November 6 marked an exciting day for IDA Canada members from across the country who travelled to Ottawa for the first-ever advocacy day on Parliament Hill. Representing 15 major cities from Victoria to Newfoundland and the prairie provinces in between, over 20 IDA Canada members spent the day racing around the Hill to bring their members’ – and all of Canada’s – interests to the forefront of decision makers’ attention. We know that when downtowns and main streets thrive, so do our wider communities.
The day began with a press conference in the Parliamentary Press Gallery that attracted media attention from every province, hitting over 180 million impressions nationwide. And our story had legs! The local and national coverage continued throughout the week, focusing on IDA Canada’s three main asks of the federal government.
- Grant an additional extension to the repayment of CEBA loans until the end of 2024.
- Lead a nationwide, collaborative initiative to address homelessness, addiction and mental health concerns so all community members can thrive. This includes funding through the Canada Health Transfer to increase targeted supports in collaboration with municipalities and their social service partners.
- Allocate $500M annually for infrastructure improvements, through regional economic development agencies in partnership with Business Improvement Associations (BIAs), to address the unique needs of each city’s downtown.
IDA Canada members delivered this message to over 30 Ministers and Members of Parliament from all parties and regions. The discussions around the issues facing downtowns and main streets were productive and meaningful. IDA members from across Canada reinforced the message that we are willing and ready to work with the federal government to strengthen downtown and main street businesses, address social challenges, and support the needs of the changing labour market by investing in skills and infrastructure development.
IDA Canada looks forward to working with the elected officials and staff we met with in Ottawa. It is clear there is a strong commitment for continued collaboration with diverse stakeholders and all levels of government to support downtowns and main streets as the social and economic heartbeat of communities across Canada.