Federal Election

Federal Priorities

With the 2019 federal election campaign underway, the City of Hamilton has released its federal priorities aimed at building better lives for all residents and supporting community growth.

Through collaboration with the Federal Government, there is opportunity to achieve Hamilton’s five priorities:

Modernizing means finding new and creative ways of working together to tackle and sustainably empower Hamilton to continue to build better lives for all our residents.

The recent $12.7 million Federal pledge for shoreline rehabilitation is a good example of a robust direct federal transfer that recognizes the benefits of working directly together on the city’s infrastructure priorities. It would help to modernize the federal-municipal relationship if there was a permanent, predictable, direct federal investment in areas of core, long-term needs like housing and public transit. In addition, funding support would be more effective if there was more flexibility within funding programs to target local needs. 

Our municipal government is the level of government that is closest to and best understands the daily challenges of Hamilton residents. Service delivery and value for taxpayer money is our business. We are responsible fiscal managers maintaining a AA+ credit rating and have consistently kept property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation. We have complete knowledge of local challenges and opportunities in the short, medium and long-terms.

New funding tools must be: 

  • Long-term and predictable—so we can plan ahead, reduce waste 
  • Flexible—so local expertise can identify what solutions come first 
  • Efficient and accountable—less bureaucracy, focus on outcomes

Federal programs like the Gas Tax Fund can serve as an effective model. Every year, it directly empowers communities of all sizes to drive thousands of infrastructure projects—from roads to water, waste, energy and transit systems.

Modernizing public transit in Hamilton and positioning our City to better support long-term growth and development will remain a core local priority requiring significant investments for many years. Thinking differently about the best way that federal resources can leverage provincial and local investments over the long-term is an important conversation to ensure that transit investments are made strategically for the long-term.

Better transit means less congestion, faster commutes, more convenience, higher productivity and lower emissions. Building on the 10-year federal plan, together we are seeking a commitment to explore a predictable, direct, needs-based funding mechanism for modern public transit in Hamilton. It is currently estimated that an additional $300 million is required to complete the City’s 10-Year Local Transit Strategy.

The City of Hamilton is seeking more federal support to alleviate the burden on housing affordability overall in Hamilton, including the consideration of rental supports as well as financial incentives that will assist first-time home buyers achieve home ownership. Needs assessments indicate that the city will need almost 80,000 total housing units over the next two decades to accommodate local population growth and housing needs, or over 3,000 units per year.

  • Social Housing
    • Poverty exists in all corners of Hamilton – ranging from 5% to 46% depending on where you live. Individuals living in poverty are at risk of many poor health and social outcomes, including homelessness, social exclusion, mental health, addiction, and lowered life expectancy. Children born into poverty are more likely to live in inadequate housing; receive inadequate nutrition; and experience multiple barriers to education attainment and employment, which perpetuates the poverty cycle.
    • There are over 6,700 households on the waiting list for social housing in Hamilton and the City’s unfunded requirement for the 14,000 units in need of capital repair currently stands at $700 million.
    • Almost 50% of our Family Shelter capacity is being used by families seeking asylum in Canada. The increasing costs of asylum seekers accessing shelter and housing subsidies is not sustainable with current funding.
  • Rental Housing and Home Ownership
    • Rents in Hamilton have increased by an average of 4.1% since 2012 and 24% over the past 5 years - faster than any other major Ontario municipality, other than Waterloo. Forty three percent (43%) of renters in Hamilton pay more than 30% of their income on rent. Those with the lowest incomes pay up to 69% on rent, putting them at risk of homelessness and with minimal resources to meet other needs.

More extreme and less predicable weather events have become the norm. Protecting Canadians from extreme weather damage is a local challenge. Cities are on the front lines as new weather extremes wreak havoc on homes and businesses. We are making the most of limited tools available to respond to more frequent floods, wildfires and more. In March of 2019 Hamilton City Council declared a “Climate Emergency”.

We are investing in climate change adaptation projects to become more resilient in the face of a changing climate and new weather realities.

The City applauds the Federal Government’s recently launched Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, allocating $150 million towards projects in Ontario and hopes to see sustainable funding in the future. It is important that local and federal representatives work closely together to plan and allocate the funds to both prevention and rehabilitation priority projects.

This new initiative is a collective effort between Mayor Fred Eisenberger, councillors and the city manager’s office to better inform all federal candidates running in our community. These priorities will be provided to all candidates. Review the complete City of Hamilton's Federal Priorities for 2019 and Beyond (PDF, 500 KB).