The WCR&HCA respects the fiscal and political challenges that face national, provincial and municipal governments.
However, those challenges pale in comparison to what our nation will face should we collectively fail to properly present to the public, the impact on our economy and social programs if we continue to neglect investment in public core infrastructure including streets, sewer, water and wastewater treatment systems and transportation, in particular trade infrastructure.
We advocate for sustainable, strategic investment in public infrastructure, highlighting its links to economic growth.
Canada’s economy depends on international trade, with exports to the United States alone accounting for some 2 million jobs. In 2019, Canada’s trade-to-GDP ratio was just shy of 65%, a relatively consistent annual share of national economic activity.
Strong, reliable and seamless trade transportation infrastructure is therefore critical to our economic growth, and to the revenues returned to our governments, which sustain our social programs.
Our priorities centre around our mission being a 'committed advocate for economic and industry growth.'
Working with regional and national stakeholders, the WCR&HCA will focus on the following priorities:
1. Advance the case for infrastructure investment & economic growth
We will advocate at both national and provincial levels that budget priorities reflect the fact infrastructure investment is central to economic growth, and in particular trade infrastructure.
Trade is 65% of Canada’s GDP and trade needs strong, reliable, seamless transportation infrastructure – highways, corridors and inland, border and marine ports – to move goods efficiently to market.
Click here to read the analyses and reports outlining the link between trade, transportation investment and our economy.
2. Endorse a long-term infrastructure program
Our long-term economic growth and prosperity depend on investing in trade-supporting infrastructure, to move people to jobs and goods to market. If our infrastructure crumbles, our businesses and our trade productivity suffer.
We need long-term investment programs to maintain our transportation network and build the new transportation assets needed to capitalize on Canada’s trade prospects for the next 20 and 30 years.
The WCR&HCA will participate in and support submissions to the federal government in response to its call for engagement on the National Infrastructure Assessment on how Canada can:
- Assess infrastructure needs and establish a long-term vision
- Improve coordination among infrastructure owners and funders
- Determine best ways to fund and finance infrastructure
Read about the National Infrastructure Assessment engagement process and the Building the Canada We Want 2050 report.
3. Advance a Western Canada Trade Gateways and Corridors Initiative: ‘Look West – Canada’s port of entry to Asia’
The WCR&HCA has been central to advocating a long-term infrastructure investment plan that funds Western Canada’s trade gateways and corridors.
The initiative is critical to increasing trade productivity in the West and raising its trade profile nationally, continentally and globally. It recognizes the indispensable role Western Canada plays in efficiently connecting all of Canada to trade opportunities in Asia, and beyond. Its implementation relies upon the significant recapitalization of the federal trade corridors program, and the support of provincial governments across the West.
Read about the proposed Western Canada Trade Gateways and Corridors Initiative.
4. Support the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and the New West Partnership Trade Agreement
The WCR&HCA will continue its support for, and oppose any trade impediments or procurement practices that impair the free movement of labour, goods and services in Canada and across the West.
Protectionism for any reason defeats the principles and the progress made in our numerous trade agreements, including those signed by Canada and subnational governments to align with global trade pacts. The Canada Free Trade Agreement provides the foundation for a domestic free trade framework. The New West Partnership Trade Agreement signed by all four Western provincial governments, focuses on four areas key to economic growth in the West: trade, international cooperation, innovation and procurement. The cumulative objectives help foster strong, vibrant and lasting economic and social prosperity for the region, country and our people.
5. Support open competitive bidding
The best value for public procurement programs comes from open, competitive bidding.
Single-source, restricted bidding or preferential tender practices ultimately cost governments, and therefore taxpayers, more with no guarantee of quality. Further, those impairments to free, open competition will hurt the local industry markets, compounding the economic pain.
6. Focus on Canada’s next infrastructure report card
We need to know the condition of our roads, water & sewer, highways, bridges and water-control structures to set out multi-year investment plans capable of bringing them up to good shape. That’s what the national infrastructure report card does.
The WCR&HCA will continue to support Canadian Construction Association efforts in the development of the next infrastructure report card with data presented to assess the condition of asset classes such as bridges and structures, public transportation and related municipal infrastructure assets.
Read Canada’s most current Infrastructure Report Card.