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Speeches

Update on Development of Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF) at the Infrastructure & Transportation Policy Forum, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference

June 02, 2012
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Notes for an address by

The Honourable Lynne Yelich
Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

Program Update

Corresponding Document: News Release

Check Against Delivery

Thank you, Raymond (MC).

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

I’d like to thank the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the opportunity to speak with you today.

First, I would like to wish you a warm welcome to Saskatoon.

I’m delighted the Federation chose Saskatoon as the host for its annual conference.

Some of you may be visiting Saskatoon for the first time, while others may be more familiar with our city.

I’m confident all of you will come to appreciate the beauty of our city and its river, parks and walking trails.

I hope you all take advantage of the opportunity to explore more of Saskatoon as part of the conference’s study tours.

I’m very familiar with the initiatives being profiled since our Government has been a partner in realizing several infrastructure projects, including the riverbank development and new Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Our Government understands that improvements to existing infrastructure create jobs and economic growth, which leads to long-term prosperity in our communities and across Canada.

And my department, Western Economic Diversification Canada, is responsible for delivering these types of programs to communities across the West.

For example, WD has invested in almost 450 infrastructure projects under the Building Canada Fund across western Canada.

Under the Building Canada Fund, our government created immediate jobs while providing our communities with the modern infrastructure needed for long-term growth and prosperity.

And I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program, which was part of our Economic Action Plan.

WD invested in more than 700 RInC projects across the West.

The program created immediate employment for people in communities affected by the global economic crisis.

In addition to short-term job creation, the program’s long-term legacy is modern infrastructure and community facilities that better serve the needs of residents.

Since we launched RInC, I’ve seen the positive results for myself.

I’ve been privileged to join western Canadians at many community celebrations featuring exciting infrastructure improvement projects including:

  • The construction of a six-lane asphalt track at a local high school in North Vancouver;
     
  • Upgrades to a local Saskatchewan arena to make it wheelchair accessible; and
     
  • The replacement of outdated playground equipment at a number of neighborhood parks in Winnipeg.

The RInC program was extremely popular and was incredibly important to rebuilding our country’s recreational infrastructure.

Municipal leaders—like you—told me that the RInC program enabled them to upgrade swimming pools, hockey arenas and soccer fields – but there is still more that could be done. We heard you. And we are taking further action to modernize Canada’s public infrastructure.

Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes new funding for your communities to make local infrastructure improvements.

Once approved, the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF) will deliver $150 million across Canada to help your municipalities repair and improve existing public buildings and facilities.  The fund will help create jobs and generate economic activity in local communities across Canada.

Ultimately, the fund will provide upgraded community infrastructure that will benefit residents, while creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity.

Our Government will work to deliver the infrastructure funds to communities as quickly as possible.

My department, WD, will be delivering this program for communities in Western Canada. With offices across the West, we are familiar with both municipal priorities and provincial interests.

This knowledge has helped WD partner with hundreds of rural and urban municipalities to:

  1.  upgrade recreational facilities,
     
  2.  modernize water treatment systems, and
     
  3.  build roads and bridges capable of handling heavier loads and more traffic.

The stimulus phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan assisted our economic recovery and will continue to benefit Canadians through a legacy of modernized infrastructure.

Our projects have created jobs, reduced the infrastructure deficit and improved day-to-day life for Western Canadians. Whether it’s shorter commutes or greener disposal of waste water, everyone benefits from investments that re-build our infrastructure.

Through Economic Action Plan 2012, our Government is advancing our efforts to further modernize Canada’s infrastructure.

I’m sure each of you already has ideas about which projects you’d like to undertake with the new Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund.

More details about the program’s launch will be available in the coming weeks.

Until then, remember ... by working together we are building a stronger West for a stronger Canada.

Thank you. Merci.