Affordable housing, child care and a shortage of doctors are some of the issues discussed Wednesday at a roundtable meeting of Victoria residents and the federal Minister of Middle Class Prosperity.
Minister Mona Fortier was in Victoria seeking input from residents in advance of the 2020 federal budget. She asked what the federal government can do in partnership with local government and the province to increase the quality of life and well-being in Greater Victoria.
"The Government of Canada has been focusing on strengthening the middle class and growing the economy," said Fortier. "The Canada Child Benefit is a great example of how it has helped the day-to-day lives of Canadians."
Fortier said her ministry recognizes that many families are struggling with housing and paying their bills.
"We've got the lowest unemployment rate in the country right now, which on the face of it is very positive that our economy is very strong, but businesses are limited in expanding because they can't find employees because employees can't find affordable housing," said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. "We talked about child care and the doctor shortage, so those are some of the things that are impacting the workforce."
Fortier said she hopes stakeholder discussions, like Wednesday's roundtable in Victoria, will better inform the Government of Canada in making decisions now and in the future.
"That’s what we have to look at and empower those organizations to do the work while we support them in doing it," said Fortier. "We can create lasting prosperity for all Canadians, their children and grandchildren.”
Helps said the solutions to these local issues are right here in Victoria.
"The community knows what's best and what we need are federal partners who are going to invest in the solutions without a whole lot of strings attached," said Helps.
"We got an opportunity this morning to sit down with the minister and tell her what's important for us that she consider."
Helps said the 90-minute meeting with Fortier was a great opportunity and she is confident that some of the issues that were discussed will make it back to Ottawa.
Fortier said that with the 2020 federal budget coming soon, she is hopeful some of the thigs addressed in Victoria on Wednesday will be able to help people across the country.