On July 15, Council approved to receive and file my MO-05-19 FCM Conference Report that including an overview of the 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Conference and some takeaways from me and some of our Councillors. Last month, I also published a blog post recapping the conference – I encourage you to take a read of that as well.
Overall, those who attended gained valuable insights, relationships, and learnings to bring back to their roles and to our city. It was a worthy use of time to attend and we look forward to participating in future years as well.
Background and Overview:
From May 30-June 2, I, along with some City Councillors and select staff members from the City of Burlington, attended the FCM annual conference and trade show. This year’s event was held in Quebec City and is the largest gathering of municipal elected officials in Canada. Attendance this year was the highest they have ever seen.
Being present at this event provides our leadership team with opportunities to network and partner with peers on shared issues and ideas, to attend targeted workshops on a variety of relevant municipal issues, and to participate in study tours on topics like smart mobility, assistance for people in crisis, preserving built heritage, and more.
With the upcoming election this fall, we also had a very timely opportunity to hear from each federal party leader on the way they intend to work with municipalities if elected.
Funding for the Mayor and Councillors to attend is provided by Halton Region and budgeted for on a yearly basis. The cost of attendance by other relevant staff was charged to their area’s related pre-approved travel allowance budget.
Councillor Rory Nisan ran in the regional board election to represent us on the Ontario Board of FCM, and won, so he will bring our local voice to the table for the next year.
From my own point of view, I appreciated the heritage building study tour where I saw how they are revitalizing their heritage sites, primarily as a tourist draw. I got a lot of value from the urban tree canopy tour and heard about their citywide tree bylaw and supporting initiatives. The emerald ash borer beetle is a problem there as well and I was interested to learn their management and mitigation approach.
Hearing every federal party leader voice their commitment to predictable, sustainable infrastructure funding was great to experience first-hand, with one speaking about giving municipalities more authority through a Charter City program (similar to what Toronto is proposing). I’ve asked staff to explore the prospect more deeply and report back on that possibility.
I was very impressed to see how old Quebec City had managed to put all their underground parking underneath their public parks, making their ground level public spaces beautiful and environmentally-friendly. These tours really open our eyes to things that we may not know are possible in our own cities.
To provide further context on the benefits of attending, please click the link to the full report above to read the insights from some of our city councillors.
The FCM Conference is another great way to collaborate with my peers across Canada — to find new and innovative ways to make sure your city and elected officials are serving you better. This year, more than 2,000 delegates from across Canada attended. FCM has 2,071 member local governments, from 19 provincial and territorial associations, representing 91% of Canadian residents. The Conference itself offers us the chance to engage in workshops and study tours where we learned some best practices and gained new insights to solving some of the challenges we face in our own municipalities. We are truly stronger when we stand together with one voice on local issues.