Merit Canada recommends that policy makers:
- Continue and enhance the existing commitment to multi-year federal cost-sharing for provincial and municipal infrastructure renewal;
- Support provincial infrastructure initiatives to better connect communities, to improve goods and people movement, and to debottleneck provincial and national highway networks;
- Support major port infrastructure development on Canada’s West Coast, East Coast, and Saint Lawrence River and Great Lakes Gateways tied to road and rail networks to improve supply chain efficiency and Canada’s capacity to get exports to global markets;
- Work with telecommunications providers to ensure that Canadians across the country have sufficient access to highspeed internet and wireless network capacity;
- Invest in targeted airport infrastructure in partnership with local airport authorities (where applicable), provincial governments and municipalities (where applicable) to improve passenger movements and experience, and to improve air cargo capabilities where there is a clear business case to do so; and,
- Invest heavily in urban transit infrastructure in recognition that much of Canada’s population growth is occurring in Canada’s major cities and that affordable, livable and environmentally sustainable housing options go hand-in-hand with expanded transportation access.
The federal government plays an important role in sharing the cost of infrastructure funded by provincial and local governments.
Provincial infrastructure to connect communities with efficient and effective urban transit systems to reduce congestion in urban centers requires the assistance of the federal government to make projects pencil out.
At the same time, local infrastructure is critically important for efforts to maintain and grow affordable, sustainable and healthy communities of all size across the country.
Much of Canada’s infrastructure was built in the 1950’s and 1960’s and, in the view of Merit Canada, is now in dire need of renewal or repair. However, both provincial and municipal governments are overburdened by “infrastructure deficits” that have built up – that is, infrastructure built in the post-war period is now at the end of its life-cycle.
Fortunately, the federal government has the fiscal capacity to assist with funding cost-shared infrastructure renewal, and through its ten-year $180 billion program is investing in our country’s aging infrastructure.
It is critical that all federal parties commit to multi-year funding for infrastructure renewal across the country, with added emphasis and initiatives in areas where investments can accelerate economic gains from export trade for the entire country.
Investments in infrastructure renewal across the country should also be undertaken with a clear line-of-sight to cost-effective ways to improve energy use and efficiency.