VAUGHAN, ONT. — Ontario construction stakeholders assembled for a recent podcast discussion agreed that all three levels of government must maintain their commitment to infrastructure spending even in the face of declining tax revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The podcast, billed as Infrastructure Beyond Investment and presented by the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO), features RCCAO executive director Andy Manahan, Paul Smetanin, president of the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), and Peter Smith, executive director of the Heavy Construction Association of Toronto.
It’s the fifth instalment in a nine-part series called Conversations About Construction.
“Our view is that infrastructure is really important from a long-term, society-building perspective,” said Manahan. “So even though some people might say we’re getting into this telework environment and we won’t need offices in the future, we still think we need to keep our eye on the ball and that infrastructure is something that we need to develop for the long term.”
Smetanin said it’s difficult to predict exactly what will happen going forward, but a key takeaway of a report that CANCEA did for the RCCAO indicated that even in the midst of scarce resources it’s important to maintain investments in infrastructure. Otherwise, the crisis could have generational impacts.
CANCEA’s report, titled Navigating the COVID-19 Socio-economic Shock: How Infrastructure Investments Will Facilitate Future Growth in Ontario, warns that employment and tax revenues will take a major hit over the next decade unless governments work together to maintain pre-COVID-19 infrastructure investments.
The podcasts are hosted by Dave Trafford, a broadcaster on Newstalk 1010 in Toronto. Four more podcasts are scheduled to be released on Mondays over the coming weeks.
The Daily Commercial News covered the findings of the report, to read more click here.