Ontario Construction News staff writer
The federal government’s announcement last Thursday to accelerate infrastructure projects through the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is a recognition by Ottawa that infrastructure is an important component of Canada’s economic recovery.
In a statement, The Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) says it is generally pleased with the $10 billion earmarked for new major initiatives, but is calling for more focused investment on state-of-good repair projects which are required in almost every community across Canada.
“We welcome this Growth Plan as it is a necessary step to the economic recovery of Canada,” says RCCAO executive director Andy Manahan. “Building more resilient infrastructure and expanding broadband to underserved communities are worthwhile initiatives. We are hopeful that today’s announcement will be accompanied by other bold infrastructure investment measures.”
Research done by RCCAO has consistently shown that infrastructure investments have considerable short- and long-term impacts on the economy and job creation. A report released Sept. 29 by RCCAO highlights the value of the federal government stepping up to the plate to provide appropriate funds for infrastructure. Helping municipalities offset deficits that have accrued as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will have positive job impacts and maintain a productive economy.
“It is also important that government supports strategic investment in state-of-good-repair projects to keep jobs and growth on track and our municipalities afloat,” says Manahan. “Maintaining infrastructure assets such as water and sewer systems and keeping transportation networks in a state of good-repair is a necessary stimulus measure because it provides immediate economic impact and tends to be more labour intensive.”
RCCAO is encouraging the CIB to work diligently in getting the funding out the door as quickly as possible so constructors can take advantage of whatever good weather there is for infrastructure work. RCCAO will also be waiting for more announcements aimed specifically at infrastructure and to see a more detailed project list which is expected by the end of this year.
The construction sector in Ontario employs about 400,000 workers and is a key driver of the economy. While there are projects on the books just now, contractors are reporting that many municipalities are pulling back on tendering capital works projects because they are uncertain about federal funding coming down the pipe.