Thank you, Brock.
Committee members, the fact is that passing Bill C-45 will trigger an extensive implementation process across all orders of government, and I'd like to place emphasis on what our member from Alberta said, “all orders of government”. Municipalities will have to adapt local bylaws, rules, and programs as a direct result for things like zoning, land use, business licensing, enforcement, and much more. But much of this work will stem from regulatory frameworks that federal, provincial, and territorial governments still have to design and build.
FCM is pleased and proud that we have published a legalization primer for our members from coast to coast to coast, and a fuller guideline and guidebook is being initiated and is on its way to our members. These tools will help our municipalities from coast to coast to coast get moving on issues that they can address immediately and build work plans for the remainder. But for the work plans to succeed, municipalities need clarity and engagement on a whole range of various issues.
Our first recommendation is that the federal government coordinate with all orders of government to develop its regulatory framework for Bill C-45. We believe the key to meeting a July 2018 launch timeline safely and effectively—again I emphasize safely and effectively—will be concurrent legislative, regulatory, and bylaw development by all orders of government. We'll inch forward locally, based on what we see our federal, provincial, and territorial partners doing. Those partners still have important decisions to make in areas such as minimum age for consumption and what kind of retail distribution model to use.
There is also much uncertainty in the area of shared responsibility for shared impact that I would like to share with you. It's a short list of things like the personal cultivation issue, workplace health and safety issues, public education, nuisance issues, municipal zoning, municipal authority to zone in cases where federal production facilities may exist, and actually others that we haven't mentioned in the list here today.
The federal government has formalized its consultation with the provinces and territories through a working group. We understand that, and that is a great first step. However, FCM would welcome sustained municipal engagement with this group to align the needs of all governments.
As part of this coordination, our second recommendation to you, sir, and to your committee, is to prioritize decision points that prevent local governments from moving forward with implementation work. To prioritize those decision points is critical to us safely and effectively moving this forward.
There are areas where decisions at the federal, provincial, or territorial levels will drive the local response, such as provincial retail distribution models, rules around personal cultivation, as I've mentioned, first nation and municipal boundary overlaps, which has been raised by some of our members, the authority to prohibit cannabis use and sales where applicable, and municipal options if cannabis becomes legal federally without provincial or territorial laws and regulations in place.
We believe the federal government should proactively engage with all orders of government in the coming months to ensure roles and responsibilities are very clearly defined.
Our third recommendation is for federal funding to defray start-up costs for local implementation. There is absolutely no doubt that there is an expectation that municipalities will be on the front lines of enforcing issues, such as local zoning, density bylaws, things like rules around minimum age of purchase, personal cultivation, issues like possession limits, smoking restrictions, and public nuisance complaints that are bound to happen. Also, as alluded to earlier in the other presentation, there are safety concerns related to the building code. We believe these are appropriate roles for municipalities, and municipalities alone. However, growing into them will definitely impose immediate costs. Municipalities generally simply don't have the fiscal flexibility to invest what's needed under the required timeline.
I'm pleased to point out that one of your committee members is in fact a former councillor in a municipality and that other members of Parliament have also served in that capacity.
The federal task force acknowledged that implementation will require new capacity. I would urge federal leadership to ensure all governments grow this capacity before legislation comes into force, before cannabis revenues start flowing. I will point out that we were pleased to see that the government did announce funding this week for training.
Our fourth recommendation is for a smart revenue-sharing model that includes all orders of government. The administration and enforcement will impose ongoing costs on local governments. We are looking at additional staff time, resources for training, for public health, for licensing, administration, for bylaws, etc. There's a lot more we could add, obviously. We are equally as passionate about our points and our information as other speakers, so our final recommendation is to ensure that slower than hoped cannabis revenues don't jeopardize the regime's safety and effectiveness. That is our final recommendation.
A primary objective of the cannabis act is to deter criminal activity. As experts say, the way to starve the black market is to keep the price of legal cannabis low. For this reason, the parliamentary budget officer warned that revenue from cannabis sales may start out slow, small, between $356 million and $959 million per year, but local governments, regardless of what that number is, will still face significant administrative and enforcement costs. We therefore need to know that federal support will be available if cannabis revenues take time to catch up.
Mr. Chair, we can summarize our recommendations in two ideas: the government should engage municipalities in building its regulatory frameworks and revenue models, and any cannabis regime sustainability depends on equipping local governments with the tools they need to administer and enforce it out of the gate and long term.
We're proud that the municipal sector has a track record of delivering local solutions to national challenges. We look forward to working with the federal government throughout the progression of the cannabis act. We thank you for your time, and we would also be happy to take any questions you may have. Thank you.