Canadian Institue Of Planners

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Planners’ Perspectives on Budget 2019

Posted on:émis le : 3/26/2019 - bypar
 
Planners’

Planners’ Perspectives on Budget 2019

On March 19th, the Government of Canada published its 2019 Budget, Investing in the Middle Class. In response, the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) invited its members to review the document with a focus on planning-related policy or funding. Taking into consideration CIP’s five policy priorities for this year, we offer the following reflections:

Social Equity and Diversity

Measures to improve social equity and diversity are weaved throughout the budget with $45 million over three years committed to supporting a new Anti-Racism Strategy. CIP is particularly pleased, given the current work underway to develop a CIP gender policy, to see $160 million over five years to strengthen its mandate to advance gender equality, and we commend the Government for its continuing effort to provide a budget gender analysis.  Given the significant impact cultural events can have on cohesive placemaking, it is worth noting the allocation of $24 million over two years to the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program and Celebration and Commemoration Program.

“I’d like to see a national gender equity strategy that is focused on the built environment it would tie into both the GBA+ system and the women in STEM considerations (as well as economy, safety, and others).” – Kristen Agnello MCIP, RPP

Housing and Community Development

A cornerstone of the Governments’ commitment to strengthen the middle class, is to tackle housing affordability and home ownership. The budget proposes a $300 million fund Housing Supply Challenge targeted at municipalities and other stakeholder groups to propose new ways to break down barriers to housing. It is encouraging to see planners specifically mentioned in the budget as having a responsibility, not only for ensuring that the right kind of homes are built but that they are built in the right places (i.e. with access to public transport and essential amenities).

Other noteworthy announcements included:
  • a Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) contribution of $1.25 billion over three years towards the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive;
  • an additional $10 billion over nine years to expand a Rental Construction Financing Initiative;
  • introduction of legislation to maintain a National Housing Strategy and the requirement of regular reporting on its progress and strengthening rules and compliance in Canada’s housing market.
An unexpected, but welcome announcement of an additional $2.2 billion “top up” to address municipalities short-term infrastructure priorities through the Gas Tax Fund is also a highlight.

The budget recognizes the necessity of fast and reliable internet access, and proposes to invest up to $1.7 billion in new targeted initiatives that will support universal high-speed internet in rural, remote, and northern communities.

 “The 2019 budget continues the Federal Government’s support for the implementation of the National Housing Strategy. Resources are also allocated to CMHC to work with partners to identify new solutions to enhance housing supply and increase capacity for data collection and analysis. All good news for planners.” – Mary Bishop FCIP

“The First Time Home Buyers Initiative may help a few thousand people get into the market, but not likely in Toronto and Vancouver, as prices there are well beyond the limits of the new program.” – Nicholas Tunnacliffe FCIP

Reconciliation

Building on previous commitments, an additional $4.5 billion over five years will continue efforts to close the gap between the living conditions of Indigenous Peoples and the non-Indigenous population. The budget also announced more than $700 million over ten years in new and focused funding to ensure that Arctic and northern communities can continue to grow and prosper. With 60% of Indigenous people living in urban centres, $60 million over five years has also been earmarked to support capital infrastructure investments in Indigenous focused social services under the Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples (UPIP) program. In consideration of major natural resource and energy projects, such as pipelines, $12.8 million will be provided to Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) to support its capacity to engage in meaningful consultations with Indigenous Communities.

“Given CIP’s new Indigenous Planning Policy, I’d like to see a stronger focus on consultation, capacity-building, infrastructure, and culture.” – Kristen Agnello, MCIP, RPP

Climate Change

The Government is taking steps to make zero-emission vehicles more affordable and has allocated $130 million over five years to deploy new charging and refuelling stations for electric vehicles. $10.1 billion has been invested in increasing energy efficiency in residential, commercial, and multi-unit buildings to be delivered through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Green Municipal Fund. FCM is also continuing to receive $60 million for the Municipal Asset Management Capacity Fund, which CIP is pleased to support by delivering training with the Canadian Network of Asset Managers (CNAM). CIP is also encouraged to see proposed $150 million infrastructure fund, starting in 2020–21, to support priority projects and economic diversification in communities affected by fossil fuel industry decline. $15.2 million over five years with $3.4 million per year has been allocated to establish Canadian Centre for Energy Information, essential to support good decision-making.

“Pleased to see the inclusion of transit and green infrastructure, disaster mitigation and adaptation, and zero-emission vehicle supportive infrastructure, particularly charging and refuelling stations and improved affordability of vehicles.”  – Kristy Kilbourne MCIP, RPP
 
“With measures budgeted to encourage the use of emissions-free vehicles, planners will need to get up to speed on how to plan for the infrastructure necessary to support such things as electric vehicles.” – Mary Bishop FCIP

Healthy Communities

There is growing recognition of the role that the built and natural environment has on mental health. CIP will engage further in this area in the coming year, which is why we are particularly pleased to see $50 million over five years to support the Introduction of a National Dementia Strategy.

As well as walkability, access to open space, and clean air, communities’ health is also dependent on diet. To this end, $134.4 million over five years has been allocated to a new Food Policy for Canada, which will in part, help facilitate greater access to healthy food. $77 million in additional funding has been allocated for the Enabling Accessibility Fund to improve the safety and accessibility of community spaces.  The budget also commits an additional $100 million over five years, with $20 million per year ongoing under the New Horizons Seniors Program to empower seniors in their communities.

“I was happy to see benefits to accessibility for seniors, but implementation is a huge issue.  It can be done, but needs strong municipal leadership to do so.” – Kristen Agnello MCIP, RPP

“The New Horizons for Seniors Program could be key in supporting such initiatives as Aging in Place for Senior across the country” - Olimpia Pantelimon RPP, MCIP

Looking forward, CIP will continue to monitor the delivery of the Federal budget, as well as identify opportunities for our members to engage in consultations and processes that impact Canadian communities and spaces. 

Thanks to Kristen Agnello MCIP, RPP, Mary Bishop FCIP, Nicholas Tunacliffe FCIP, Kristy Kilbourne MCIP, RPP, Brandon Sloan MCIP, RPP and Olimpia Pantelimon RPP, MCIP for their thoughtful contributions
 
 

About the Canadian Institute of Planners
The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) works on behalf of over 7,000 planning professionals nationally, and has served as the voice of Canada’s planning community since 1919. Planners safeguard the health and well-being of urban and rural communities, by addressing the use of land, resources, facilities, and services with consideration to physical, economic, and social efficiency.  Our members work in both the public service and the private sector, across fields such as land use planning, environmental resource management, land development, heritage conservation, social planning, Indigenous communities planning, transportation planning, and economic development. Learn more about CIP and the role of planners at cip-icu.ca.
 
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