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Canada must save municipalities from COVID-19 financial distress, Prince George worker group says

Sunset 4th Ave 4 - Nov. 4, 2019
Breathtaking sunset in downtown Prince George (via Kyle Balzer)

The following column was submitted to PrinceGeorgeMatters from Natalie Fletcher, President of the North Central Labour Council.

Our community is facing a crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted everyone, and local governments haven’t been spared.

Municipal governments are an important economic driver in our communities.

They provide vital services like libraries, road construction, policing and fire fighting, garbage and recycling collection, and many more services we take for granted.

However, COVID-19 is having an impact on the ability of our local government to deliver the important services we all rely on.

Therefore, these services in Prince George are vital in our communities.

Local governments help keep people safe and directly help citizens to weather the storm, and they need the help of the federal government to be able keep doing this important work.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has asked for immediate action from the federal government to provide emergency funding to get through this crisis.

We, at the North Central Labour Council, agree.

We are asking for the federal government to deliver targeted emergency operating funds to all local governments in order that services can be maintained.

The FCM is calling on the federal government to give cities the help they needed and has proposed a model based on the federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) that includes general operation for municipalities and the maintenance of public transit and transportation.

The need is immediate and urgent.

We call on the federal government to save our cities, towns and municipalities from financial distress by providing emergency assistance.