Construction industry responds to fall economic statement
November 22, 2023
The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada (ACEC-Canada) have responded to yesterday’s fall economic statement from the federal government and its focus on supporting the building of affordable housing.
Both organizations welcomed the support, but expressed disappointment over a lack of additional, detailed measures.
“Building new housing supply is critical,” says John Gamble, ACEC-Canada’s president and CEO. “What is less obvious, but equally important, is infrastructure—such as roads, transit, electrical grids, water and wastewater—that allows these buildings to actually become homes. Otherwise, many municipalities may not have the capacity to deliver what Canadians need.”
“Yesterday’s statement focused heavily on necessary housing investment, but fell short in other important areas, including measures to shore up Canada’s trade-enabling infrastructure,” CCA echoed in a press release. “The announcement to leverage the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to support more housing may finally recognize that more homes cannot be built without essential infrastructure to support it, but these details are missing. The industry is expecting to see a long-term, comprehensive infrastructure investment plan in the federal government’s 2024 budget.”
ACEC-Canada continues to call on the federal government to release a National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) that has been in the works since 2021, as well as extend funding to address immediate needs.
“The NIA is essential to providing all levels of government and the entire infrastructure labour and supply chain with a road map for investment, delivery, maintenance and replacement,” says Gamble. “While the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program was very successful, the opportunity for new applications closed in March. Municipalities will need new and ongoing investments.”
CCA also pointed to the need for modernization.
“While the commitment to getting major projects built faster is positive, implementation will rely in part on the government’s willingness to review their procurement practices,” added CCA. “This includes considering alternative delivery models and better balancing risk between owners and contractors.”