Canadian cities are recognized for their quality of life, but this has been achieved without an explicit national urban policy — in part because municipalities are under provincial jurisdiction. Yet since the 2015 election, the federal government has launched several programs that play out in Canada’s biggest cities. The largest, the Trudeau Government’s 12-year Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, has a budget of $180 billion.
Canada is, in effect, conducting national urban policy by other means. This significant, if implicit, urban agenda could be strengthened by expanding the mandate of the regional development agencies to include city regions, and by establishing a Canadian cities innovation fund and a national urban policy observatory.