Canadian Consulting Engineer

CIDA INC. Reductions a Serious Concern

Reductions in the level of commitment to the CIDA INC. program will have a definite negative impact on the consulting engineering industry's ability to further expand its activities in developing coun...

August 1, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Reductions in the level of commitment to the CIDA INC. program will have a definite negative impact on the consulting engineering industry’s ability to further expand its activities in developing countries. ACEC and Member firms are very concerned about two issues: (1) the decrease in the overall CIDA allocation to the CIDA-INC. program, and (2) the possible lowering of the CIDA share of the contribution from the 80% level, which has been applied in the past. Over the past five years, funding for CIDA INC. has decreased from $60 million a year to $45 million a year.

There is a strong belief among ACEC members that the CIDA INC. program is indeed useful in supporting the planning of sustainable business activities in developing countries while promoting the role of the private sector. Canadian consulting engineering firms believe, however, that a reduction in the level of the CIDA INC. contribution from 80% will hamstring them. “For most, it would not be economically viable to participate in the CIDA INC. work,” said ACEC President, Claude Paul Boivin. As it stands now, in addition to contributing 20% of the cost of a project, consulting engineering firms incur a considerable amount of preparation work and expense to develop the proposal. “Moreover, after the CIDA INC. project is complete, there are ongoing expenses to maintain the client relationship until the downstream work materializes,” explained Mr. Boivin. Consequently, ACEC feels very strongly that CIDA’s share of projects remain at 80%.

Given that CIDA no longer supports infrastructure investments, the CIDA INC. program is the only one that enables Canadian consulting engineering firms to establish long-term business partnerships in developing countries. Other donor nations provide significantly more support for their private sector engineering firms. A strong CIDA INC. program can help Canadian engineers be competitive internationally and leverage their services into opportunities for other Canadian businesses.

The Association has written to the Minister of International Cooperation, the Hon. Susan Whelan, to express its concerns and to ask for a meeting to discuss the issues. As a national association, ACEC is also prepared to assist CIDA in conducting a study of member firms to determine the impact of reducing the CIDA INC. share for individual projects.


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