Construction industry calls on all governments to launch economic recovery
Six Manitoba associations working across the construction industry have called upon federal, provincial and Winnipeg political leaders to focus on getting the economy kick-started as control of the COVID-19 pandemic allows.
“Your individual and collective leadership efforts since March to slow transmission, and thereby the impact, of COVID-19, are showing evident effect. You and your respective governments are to be congratulated,” states the letter, sent April 14 to federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal, Premier Brian Pallister and Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman.
“(We) ask that you now lead public efforts toward a social recovery, recognizing those critical tools and protocols that have kept most of Canada from feeling the worst of the pandemic’s potential threat. We ask that the public now hear messages of hope and economic recovery.”
The six associations were: Merit Contractors, the Urban Development Institute, Winnipeg Construction, Manitoba Heavy Construction, Manitoba Home Builders and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies. The groups represent the design, supply, construction, import/export and transportation sectors.
The associations note that significant interventions – business shutdown, and income and financial assistance to Canadians – were necessary to contain the potential threat of the pandemic. Strict protocols for businesses that continue to operate are necessary, and the easing of social restrictions will need to be done cautiously.
But people also now need hope; they want to work and need to know there will be work to go back to, the letter stresses.
It urges all governments to use infrastructure investment to get the economy going quickly again – it provides immediate and long-term benefits through employment, circulating money in both urban and rural communities.
“Infrastructure investment accelerates retail sales; creates demand for room and board; boosts exports; grows PST, GST, corporate, income and indirect taxes paid to government; and reduces demand for employment insurance benefits and related subsidy programs.
“And lastly, investment leaves the legacy of assets providing benefits for decades to come that enhance the economy’s productivity, and therefore competitiveness and growth.”
The MHCA is among some 30 Manitoba business and labour groups and associations that engage in regular conference calls with the provincial government, focusing on the effect the pandemic and the means to mitigate the economic impact.
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