Canadian Consulting Engineer

Premiers welcome discussion of Canada Trade Infrastructure Plan

July 13, 2023

They are expected to discuss infrastructure investment today in the final sessions of their three-day gathering.

Canada Trade Infrastructure Plan

Logo courtesy Organizations Campagining for the Canada Trade Infrastructure Plan.

Six premiers welcomed business organizations’ call for a Canada Trade Infrastructure Plan (CTIP) yesterday, prior to a meeting of the Council of the Federation in Winnipeg.

Heather Stefanson, premier of Manitoba and chair of this year’s council meeting, joined Ontario’s Doug Ford, Alberta’s Danielle Smith, British Columbia’s David Eby, Yukon’s Ranj Pillai and Nunavut’s P.J. Akeeagok at a breakfast meeting hosted by a group of Canadian organizations that have proposed the CTIP, which entails increased, sustained investment in rail, highway, air, marine and port assets, to ensure Canada is competitive in global trade markets. Projects would be prioritized based on their potential return on investment (ROI) in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).

The group—comprising the Canada West Foundation (CWF), Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Construction Association (CCA), Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), Civil Infrastructure Council Corporation (CICC) and Western Canada Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association (WCR&HCA)—asked the premiers to help persuade the federal government to include CTIP funding in its 2024-25 budget.

Stefanson emphasized Canada has work to do on its supply chain’s reliability and capacity and noted the importance of revenues returned from trade.

“According to World Bank data, two-thirds of Canada’s income is derived from trade,” added CCA president Mary Van Buren. “We’re three times more dependent on trade than the U.S. We need those revenues to fund vital social services and infrastructure, such as hospitals and schools.”

“Unfortunately, our trade infrastructure today isn’t up to the job,” said Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, who suggested the CTIP would grow the economy across all jurisdictions.

In 2019, a World Economic Forum report cited a global survey of the quality of national trade infrastructure, which found Canada’s rank has fallen to 32nd place, behind Azerbaijan. A European Court of Auditors survey, meanwhile, found Canada is “the only major trading economy that doesn’t have a long-term infrastructure investment plan,” echoed Gary Mar, president of the Canada West Foundation.

“We know what our competitors are doing,” said Mar. “The country needs premiers to call on the federal government to join them in advancing a national infrastructure plan in 2024.”

The council is expected to discuss infrastructure investment today in the final sessions of its three-day gathering.


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