I thought I’d share with you all what the AMO shared regarding the Federal budget announced for 2017 yesterday:

Federal Budget Includes Funding for Infrastructure, Housing, and Child Care

The Honourable Bill Morneau, Finance Minister of Canada, submitted his second Budget to the House of Commons today. The Budget was widely expected to elaborate on funding plans for infrastructure commitments from the government’s election platform and 2016 Budget and 2016 Fall Economic Statement, providing more details on priorities within the five categories of: green, social, transit, trade and transportation, and rural and northern community infrastructure. The Budget also makes commitments to support innovation clusters in Canadian industries, creates funding for child care over the next 10 years, and commits to a National Housing Strategy.
The government’s 2015 election platform promised to increase infrastructure spending by $60 billion over ten years with $20 billion each for Green, Transit, and Social infrastructure. The 2016 Budget committed initial Phase 1 of this funding in each category. The fall Fiscal Update expanded these funds to over $180 billion over 11 years including existing investments and new categories for trade and transportation, and rural and northern communities, as well as the creation of a new Canada Infrastructure Bank.
This Budget provides further details on these funds such as:
Public Transit Infrastructure – Budget 2017 commits previously announced funding of $20.1 billion over 11 years to support expansion of services, repair, and infrastructure. This funding will be provided to provinces and territories based on a formula of ridership (70 per cent) and population (30 per cent). Federal-provincial agreements will be signed to flow funding.
Social Infrastructure – Budget 2017 also commits $21.9 billion over 11 years to funding for culture, recreational, educational, accessibility, and home care infrastructure starting in 2018-19 as announced in the Fall Economic Statement.
Affordable Housing – Guided by a new National Housing Strategy, to be released later in the year, Budget 2017 commits to investments of $11.2 billion over 11 years from the Social Infrastructure Fund. Investments will include a range of measures including homelessness prevention programs, making more federal lands available for affordable housing development, and targeted housing for Indigenous peoples not living on reserve. Further, development of a new expanded, multi-lateral investment framework with Provinces and Territories will commence in 2019-20.
Green Infrastructure – Budget 2017 provides details on the $21.9 billion over 11 years of previously announced funding for green infrastructure to support such priorities as cleaner air, water, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and climate adaptation. This includes $9.2 billion for provinces and territories provided on a base-plus-per capita basis. Other initiatives in this area include:
$5 billion in Canada Infrastructure Bank funding for green infrastructure
$120 million for electric vehicle recharging
$2 billion for a Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund
$2 billion for a Low Carbon Economy Fund.
The government is also committing to provide some funding to renew energy efficiency programs, create a Smart Cities Fund to support ‘smart infrastructure planning’, and support the use of wood in infrastructure projects.
Trade and transportation – The Budget confirms $10.1 billion over 11 years for trade and transportation funding to support trade corridors which get Canadian products to market. Further details will be announced.
Rural and Northern Communities – The government also confirmed $2 billion over ten years starting in 2018-19 as announced in the Fall Economic Statement which can be used for a wide range of needs such as roads, bridges and transportation, renewable energy, and internet services expansion.
Canada Infrastructure Bank – The government provided additional details on this initiative, announced in the fall, which will be capitalized at at least $35 billion and attract private investment such as pension funds to finance major, long term infrastructure projects. The Budget commits at least $5 billion from the Bank to finance public transit and green infrastructure projects.
The Bank is also charged with the creation of a major infrastructure data initiative to collect and analyze comparable information on municipal and provincial infrastructure such as demand, use, infrastructure quality, and analysis for decision making. The Bank will work in partnership with municipalities, provinces, territories, and Statistics Canada to help provide better information regarding infrastructure investments.
Federal Gas Tax Fund:
The 2017 Budget confirms that the Federal Gas Tax Fund will be indexed as agreed at the rate of 2 per cent per year in $100 million increments.
Child Care:
Budget 2016 provided an initial $500 million in 2017-18 for early learning and child care. The government also announced that they will develop a National Framework on Early Learning and Child Care, in conjunction with Provinces and Territories, to guide the investment of these funds. Budget 2017 commits to an overall investment of $7 billion over ten years for child care spaces. The government is proposing to work with the provinces and territories to create 40,000 new child care spaces in three years as an initial goal.

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Well this was a lot of fun! Ward 1 Councillor Dan Gibson joined me for the grand opening of The Royal Garrison – also connected to The Round Table – on Essex St downtown Guelph!

Their website is here: The Royal Garrison and The Round Table Cafe

I created a little video of what you can experience and I must say, I’ve never “cut a ribbon” by throwing an axe before!

Congrats on this new business!


Province confirms additional environmental assessment is not required!

Guelph, ON, March 21, 2017– The City has received the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glenn Murray’s, decision that a higher level of environmental assessment (EA) is not needed to move forward with the reconstruction of Niska Road and replacement of the bridge.

We’re very pleased Minister Murray is satisfied with the level of environmental assessment we’ve undertaken to thoroughly study the Niska Road area and fully understand our community’s concerns,” says Kealy Dedman, the City’s General Manager and City Engineer. “We’re now ready to proceed with the much needed improvements to Niska Road that support Guelph’s safe and efficient transportation system.”

This project was originally approved by Council in December 2015. We were then, and still are now, confident in the City’s processes and plans. Council thanks staff for their tireless work along with the engagement from the community. I am extremely pleased that the Minister’s decision has reaffirmed that confidence,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “It is unfortunate that we’ve lost two construction seasons while awaiting this decision initiated by the Part II Order requests. I believe I speak for many within the community, especially now that the bridge has been closed due to safety concerns, that I’m glad that we can finally move forward.”

As the Niska Road project progresses, it will incorporate the following work as planned and budgeted by the City, and reaffirmed as needed by the Minister:

  • A Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) will be completed before the detailed design stage and  reviewed by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport;
  • As part of the public consultation, the final HIA will be provided to interested community members and made available on ca/niskaroad;
  • and the community will be consulted on integrating cycling lanes into the final design.

The final design will also be available on guelph.ca/niskaroad before construction starts.

The next steps for the project include conducting the HIA to inform the design for the Niska Road bridge, and starting the natural heritage study. The natural heritage study will look at ground conditions and groundwater levels, and will inform how the City will reduce impacts from construction on the natural landscape including recommendations for wildlife crossings.

We will be updating environmental studies and conducting ongoing environmental monitoring as we work toward a detailed design for the road and bridge that meets our community’s needs and respects the natural and cultural environment,” added Ms. Dedman. “The environmental and heritage studies will be our focus for the next four months, and we look forward to sharing a proposed design this fall.”

The City issued its notice of completion for the Niska Road EA to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) last February and responded to concerns outlined in four, Part II Order Requests filed by community members, in April and May, 2016. The Part II Order requests asked for a higher level of assessment—more environmental studies and community consultation—than was already completed and planned.

The Niska Road Bridge was closed at the end of February due to safety concerns about its condition and vulnerability to further deterioration from high spring water levels. The bridge will remain closed until construction of the new bridge is complete in 2019.

The estimated cost for the recommended improvements to the road is approximately $2.1 million and the bridge is $2.4 million. A total of $450,000 was been approved in the City’s 2017 capital budget. There will be no additional cost to conduct the HIA or natural heritage studies, which were already planned and budgeted.

To date, the City has invested more than $650,000 on the Schedule C Project Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for Niska Road.

The Niska Road study extends from the Downey Road to the City limits.

For more information about the Niska Road environmental assessment and approved improvements to the bridge and road, please visit guelph.ca/niskaroad.

For more information:

Kealy Dedman, General Manager/City Engineer

Engineering and Capital Infrastructure Services
519-822-1260 extension 2248

I’m always so excited to be opening up new stores and businesses in Guelph! Today was a unique one though! It wasn’t a retail store or a manufacturer, it was a Guelph startup called Givesome that is helping change the way people give money to charities!

So I asked how Givesome works while I was there today, and I decided to video Jay talking about what they do and to offer a challenge to all of Guelph to help out some local charities!

Here it is:

Guelph is always known for being so giving so this initiative is right up our alley! It ties in well with our 3 Things for Canada plans throughout this year too!

Take care,