Chair’s Report: International Program at a Crossroad
Canada has always been regarded as an exporter of world class engineering services and more than two billion dollars of our firms' revenues was generated last year by international work. Today, at lea...
Canada has always been regarded as an exporter of world class engineering services and more than two billion dollars of our firms’ revenues was generated last year by international work. Today, at least 45% of our membership is involved in work abroad and Canada is ranked fourth in ENR magazine’s annual survey of international design firms. Our firms have demonstrated that their early involvement in the initial stages of capital project development in foreign markets subsequently opens the door to Canadian exporters of goods, materials, equipment and other services, all of which contribute significantly to Canada’s economy.
The Honourable Susan Whelan, Minister for International Cooperation, announced in her recently released policy statement on strengthening aid effectiveness that “We are now exploring how best to harness the power of entrepreneurship.” Canadian consulting engineers have shown that one of the ways to promote a strong private sector growth in developing countries is to undertake major engineering projects, which are the foundation of a strong infrastructure and future economic growth in these countries.
The effort of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in promoting social development in developing countries is exemplary. However, as Mrs. Fatou Diarrah, the Ambassador from Mali, said at the CIDA meeting on Africa last year, “Before I can send my child to school, I first need to give him water to drink.”
A strong and united ACEC voice must be heard by our government to realign its policies toward infrastructure investments in developing countries. Canada must play a more active role in supporting Canadian engineering and construction business in reconstruction and disaster relief efforts in the world. ACEC has a clear strategy for its international activities. We have strengthened our ties with our American counterparts and ACEC has a strong representation on the FIDIC Board. Our Association needs the support of its members in reestablishing a strong international committee and to emphasize to our government leaders the importance of a robust export market for our industry. I invite member firms to participate in our effort by joining the ACEC International Committee.
PIERRE SHOIRY, P.ENG., CHAIR
ASSOCIATION OF CONSULTING ENGINEERS OF CANADA