Canada's Economic Action Plan

Canada's Economic Action Plan

November 14, 2013 13:30 ET

Canada's Gas Tax Fund Helping British Columbia Communities

Second installment of annual GTF transfer available for municipal infrastructure

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 14, 2013) - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, announced today that the Government of Canada is making available the second installment of its annual $2-billion federal Gas Tax Fund allocation for municipal infrastructure, bringing British Columbia's total allocation this year to close to $250.7 million.

"Investments through the federal Gas Tax Fund are helping British Columbia's communities address their local infrastructure priorities," said Minister Lebel. "Our Government is proud to support infrastructure projects that create jobs, promote productivity and support economic growth."

Canada's Gas Tax Fund provides predictable, long-term funding for Canadian municipalities to help them build and revitalize their local infrastructure while creating jobs and long-term prosperity. Funding is provided up front, twice a year to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) which delivers this funding within British Columbia. Projects are chosen locally and prioritized according to the infrastructure needs of each community. Municipalities can pool, bank and borrow against this funding, providing significant financial flexibility. To date, close to $1.6 billion has been made available to British Columbia under the current Gas Tax Fund.

The Gas Tax Fund has funded numerous initiatives across British Columbia that support water and wastewater infrastructure, local roads, public transit, solid waste, community energy systems, active transportation and capacity building.

"BC's partnership with the federal government and Union of BC Municipalities in the Gas Tax Fund has resulted in more than 2000 projects across BC since the program began," said Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. "The fund has built or renewed a lot of the infrastructure communities rely on and generated huge economic benefits including significant job creation."

"BC local governments appreciate the long-term, stable funding provided by the federal Gas Tax Fund," said Union of BC Municipalities President Rhona Martin. "UBCM is pleased to work with the federal and provincial governments to administer this program in British Columbia."

The Government of Canada has extended, doubled, indexed and made permanent the Gas Tax Fund. These improvements will see Canada's Gas Tax Fund grow from its current $2 billion per year while providing provinces and municipalities with predictable funding to deliver on local infrastructure priorities.

To read more about the Gas Tax Fund in British Columbia, please see the attached backgrounder and visit: www.infrastructure.gc.ca/pub/infra/gtf-fte/gtf-fte-2013-eng.html.

For additional information about federal investments in infrastructure visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca or follow us on Twitter at @INFC_eng.

For further information about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

THE GAS TAX FUND IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

The federal Gas Tax Fund makes capital investments in important community infrastructure. Eligible investments currently include water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure, public transit, community energy systems, local roads and bridges, and capacity building. It provides predictable, stable funding, allowing municipalities to choose and plan the infrastructure priorities in their community.

Through the Gas Tax Fund, municipalities across British Columbia have benefited from close to $1.6 billion in predictable and flexible funding for local priorities since the program began. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities administers the program on behalf of the Province of British Columbia.

Results for British Columbia

The Gas Tax Fund is providing British Columbians with stable funding that will have a tangible impact on their quality of life and the long-term sustainability of their communities. The Gas Tax Fund has provided funding towards various projects, including:

  • The addition of several innovative technologies to allow the Saanich Peninsula Wastewater Treatment Plant to create thermal energy, making it more environmentally sustainable.
  • An innovative new program in Prince George to address rising energy costs by enabling seven downtown buildings to harness excess thermal energy produced at the nearby Lakeland Mill, thereby reducing their dependency on fossil fuels.
  • A newly refurbished community hall for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako now boasts reduced energy consumption and operating costs.

How the Gas Tax Fund Works

Canada's Gas Tax Fund has provided $13 billion to Canadian communities to date. The funding allocation is based on population for most jurisdictions. In recognition of their population size, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut receive amounts equal to 0.75 percent of the total annual national allocation, allowing them to also make meaningful investments in infrastructure. Funding is provided up front, twice a year to provincial and territorial governments or to the municipal associations which deliver this funding within a province, as well as to the City of Toronto. Projects are chosen locally and prioritized according to the infrastructure needs of each community. Municipalities can pool, bank and borrow against this funding, providing significant financial flexibility.

In British Columbia, Gas Tax funding is delivered through a number of programs, each with unique features designed to benefit the diversity of British Columbia's local governments:

  • The Community Works Fund is delivered through a direct annual allocation to support local priorities;
  • The General Strategic Priorities Fund is an application-based program to support environmentally sustainable projects that are larger in scale or regional in impact;
  • The Regionally Significant Projects Fund supports regionally specific sustainable projects that are larger in scale or regional in impact; and
  • The Strategic Priorities Fund provides funding for strategic investments that are larger in scale or regional in impact in Metro Vancouver.

On April 1, 2009, Gas Tax Fund payments doubled to $2 billion annually. In 2011, legislation was passed to make funding under the Gas Tax Fund permanent at $2 billion per year.

As announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the eligible categories for the Gas Tax Fund will be expanded and the Fund will be indexed at 2 per cent a year in $100-million increments, starting in 2014, allowing municipalities even more flexibility to focus on their infrastructure priorities. The expanded categories include:

  • projects supporting culture, tourism, sport and recreation;
  • disaster mitigation;
  • broadband communication systems;
  • highways;
  • short-line rail;
  • short-sea shipping;
  • brownfield redevelopment; and
  • local and regional airports.

Over the 10-year life of the New Building Canada Plan from 2014 to 2024, the Gas Tax Fund will provide close to $22 billion in funding for municipalities.

The Government of Canada is working with its provincial and territorial partners to ensure a seamless transition to the new funding.

Contact Information

  • Marie-Josee Paquette, Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Infrastructure,
    Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs,
    and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada
    for the Regions of Quebec
    613-943-1848

    Government Communications and Public Engagement
    Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
    250-387-4089

    Paul Taylor
    Director of Communications
    UBCM
    250-356-2938

    Infrastructure Canada
    613-960-9251
    Toll free: 1-877-250-7154