Infrastructure & the Economy
The WCR&HCA advocated at the national level that infrastructure investment is the engine that fuels economic growth. As a result of those efforts, the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) adopted the proposition as its primary infrastructure messaging in 2010. The WCR&HCA President was then tasked to co-manage with the CCA the Canada West Foundation (CWF) researching and writing a report specifically to research the proposition. The outcome was the February 6, 2012 Ottawa release of the report entitled At the Intersections: The case for sustained and strategic investment in public infrastructure.
The report makes a factual, powerful, evidence-based case for a national long-term infrastructure investment strategy in plain language to support economic growth enabling the funding of Canada's quality of life. A first of its kind report in Canada, it provides five recommendations to help governments harness infrastructure investment as a key element of long-term economic growth:
- Sustained and strategic investment in Canada's public infrastructure should be continued.
- Priority should be given to public infrastructure that enhances economic performance.
- Governments should encourage innovative approaches to the design of public infrastructure.
- Governments should not focus exclusively on new infrastructure and should give due consideration to renewing existing public infrastructure.
- Ongoing analysis and evaluation of recent public infrastructure investments should be conducted and lessons applied to future investments.
The report received support at its official release from organizations such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Engineers Canada. Media across Canada were equally supportive, featuring the CWF report on evening news programs and editorials in major dailies.
WCR&HCA 2013 Recommendations to the Canadian Construction Association (CCA)
The most pressing issue facing the global economy, including Canada's, is its continued weakness. Therefore adopting strategies which strategically build up Canada's economy, enabled by sustained and strategic investment in public infrastructure is critical to advocate to the public, media, stakeholders and governments.
Accordingly, the WCR&HCA advanced three priorities for the CCA's attention for 2013, namely:
- Promote the linkages between sustained and strategic investment in public infrastructure and Canada's economic growth which enables Canada's quality of life;
- Address Canada's infrastructure deficit in a consensus driven, balanced and shared trilateral government effort; and
- Develop a national coordinated effort targeting meetings with premiers and the Big City Mayor's Caucus in support of the above principles.
The CCA adopted the above recommendations at its March 2013 meetings in Malbaie, Quebec.
Federal Budget 2013
Much of what the WCR&HCA has advocated is reflected in the 2013 Federal Budget including workforce enhancement through job grants; apprenticeship measures; career promotion; expanding support for small businesses; and allocating funding for apprenticeship.
The WCR&HCA has long championed long term federal infrastructure programs. In this context, the 2013 Federal Budget's New Building Canada Plan reflects many of the WCR&HCA long held positions.
At $70 billion in infrastructure investments over the next 10 years it is the largest and longest such program in our country's history:
- It includes over $47 billion in new funding in support of local and economic growth infrastructure projects and $32.2 billion to build roads, public transit, recreational facilities and other community infrastructure;
- It indexes the Gas Tax Fund at 2 per cent beginning in 2014-15 which will add a further $9 billion to the program over its term;
- It supports through a $14 billion allocation, investment in major economic projects of national, regional and local significance; and
- It renews with $1.25 billion, support for strategic use of public-private partnerships.