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Infrastructure is central to the daily life of every Canadian. Whether it is roads and bridges, public transit, clean energy, high-speed broadband, affordable housing or childcare facilities, infrastructure keeps our economy moving and communities thriving, and will play a massive role in our country’s ability to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Dollars spent in infrastructure need to achieve triple benefits: grow our economy and create jobs, tackle climate change and build a more resilient and inclusive country for all.
Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities launched an Engagement Paper on Canada’s first National Infrastructure Assessment: “Building the Canada We Want in 2050.” It sets out the purpose and benefits of undertaking a National Infrastructure Assessment and seeks input from the public, Indigenous Peoples, provinces, territories, municipalities, and stakeholders on three main priorities of the assessment:
- Assessing Canada’s infrastructure needs and establishing a long-term vision;
- Improving coordination among infrastructure owners and funders; and
- Determining the best ways to fund and finance infrastructure.
The pandemic has caused a severe economic crisis, making it even more critical to create jobs, and accelerate growth. Coupled with the need to address the climate crisis and address disparities to promote inclusion, long-term and well-coordinated investments in infrastructure have become even more important.
Since the creation of the Investing in Canada Plan in 2016, best practices for long-term infrastructure planning have evolved. A National Infrastructure Assessment is the new global standard, recognized by the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and recently adopted by the United Kingdom and Australia.
The National Infrastructure Assessment, once in place, will help identify Canada’s evolving needs and priorities in the built environment and undertake evidence-based long-term planning toward a net-zero emissions future. By continuing to link our investments with outcomes, we can ensure a strong and equitable recovery that creates good jobs, grows the economy and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities for all Canadians.
The Government of Canada looks forward to receiving feedback prior to June 30, 2021 on the three priorities for the National Infrastructure Assessment and how to achieve them, as outlined in the Engagement Paper. Following the engagement process, the Government will consider the next steps for the National Infrastructure Assessment, including reviewing priorities, establishing an independent advisory body, setting out the processes for obtaining expert advice, ongoing public engagement and producing interim studies and reports to inform infrastructure policy and investment.
The Government of Canada has made historic investments in infrastructure since 2016, committing more than $180 billion in federal funding over 12 years, including in partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation to address the infrastructure gap in their communities. From the McLoughlin Point wastewater treatment plant in Esquimalt, British Columbia to a net-zero aquatic centre in Drayton Valley, Alberta to high-speed Internet services for the Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, our investments are supporting projects that improve the health and safety of our communities, grow our economy, and create good jobs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the greatest recession since the Great Depression and we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build the Canada we want as we invest in our recovery. But we will not achieve our ambition by accident. Working with Canadians, using the best available data and guided by global best practices, we can guide our infrastructure spending to chart a strong path to 2050, creating good jobs, tackling climate change, and building cleaner, more inclusive communities. Working together, this project can be nation-building.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
- The Government of Canada announced its intention to conduct a National Infrastructure Assessment in December 2020 as part of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, and reinforced that intention in the Prime Minister’s Supplementary Mandate Letter to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities in January 2021.
- Investing in Canada: Canada’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (2016)
- Strengthened Climate Plan: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy