The Council for Canadian Urbanism has released their election call-to-action – ten points for “healthy sustainable regions and cities”.  It’s a checklist of common-sense policies from this country’s leading urbanists and planning directors, only radical because cities get so little attention from the federal parties.   

1) A progressive and influential National Urban Policy, that recognizes the critical role of the success of cities in Canada’s future.

2) A National Housing Policy that addresses the acute and growing need for affordable housing.

3) A National Transportation Policy that particularly addresses the need to expand active, cost-effective and sustainable forms of transportation, such as transit, rail, walking, and biking.

4) Effective Federal programs that will make us a world leader in combating climate change.  There is a need to align the above three national policies in achieving this goal.

5) A national dialogue involving the Federal Government, Provinces and Cities on the development of new sustainable, long-term funding and legislative tools for urban resiliency mand success.

6) Future Federal funding and stimulus programs focused on spending that supports urban resiliency and “smart growth” (i.e. complete and compact communities, expanded transit and rail, renewing aging urban infrastructure, enhancing cultural and civic amenities, etc), rather than on “shovel-ready projects”. A corresponding de-prioritization of, or halt to, stimulus funding that promotes auto-dependency and urban sprawl.

7) Tax reforms that support full-cost accounting of housing choices (which would reveal the well-researched and well-understood economic advantages of compact, walkable communities and sustainable transportation modes that require less infrastructure and lower public expense).

8 ) Federal tax incentives to promote the construction of purpose-built rental housing.

9) Reinstatement of the long-form census to enable reliable planning to better understand, and meet, future needs.

10) Electoral district reform that addresses democratic and fair representation of the population in urban areas, and recognizes the increasing urbanization of Canada.

The full letter is here.


  1. Noticing that the Hwy 1/ Port Mann bridge is 100% financed by the province, I am not convinced that the federal is the right level to discuss of local policy like transit, bike lane, social housing, “smart growth”, property tax reform…
    All that can be discussed at the provincial level, and I don’t see the federal as an impediment to the implementation of provincial policy in those matters.
    Does the federal should be involved in it or not ? answer probably depend of which side of the political spectrum you belong.

    1. I think federally you can/ should set over arching policies which help to support these outcomes. But you’re right in that the detail should be left to cities or provinces.

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