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March 24, 2017

Summary of Federal Budget 2017 for CPRA Members

March 21, 2017, the Trudeau government tabled the second federal budget in their mandate.While the budget is generally being met with an underwhelming response by most sectors, CPRA is celebrating important commitments in the budget that will move parks and recreation sector forward.

These commitments are delivered after an active effort by CPRA, its members and its partners to secure funding on these key initiatives.

Full Budget 2017 can be accessed at

Below is a summary of some key budget commitments of interest to the parks and recreation sector.It is important to note that specific details of these programs will follow in the weeks to come.

Strengthening Cultural and Recreational Infrastructure

Budget Text:

Budget 2017 proposes to build on its commitment to cultural and recreation infrastructure, with a further investment of $1.8 billion over 10 years starting in 2018–19. Of this amount, more than $1.3 billion will be provided to provinces and territories through integrated bilateral agreements, on a base plus per capita allocation basis. This investment will be delivered through the second phase of social infrastructure funding.

Note:It is important to note that this funding begins in 2018-19.Over the course of the next year, the federal government will work with its provincial and territorial counterparts to strike bilateral agreements.

These dollars are strictly for cultural and recreation infrastructure– provinces and territories do not have the authority to shift this funding to other infrastructure needs.The federal government has not assigned how much will go to cultural infrastructure and how much will go to recreation infrastructure – that will be determined by municipalities - but there is a hope that cultural and recreation needs can be addressed in some cases through a single infrastructure project.

It will be critical for provincial and territorial parks and recreation associations to meet with their provincial and territorial governments to influence the details of the bilateral agreements for this initiative.

CPRA and its members actively pursued this commitment from the government and this is considered to be a significant ‘win’.The dedicated nature of the fund is the key as it allows for future investments to be added to this envelope that is protected for cultural and recreation priorities.

Details on these funding opportunities will come from the provincial and territorial governments.

Infrastructure Partnerships through Bilateral Agreements

Budget Text:

A new infrastructure plan for Canada needs new partnerships—the kind that respect local expertise and don’t try to force a one-size-fits-all solution on Canada’s diverse communities.

To promote closer, more effective collaboration between governments, the Government will work with provincial and territorial partners to establish and support infrastructure outcomes that make sense for Canadians—whether new investments in public transit or more support for the cultural infrastructure that makes our communities feel like home.

The bilateral agreements will be negotiated in the coming months, and provide funding for:

The unique infrastructure needs of rural and northern communities, including delivering more reliable energy networks and greater digital connectivity;
Cultural and recreational infrastructure to build stronger communities and neighbourhoods;
Along with many other areas including transportation, climate change and greenhouse gas mitigation;
Provide comparable data and information on issues such as infrastructure demand and usage for
Provide a national picture on the state and performance of public infrastructure across asset classes.
Deliver high-quality data analytics to help inform policy and decision-making, and promote fact-based dialogue between all orders of government.
Track the impacts of infrastructure investments so that governments can report back to Canadians on what has been achieved.
The bilateral agreements will involve cost-sharing for agreed-to projects, with the proportions determined based on the recipient of the funds. The Government will provide funding for projects on the following basis: up to 40 per cent federal funding for projects undertaken with municipal and not-for-profit partners; up to 50 per cent federal funding for projects with provincial partners; and up to 75 per cent federal funding for projects with Indigenous partners and projects with territorial partners. For public transit in provinces, the Government will provide up to 50 per cent of eligible costs for rehabilitation projects (with funding for rehabilitation projects capped at 15 per cent of total public transit funding), while funding for new public transit construction and expansion projects will be cost-shared at up to 40 per cent federal funding.

The bilateral agreements will include provisions to support ongoing monitoring of projects, and reporting to Canadians on how the Government’s infrastructure plan is delivering results in local communities and meeting national objectives. The Government intends to work with the provinces and territories to establish outcomes and results that can be measured and reported on in a timely and meaningful way.

Note: CPRA encourages provincial and territorial parks and recreation associations to meet with their government counterparts to influence the details of the bilateral agreements that will be developed as they relate to the cultural and recreation infrastructure fund.

Enabling Accessibility Fund

Budget Text:

The Enabling Accessibility Fund supports the construction and renovation of public spaces to make them more accessible, making it possible for Canadians with disabilities to participate more fully in their community and the economy. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $77 million over 10 years to expand the activities of the Enabling Accessibility Fund. Eligible projects will include constructing and renovating infrastructure (e.g., adding ramps, automatic door openers and accessible washrooms), providing accessible information and communication technologies and retrofitting vehicles.

Note: Municipal recreation places and spaces have qualified and will continue to qualify for this funding opportunity.

Better Decisions through Better Data

Budget Text:

To help municipalities better track, collect, use and share the data needed to measure the impact of infrastructure investments, the Government of Canada and the Canada Infrastructure Bank will work in partnership with provinces, territories, municipalities and Statistics Canada to undertake an ambitious data initiative on Canadian infrastructure.

The data initiative will help all levels of government by providing intelligence to better direct infrastructure investments, and will support efforts to:

Jurisdictions across the country.

Note:CPRA has already been working with Statistics Canada on its infrastructure survey that will be released to municipalities this summer.There will be up to 10 questions specific to recreation.CPRA views this initial survey as a positive first step but is encouraging government to consider how to build a meaningful inventory after this initial baseline is established.

Completing the Trans Canada Trail

Budget Text:

Canadians are fortunate to live in a country where we can enjoy its natural beauty while pursuing healthy, outdoor activities. The Trans Canada Trail is one of the world’s longest networks of multi-use recreational trails, comprising land and water routes across urban, rural and wilderness landscapes. When completed, it will be the longest recreational trail in the world, stretching nearly 24,000 kilometers from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic Oceans. The Trail connects people across the country, touching every provincial and territorial capital, and linking together 15,000 communities. Its vast network also makes it accessible—the Trail will be within 30 minutes of about 29 million Canadians. To complete, enhance and maintain the Trans Canada Trail, in partnership with the provinces and individual Canadians, Budget 2017 proposes to invest $30 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, to be delivered through the Parks Canada Agency.

Note: CPRA is presently enhancing its relationship to the Trans Canada Trail and will be actively promoting its celebrations taking place across Canada this year.Stay tuned for details.

Celebrating and Protecting Our Natural Heritage

Budget Text:

To ensure that visitors are able to enjoy Canada’s national parks for years to come, Budget 2017 proposes to provide up to $364 million over two years on a cash basis, starting in 2018–19, to the Parks Canada Agency to continue its management of national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites. A medium- and long-term plan is under development to ensure ongoing support to these highly valued areas

Note:In the past few years, CPRA and Parks Canada have developed a strong partnership and the importance of municipal parks in on the federal government’s radar.This relationship was enhanced at the recent Canadian Parks Conference earlier this month in Banff – led by CPRA Member - ARPA.

Supporting Canada’s High-Performance Athletes

Budget Text:

To help support Canada’s high-performance athletes, Budget 2017 proposes to provide $25 million over five years, with $5 million per year ongoing, to the Athlete Assistance Program. This program provides grants to high-performance Canadian athletes in the form of a living and training allowance, plus tuition and special needs assistance. This investment will increase annual funding to $33 million, an 18 per cent increase in current funding.

Note:CPRA works very closely with Sport Matters and we support each other’s priority ‘asks’ to the government.This is an important commitment by the federal government and the recreation benefits when our sport colleagues benefit.High Performance Athletes play an important role in inspiring Canadians to be healthy and active.

Investing in Indigenous Youth and Sport

Budget Text:

Sport is a powerful vehicle to support the health and well-being of Indigenous youth. The promotion of culturally relevant sport is also an important means to strengthen Indigenous identity and cultural pride.

To support this objective, Budget 2017 proposes to invest $18.9 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and ongoing funding of $5.5 million every four years thereafter, to support Indigenous youth and sport. This investment will increase support for culturally relevant sport programming for Indigenous youth and children at the community level. It will also help to strengthen Indigenous leadership and ensure the national sport system is more inclusive of Indigenous Peoples through training and collaboration with the National Sports Organizations.

This investment will also establish stable, ongoing funding for the North American Indigenous Games—the largest sporting and cultural gathering of Indigenous Peoples in North America. This high-profile event brings together over 5,000 participants to participate in traditional and mainstream sporting events and allows Indigenous youth to develop and showcase their athletic abilities while celebrating their heritage.

Note: In the Framework for Recreation - Goal 2 is Inclusion and Access - and this federal government commitment to Indigenous youth speaks directly to that Goal.CPRA works and will work harder to continue to link our priorities with those of the Indigenous community.

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