The Canadian Chamber of Commerce recently released a new report that finds focused infrastructure investments can help solve many of the major economic challenges that Canada faces.
The report outlines key issues the government should target before beginning 2018 budget deliberations.
"Governments like to treat infrastructure like peanut butter and spread it all around to make sure every corner gets some," said Ryan Greer, director of transportation and infrastructure policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "Our whole focus with this (report) is just to say 10 to 12 years from now what do we want Canada to look like, what do we want to be some of the real key problems that we’ve solved?
"We thought it would be interesting and useful to draw a picture of what we see as some of the key issues that they can really tackle through their programs."
Canada is at the beginning of a decade-long federal infrastructure investment plan and while the first phase included a few billion dollars doled out to provinces and municipalities for repairs, the government is now in the process of planning phase two which is a larger chunk of funding.
"The political impulse with infrastructure programs is often around the output — who gets how much money," explained Greer. "We’re hopeful that the governments can dial in on that so it becomes less on how much you spend and more about what you get out of it."
The report outlines several industry-related problems in Canada that strategic public-private infrastructure investment can help solve. While they are not the only challenges, they are important economic issues that demand federal focus to better prepare Canada for economic, environmental and technological changes ahead, the report states.
"The one which the report is named after is congestion in Canada’s largest cities with the reference that commuters in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are spending 88 million hours of extra time stuck in traffic every year because of traffic bottlenecks in those cities which nets out to over 10,000 years of wasted time," said Greer.
In terms of facilitating trade through gateways and corridors, the report found there is insufficient co-ordination of public-private trade-enabling infrastructure investment in Canada’s vital Asia-Pacific transportation networks. It also found enhancements are needed for the Quebec-Ontario Continental Trade Corridor.