Letter: Cities in 'critical' need of more funding during crisis

Editor:

Our communities are facing two crises right now.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us, and our local governments will soon face serious funding shortfalls as a result. Senior levels of government have moved to provide some measure of relief to individuals and businesses, and it is critical that municipalities are not left out.

That is why we are joining with labour councils across Canada in a campaign to pressure the federal and provincial governments to provide emergency operating funding for municipalities to protect the vital local services our recovery will rely on.

Municipalities are an important economic driver in our communities, providing good jobs for workers and vital services like libraries, recreation centres, road construction, policing and firefighting, garbage and recycling collection.

A financial crisis at the local level is a threat to Canada's economic recovery. Federal and provincial governments must step up and provide financial support to our cities to avoid cuts to local services will hurt all of us and further delay recovery from the pandemic.

We at the New Westminster & District Labour Council echo the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in asking for immediate action from the federal government to provide emergency funding to get through this crisis. The FCM has also proposed a model, based on the federal Gas Tax Fund that includes funding for the general operation of municipalities and the maintenance of public transit and transportation.

The need is urgent, the time is now

Janet Andrews, Secretary-Treasurer New Westminster & District Labour Council

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