CCA asks Ottawa to make national infrastructure projects a priority again
Canada’s economy needs to see the federal government moving deftly to roll out an infrastructure economic stimulus program that is coordinated, balanced, and flexible, the Canadian Construction Association says in its pre-budget submission to Ottawa.
“This year’s submission reflects the economic impacts of our new reality and pushes for COVID specific relief,” CCA President Mary Van Buren says, in a letter to all CCA members. “We have also added the banning of reprisal clauses in any federal public tendering in our recommendations on boosting investor confidence.”
Notably, among the recommendations the CCA reiterates a call for a long-term, stable 25-year infrastructure plan.
“The infrastructure deficit and needed investments represent an enormous challenge. CCA and a number of partner organizations raised this concern last fall via the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC), an in-depth report that analyzed 7 categories of infrastructure assets using the data from the federally administered Canadian Core Public Infrastructure Survey,” the CCA submission explains.
“This challenge also provides an historic opportunity to replace our existing infrastructure and re-shape our communities in a more sustainable manner to combat COVID, the changing climate and future challenges alike. Therefore, it is imperative to develop a longer-term strategy that spells out the commitments of all levels of government.”
The Trudeau government’s national Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program parcels funding envelopes among green, transit and northern infrastructure funding categories. The large, nation-building transportation infrastructure funding portion has been hived into the Canada Infrastructure Bank, intended to leverage private-sector investment.
The CCA’s recommendation is:
That the government commit to a 25-year plan for infrastructure spending in Canada. The Investing in Canada Plan, which commits the federal government to $180 billion in investments in public infrastructure over the 12 years, and the flexibility added during COVID-19, is encouraging; a longer-term strategy is needed to strengthen Canada’s economic growth and promote stability.
Also tops among its recommendations is that the federal government fund the COVID-19 Cost Reimbursement Program, and remove the holdback on all federal projects to provide immediate liquidity to the construction industry.
“While COVID-19 has proven devastating to the Canadian economy, the construction industry demonstrated its ability to adapt safely, delivering critical infrastructure projects and benefiting communities across Canada,” the CCA says. “The industry absorbed significant costs with the understanding that reimbursement would follow. This reimbursement is essential to our member’s liquidity, many of whom are the trades and are small or medium size firms.”
To read the full CCA submission click here. It is expected to be considered this fall, during official budget consultations.
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