Provincial-Territorial Meeting of Ministers responsible for Local Government

NEWS RELEASE – Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Local Government Advance the Interests of Municipalities and Communities

YELLOWKNIFE – September 20, 2006 - Provincial and Territorial (PT) Ministers Responsible for Local Government concluded their meeting today in Yellowknife and are pleased with the progress made in addressing the infrastructure challenges faced by communities and municipalities. They also engaged the Federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, on a number of issues, including a new approach for consultation and delivered to him a set of recommendations on municipal infrastructure initiatives.

Ministers emphasized to the federal minister the need for permanent, predictable federal funding for municipal infrastructure. “Municipalities and communities across Canada are the providers of essential municipal infrastructure that supports our quality of life and economic prosperity,” said meeting Chair Minister Michael McLeod, Northwest Territories’ Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. “But as this infrastructure ages, it is deteriorating. When combined with growth pressures and environmental standards as well, it is evident that the need for investment in critical areas such as water, roads and transit is growing rapidly.”

Ministers acknowledged the positive impact of federal investment to date and stressed that all levels of government will need to continue to work together to address this challenge. Federal investment will need to be sustained in order to meet these needs. Ministers also recommended that the federal government provide flexible arrangements that reduce administrative red tape and recognize PT accountability frameworks. PT Ministers look forward to hearing back from Minister Cannon before the end of the year on the actions that the federal government will take in response to the infrastructure consultations.

The Ministers also established a PT Intergovernmental Consultation Network to serve as a point of contact for collective discussion on municipal infrastructure initiatives. Minister Cannon agreed to recognize this network as an important forum for consultation on the establishment or renewal of federal initiatives for municipal infrastructure.

Minister McLeod said, “This network will help achieve better federal initiatives on municipal and local infrastructure, as a result of prior and ongoing consultation.”

During the two-day meeting, ministers were unanimous in acknowledging the importance of strong and viable communities and municipalities to the economic growth of provinces and territories, and in turn the country. Ministers looked ahead to emerging themes shared among provinces and territories including financial frameworks, capacity and structures, and roles and responsibilities of municipalities and communities.

“Provinces and territories have demonstrated real leadership in addressing the needs of municipalities and communities, and are uniquely positioned to work with them to identify and address their unique needs, “ said Minister McLeod.

The next annual meeting of Ministers will be in Manitoba in 2007. However, Ministers have agreed to meet more frequently, if necessary, to discuss municipal infrastructure and other issues where PT Ministers play a leadership role.

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For further information, contact:
Brandice Shostak
Communications and Policy Advisor
Municipal and Community Affairs
Government of the Northwest Territories