More and more Canadians are feeling the impact of inequality in their daily lives. That’s why we’re urging the federal government to table a budget that makes good on its promises to reduce income inequality and drive inclusive growth. The Alternative Federal Budget 2017: High Stakes, Clear Choices proves there is a clear path to a more equal and sustainable future.
This year, the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) proposes a federal budget that takes decisive action on what matters to Canadians: creating jobs, reducing income inequality, lowering poverty levels, closing unfair and expensive tax loopholes, and getting the economy moving. The measures in this year’s AFB would lift a million Canadians out of poverty, double economic growth to 5.4%, and, at its peak, result in 460,000 new jobs, bringing Canada’s unemployment rate down to 6.4%.
Specific to community economic development (CED), the AFB proposes the following:
Community Infrastructure Transfer
Action: Create a stable, sufficient and longterm local infrastructure transfer worth $5.4 billion a year. The transfer will be administered by a new National Community Development Agency made up of representatives from all levels of government and tasked with removing obstacles to the smooth transmission of public resources, including through the following measures:
- Developing mutually agreed upon, streamlined project approval criteria incorporating transparency, new reporting mechanisms, and independent fund-specific auditing;
- Identifying common goals across provinces and providing specialized services to municipalities;
- Developing and co-ordinating a National Transit Strategy and a National Sustainable Municipal Asset Management Plan;
- Creating an ongoing outreach strategy to promote codevelopment of public policy with all levels of government, stakeholders, and civil society partners;
- Developing and co-ordinating a National Brownfield Redevelopment Strategy to bring former industrial sites back to productive community and economic use; and
- Assisting municipalities in the development and implementation of Community Climate Change Strategies
Supporting Community Enterprise
- Social purchasing
Action: Adopt a social procurement policy including the implementation of social value weighting in all federal requests for proposals and contracts
Action: Include community benefit agreements in federal development projects, as proposed in Bill C-227, a private member’s bill currently before the House of Commons.
- Access to existing business support
Action: Expand the capacity of and access to existing SME services through the Canadian Business Network and other federal business development programs. This should be coupled with education about the programs for government officials to ensure a level playing field for alternative forms of incorporation. (Cost: $10 million per year for five years.)
- Access to capital
Action: Provide a tax credit of 30% on Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIFs) to accelerate their development across Canada. (Cost: $15 million per year for five years.)
CED Policy Framework and Lens Action
Action: Develop and implement a federal CED policy framework to be modelled on the one introduced by the Manitoba government. The framework will include a CED lens—a series of questions to help departments assess the degree to which they are incorporating CED principles into government initiatives
Neighbourhood Revitalization Program and Fund
Action: Establish a federal Neighbourhood Revitalization Program and Fund to support a CED approach in targeted urban and
rural communities in need of physical, social, economic, and cultural revitalization. (Cost: $100 million per year for five years.)