Sustainable Communities Conference

For three busy days in October, 531 sustainability leaders from across the country took part in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ virtual Sustainable Communities Conference (SCC). As an entirely online event, the SCC reached new audiences this year.  

We had a major uptick in the number of very small municipalities that normally participate (111 participants were from rural areas this year, up from 62 in 2018), which was gratifying to see. Many of them are facing significant budget shortfalls this year, having waived or reduced sources of income such as parking fees, property taxes, etc., to ease the burden on their residents during the pandemic. Knowing this, we reduced the registration fee for everyone this year. That, coupled with the fact that there was no travel required, meant a very low barrier to entry. The end result was that even more people than usual were able to attend.  

This year’s plenary sessions featured high-profile keynotes, including the Honourable Catherine McKenna, then Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Dr Katharine Wilkinson, then Editor in Chief with Project Drawdown, and panellists who were frequently cited by attendees as the highlight of their experience. Sixteen concurrent workshops and industry sessions saw a total of 1,104 attendees across the three days, with survey respondents reporting they gained a better understanding of FCM funds available (78%) and high degree of relevance to their work (97%). 

Based on the success and positive response from 2020 registrants, FCM was delighted to host SCC again from October 19-21, 2021 thereby shifting to an annual virtual event.