Mayor Jim Watson’s Statement following today’s tabling of the Government of Canada’s 2018-19 Budget
“Today’s federal budget is good news for the City of Ottawa and its residents, as it includes the necessary funding for us to proceed with the joint Central Library project with Library and Archives Canada.
Like many municipalities across Canada, our social housing units have a maintenance backlog that needs to be addressed rapidly. Although we welcome the long-term housing initiatives announced last year by the government, including the new National Housing Strategy, we need the funds for these much-needed social housing repairs to flow quickly to municipalities so we can deliver change for our residents in need.
Although we have made a lot of progress to increase our social housing stock in recent years, we cannot work alone. The three levels of government must continue to work together to improve the lives of our residents by ensuring every Canadian has a safe, affordable and stable roof over their head.
We are pleased to see a renewed partnership with the federal and provincial governments to support key housing priorities, including new funding to help build additional affordable rental housing for Ottawa families.
Given Ottawa’s large and growing Indigenous communities, I am also pleased to see specific housing funding for Indigenous Peoples. I look forward to reviewing the details to better understand if the City will be able to access and benefit from this funding for our urban Aboriginal populations.
As you know, the City was very pleased last year when Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Ottawa had secured the $1.16 billion in federal funding to proceed with Stage 2 LRT. This is a critical investment in the most transformational project in our city’s history since the Rideau Canal. It will reduce commute times for transit users, increase ridership, remove cars from the roads, and significantly reduce the production of GHGs in our city.
We are pleased that the federal government responded to the call of municipalities for an allocation-based approach to long-term transit funding, and that they remain committed to increasing the federal share of funding for transit projects across the country – including Ottawa.
Since November 2015, the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) have been working together to realize a joint facility of national significance. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to join forces and create a landmark institution; one that will serve the needs of residents as a Central Public Library, while offering all Canadians access to LAC’s public-facing services and their rich and diverse collection of works.
I am delighted that the Government of Canada will be contributing $73.3 million for this great city-building project. I want to thank Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Catherine McKenna, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, and all their colleagues from the National Capital Region Caucus for their advocacy efforts and commitment to securing this necessary funding.
I am pleased to see a focus and support for Women’s Programs and efforts to reduce gender inequality. More specifically, I was proud to see that Ottawa’s very own City for All Women Initiative (CAWI) received a specific reference in the 2018 Federal Budget document.
I am also encouraged to see $55 million over two years allocated to the National Capital Commission, which will enable them to proceed with critical maintenance to some of their buildings, bridges, parkways and pathways.
Our staff will be looking at the details of today’s Budget over the coming weeks to identify all funding opportunities that would benefit the residents of Ottawa. I am confident that the City is well prepared to take full advantage of any funding announced today, and that we are prepared to apply for priority projects as soon as the funding criteria are known.
Our priority remains moving projects forward quickly through investments that reflect fair cost-sharing among the three levels of government, as well as flexible criteria that facilitates municipalities taking full advantage of the funding announced today.’’
– Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa
ʺOn behalf of the entire Board of the Ottawa Public Library and our staff, I want to thank the Government of Canada for their contribution that will turn this great vision into a reality. The residents of Ottawa and Canadians from coast-to-coast will be well served by this new world-class facility offering access to Library and Archives Canada’s extensive collection.’’
– Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair of the Board, Ottawa Public Library
ʺAs the Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, I am very thrilled that a partnership between Library and Archives Canada and the Ottawa Public Library is becoming a reality in 2018. This was a key campaign commitment of mine and I am proud to deliver on it. This state-of-the-art facility will showcase incredible artifacts highlighting Canada’s history and cultural heritage. This partnership will make a visit to the new Central Library a richer experience for local residents and visitors to the nation’s capital alike.’’
– Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre