areas such as flood mapping to help communities plan and build infrastructure that is more durable and resilient to a changing climate.
  • Provide $63.8 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Natural Resources Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Public Safety Canada to work with provinces and territories to complete flood maps for higher-risk areas.
  • Provide $200 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Infrastructure Canada to establish a Natural Infrastructure Fund to support natural and hybrid infrastructure projects.
  • Provide $17.4 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Environment and Climate Change Canada to support work with the provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, and key stakeholders on the scope of the Canada Water Agency’s mandate, including identifying opportunities to build and support more resilient water infrastructure.

“CPWA has pointed to the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund's existing minimum of $20 million in eligible expenditures as making it difficult for small communities to apply,” said Podoborozny. “So, we are pleased to see an expansion of this important program that will assist all types of communities in adapting to climate change impacts.”

Budget 2021 incorporates infrastructure funding announced recently by the Government, including:

  • $14.9 billion over eight years, starting in 2021-22, for public transit projects across Canada, announced on February 10, 2021. This included new permanent funding of $3 billion per year beginning in 2026-27.
  • A one-time investment of $2.2 billion, delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund (to be renamed the Canada Community-Building Fund), to address infrastructure priorities in municipalities and First Nations. The funding was included in Bill C-25, tabled on March 25, 2021. The bill is still at first reading.
As part of the Government’s plan to strengthen cities and communities, Budget 2021 also proposes to provide:
  • $22.6 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, to Infrastructure Canada to conduct Canada’s first ever National Infrastructure Assessment to identify needs and priorities for Canada’s built environment.
  • $567 million over two years, beginning in 2022-23, to Employment and Social Development Canada for Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.
  • $500 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to regional development agencies for community infrastructure.

“The pandemic has been a challenge for our members,” said CPWA CEO Scott Grayson. “But public works agencies and their employees have continued to deliver infrastructure services that are essential to the functioning of our communities: collecting solid waste, ensuring clean water supplies, treating wastewater, and managing transportation systems and public space. Making sure local governments and public works agencies have the resources they need is critical to a successful economic recovery.”

More Information:
CPWA Press Release
Department of Finance Canada Press Release
Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience