It has been claimed by many that the federal government never made loans directly to cities for infrastructure. This is incorrect, one just needs to dig deep enough into the Canada Gazette archives. There one will find the Municipal Improvements Assistance Act 1938, and the corresponding loan value on the government’s balance sheet. The peak was in 1943 when the total value reached $3,740,716.44. That is $53,644,340.16 in 2017 dollars, at a time when our population was only 11,795,000, making it around $4.50 for every person alive at the time.
After 1943 the government seems to have ended the program, but still has a line about loans and advances to provincial and municipal government, which continues for years afterwards. Once upon a time federal support of local needs was much higher. The full text of the Municipal Improvements Assistance Act is here:
Here’s a quote from 1939 about the good the Act was doing:
“34. Under the Municipal Improvements Assistance Act, 1938, the Government approved loans prior to March 31, 1939, amounting to $3,143,000 to municipalities to enable them to finance the construction of municipal self-liquidating projects. As at March 31, 1939, the amount actually paid out on such loans was $815,000. These loans bear interest at the rate of 2% per annum and are amortized over a period not longer than the estimated useful life of the project. The province in which the municipality is located is required to guarantee the payments of interest on and amortization of any such loan.”