Canadian Consulting Engineer

Budget highlights for consulting engineering companies

Federal Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, had relatively little to say about hard infrastructure, such as highways, water treatment or other infrastructure, in the Economic Action Plan delivered in Ottawa yesterday, February 11.

February 12, 2014   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Federal Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, had relatively little to say about hard infrastructure, such as highways, water treatment or other infrastructure, in the Economic Action Plan delivered in Ottawa yesterday, February 11.

He said that given ongoing uncertainty in the global economic, the government wants to remain on track to balance the budget. Therefore it decided to implement “a number of targeted, affordable measures” in its 2014 Economic Action Plan.

He did point out that the government is creating a new Building Canada plan — the largest long term federal investment in infrastructure in Canadian history, and mentioned some specific investments in infrastructure and transportation, as follows:

– $165 million over two years on a cash basis to advance the construction of a new bridge for the St. Lawrence.

– $378 million over two years on a cash basis to advance the repair and maintenance of federal bridges in the Greater Montreal Area, including the Champlain Bridge to ensure it is properly maintained until the new bridge for the St. Lawrence opens.

– $58 million over two years to support the continued operation of the Digby, Nova Scotia–Saint John, New Brunswick, Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island–Caribou, Nova Scotia, and Îles de la Madeleine, Quebec–Souris, Prince Edward Island ferry services.

– $40 million over two years on a cash basis to accelerate repair and maintenance work at small craft harbours across Canada.

– $33 million over two years to support the divestiture of regional ports to local interests and the continued operation and maintenance of federally owned ports.

– Will move forward with the planning for and construction of a new Windsor-Detroit International Crossing to improve the flow of people and goods between Canada and the United States.

– Provide $391.5 million over five years on a cash basis to the Parks Canada Agency to make improvements to highways, bridges and dams located in our national parks and along our historic canals.

Following are some other points and initiatives Flaherty outlined that could have a bearing on consulting engineering businesses and client sectors. These points are extracted and reordered from various sections of the “Budget in Brief.”

BUSINESS INITIATIVES

• Building on the work of the Red Tape Reduction Commission, the government will reduce the tax compliance and regulatory burden for small and medium-sized businesses.

• Provide an additional $40 million to the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program to help entrepreneurs create new companies and realize the potential of their ideas through intensive mentoring and other resources to develop their business.

INDUSTRY

• The government will commit to respond to the recommendations made by the Tanker Safety Expert Panel and the Special Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure.

• Provide $28 million over two years to the National Energy Board for comprehensive and timely reviews of project applications and to support the Participant Funding Program.

• Provide $90.4 million over four years to continue to support the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program.

ENERGY

• Provide $28 million over two years to the National Energy Board for comprehensive and timely reviews of project applications and to support the Participant Funding Program.

• Expand tax incentives for clean energy generation to include a broader range of equipment.

FIRST NATIONS

• Provide $323.4 million over two years to continue the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan.

• Invest to reform the on-reserve education system, in partnership with First Nations,

• through the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act.

DISASTER MITIGATION

Provide $200 million over five years to establish a National Disaster Mitigation Program; $40 million over five years for disaster mitigation in First Nations communities; and $11.4 million over five years on a cash basis to upgrade the earthquake monitoring system to incorporate more advanced technologies that provide timely public alerts in high-risk and urban areas.

EDUCATION

Create the new Canada First Research Excellence Fund with $1.5 billion in funding over the next decade to help Canada’s post-secondary institutions excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada.

For the full Budget in Brief, click here.


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