July 12, 2016

This communication with members provides an update as we near the three-month mark since INFRA Canada issued details of Phase 1 funding for Public Transit and Clean Water and Waste Water. Discussions are underway in the remaining jurisdictions, including Ontario.

Recap of the Federal commitments based on April letter to the provinces and territories setting out agreement frameworks for:
  • Federal Public Transit Fund – $3.4 billion; allocation for Ontario is $1.48 billion based on percentage share of national ridership; rehabilitation, optimization and modernization projects that improve transit systems.
  • Federal Clean Water and Wastewater Fund - $2 billion; allocation for Ontario is $570 million; rehabilitation of water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, planning and design of future facilities and upgrades to existing systems.
  • Both funding programs must be spent by March 31, 2018.
Canada has signed agreements with three provinces and one territory:
  • June 16 – British Columbia – Transit.
  • June 20 - Yukon – Transit and Clean Water.
  • July 5 - Quebec – Transit and Clean Water.
  • July 8 - Newfoundland and Labrador – Transit and Clean Water.
Some observations of the already signed agreements:
  • The Quebec agreement defines project incrementality as “federal funding under the Agreement that is added to the funding already planned by the Government of Quebec as part of its Infrastructure Plan, to allow Quebec to carry out more infrastructure projects or to accelerate those that it had already planned”. This is helpful to Quebec, which like Ontario, has a significant multi-year municipal infrastructure funding program.
  • Eligible project expenses are covered up to March 31, 2018, except the Yukon Clean Water Agreement which allows funding for an additional year, no doubt done to recognize the challenge of very short construction seasons.
  • The federal Minister has the ability to accept projects that are three years in length and the federal budget allocated 25% of the funds in year three to accommodate this possibility.
  • The agreements charge the provinces and territories with creating a list of projects for federal government review to ensure compliance with the agreements. Some agreements identify a list of initial municipal projects that meet the eligibility requirements and also provide a timeline for submitting additional project lists to the federal government so that all the funding is committed. (Unspent funding is to be transferred to the gas tax fund.)
  • No Provincial or Territorial Municipal Association is a signatory to the agreements, although some have been pre-consulted by their province.
Closer to home:
  • We understand Federal-Ontario discussions are continuing.
  • AMO has a meeting soon with Ontario’s new Minister of Infrastructure, Hon. Bob Chiarelli to
  • urge i) timely conclusion of the agreement so that municipal governments can submit eligible
  • projects as soon as possible recognizing that projects must be completed by March 2018 and
  • ii) early collaboration on Phase 2 design as input to the federal government.
  • Municipal governments should be reviewing their asset management plans for projects that fit the eligibility criteria and that could be submitted to the Province for consideration.