WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA, October 16, 2015 — Downtowns are critical to the success and vitality of Canada, and elected officials are starting to take notice, according to a new report released by Downtowns Canada, a coalition of downtown management organizations affiliated with the International Downtown Association. Fixing Canada’s crumbling infrastructure and addressing mental health issues are just two of the priorities that federal candidates discussed.

In advance of the federal election, Downtowns Canada mobilized 15 cities across Canada to administer an All Candidates Survey. Six cities also hosted Town Hall All Candidate Debates, encouraging thousands to tweet about issues that matter to them. More than 30 percent of candidates responded, sharing their views on topics that matter to urban businesses and residents alike:

  • Make downtown the employment centre of the city;
  • Invest in downtown infrastructure and transit;
  • Support the creative class by investing in the educational sector;
  • End homelessness downtown for a healthy city and prosperous country;
  • Reduce crime and increase safety with meaningful social programs.

Responses from the All Candidates Survey and notes from the Town Hall All Candidates Debates have been aggregated in a report titled Downtowns Canada: A Federal Agenda that highlights the main themes from federal candidates by political party. Downtowns Canada: A Federal Agenda also outlines Downtowns Canada’s priorities and calls for a federal initiative, regardless of political party, to address urban issues across Canada.

“We firmly believe the federal government should engage with municipal business improvement areas as a means to strengthen Canada’s overall prosperity,” said Stefano Grande, Chair of the Downtowns Canada Committee. “The economic health of cities is directly related to the well-being of the city’s core. Downtowns and urban centres are employment hubs. They are also primary drivers of GDP and taxes.”

Through this report, Downtowns Canada is advocating the Federal government engage in a coordination and leadership role to strengthen business neighbourhoods and city cores, and more strategically partner with downtown place management organizations.

“We continue to see growing interest in leveraging the expertise of public space management organizations as a key resource for improving the economic, social, and environmental health in society,” said David Downey, CAE, President and CEO of the International Downtowns Association. “By convening a timely national policy discussion and delivering this report, Downtowns Canada further illustrates how Canadian downtown management professionals are blazing the trail to improve cities across Canada.”

 View the full report here: Downtowns Canada: A Federal Agenda Report

About Downtowns Canada & IDA

Downtowns Canada is a national coalition of the International Downtown Association (IDA), a world leader and champion for vital and livable urban centers. Read more about the coalition at IDA, through its network of diverse practitioners, rich body of knowledge, and unique capacity to nurture community-building partnerships – provides tools, intelligence and strategies for creating healthy and dynamic centers that anchor the well-being of towns, cities and regions of the world. Visit for more information, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


For more information, please contact:

Rachel L. Davis, Director of Communications and Marketing
International Downtown Association
Office: 202-798-5926