Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ottawa

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ottawa

January 26, 2011 08:00 ET

Federal Support Needed for Canadian Cities and Towns

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Jan. 26, 2011) - Alleviating the desperate need of Canada's cities and towns for renewing roads, bridges, community centres and public water systems must be a priority in the upcoming federal budget, says Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Costly public-private partnership schemes being showcased this week at a special summit in Regina are no solution for Canada's $123 billion infrastructure deficit, he says.

"Focusing on public investments is vital to Canada's continuing economic recovery. Funding public infrastructure is an important way to create jobs and to support communities still feeling the adverse effects of the global recession," says Moist, head of Canada's largest union whose membership includes over 160,000 municipal workers. "For every $1 billion spent on public projects, 11,000 jobs are created. That's twice as many created by $1 billion in corporate tax cuts."

Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan, says Canada's mayors attending the January 26-28 National Infrastructure Summit must approach discussions on public-private partnerships (P3s) with caution.

"So-called P3s are not the solution to infrastructure problems," says Graham, who will be at the summit on behalf of CUPE. "Experiences in Hamilton, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Brampton demonstrate P3s are a costly, risky and ineffective way of funding municipal projects and services."

More CUPE research on P3s can be found at

Moist and Graham are joining other labour leaders and Canada's mayors in urging the federal government to make renewed commitments to strengthening infrastructure in Canada's cities and towns with public investment in the upcoming budget.

CUPE supports the Federation of Canadian Municipalities call for a long-term national infrastructure renewal plan. The current Building Canada Plan expires in 2014. Moist says a long-term plan is needed to address the continuing $123 billion municipal infrastructure deficit.

"A long-term renewal plan for municipal funding will let Canadian cities and towns more confidently prepare for growth and prosperity," says Moist. "If municipal governments are better able to plan for the future, they can avoid the trappings of costly privatization schemes."

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