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Housing, economic recovery priorities for big city mayors at FCM

Big city mayors caucus meeting at the first day of the FCM Convention in Regina.
FCM Big City Mayors
Big City Mayors Caucus chair and Halifax mayor, Mike Savage (centre) , along with Regina mayor Sandra Masters (right) and Laval mayor, Stéphane Boyer (left), meet the media at the FCM Big City Mayors Caucus meeting in Regina.

REGINA — Housing and the economic recovery been identified as key priorities for mayors attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Big City Mayors Caucus in Regina.

The meeting of the big city mayors took place on the first day of the FCM convention in Regina, scheduled to run June 2-5. The convention will be attended by municipal leaders from across the country.

The theme of an all-day conference of mayors of the largest cities Thursday was “Together for Recovery.” The indication from the mayors is they are focused on how cities can lead a strong, inclusive and sustainable recovery coming out of the pandemic.

“Now we are looking for the future of our country, the next steps that we need to take for our recovery,” said Regina mayor Sandra Masters to reporters.

Masters said the mayors would be meeting in the afternoon with Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Dominic LeBlanc, and would be focused on “housing affordability and the economic recovery.”

“Today’s conversations centre on how do we work together to build a more inclusive, sustainable country and how to get more done for Canadians.

A major issue identified has been housing affordability, and increasing the housing supply so that homes are affordable to Canadians.

Big city mayors caucus chair and Halifax mayor, Mike Savage, said that fixing the housing crisis is "top of mind for our residents and for us."

“We all agree: more needs to be done to fix the housing crisis. Cities across the country are doing their part to expand the right kind of housing supply — from rentals that can’t be converted to condos, to affordable housing, which is beyond what markets can provide. We are prioritizing solutions that bring concrete changes in our communities. We know what [is] rooted in our communities and we know what works in our cities, and we are maximizing the tools and the investment that we have.

Savage noted discussions would also focus on how to maximize new federal investments, pointing to the Housing Accelerator Fund.

The fund of $4 billion was announced in the budget and “has the potential to deliver real housing solutions that can help get housing built faster, for direct and functional investments. But only if it’s designed together with speed and results in mind.”

Also up for discussion among the big city mayors is the situation in Ukraine, the recovery of downtowns and their commitment and work on reconciliation.