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That as a component of the anticipated national infrastructure investment, the government dedicate $4B/year for ten years to replenish Canada’s aging stock of community recreation, parks, and trails infrastructure.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates that the public infrastructure deficit exceeds $175B. CPRA estimates the deficit for recreation, sport, and parks exceeds $40B.

For example, Canada’s Core Municipal Public Infrastructure Survey asserts that nearly half of indoor rinks are in very poor to fair condition, with the majority having been built more than 30 years ago. Many date back to the Centennial infrastructure investment initiated in the 1950s and carried on by successive governments through the 1970s.

These facilities exhibit visible signs of decay—cracked walls, crumbling foundations, compromised roofing. Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems are dysfunctional, posing hazards to occupants, rendering some unsafe and unfit for purpose, and seriously impacting our climate. Many do not meet current standards for accessibility, equity, and inclusion.

While this investment should be made in coordination with provinces and
territories, a significant portion should be prioritized for and directly accessible to municipalities, particularly in rural areas. We recommend modernizing the Canada Community-Building Fund and the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and developing a new municipal growth framework that will help municipalities address local imperatives while also advancing provincial and national priorities.

These indoor and outdoor facilities are not only buildings and trails and playing fields. They are the structures of belonging in Canadian communities. With predictable, sustained investment, they can be community hubs of wellbeing, reduce climate change, improve the health of our citizens, communities, and environments, and be valuable assets during times of crisis as we saw during the pandemic (vaccination centres), recent heatwaves (cooling centres), and 2023’s wildfire season (emergency shelters and muster points). This investment will help the government deliver “growth-generating investments in public transit and green and social infrastructure.

How can CPRA help?

CPRA manages the Canadian Parks, Recreation, and Sport Infrastructure Database, the first open data repository that collates information about recreation, sport, and park facilities across Canada. As part of the investment, and as an immediate next step, CPRA invites an initial contribution of $500,000 to support this database and $100,000/year for five years to ensure its long-term sustainability which can help prioritize need, enhance planning at all levels, expand Statistics Canada data, and help the government articulate the benefit of the infrastructure investment to Canadians.