• Silver Lining in the Summer Storm Clouds?

    July 4, 2018

    Silver Lining in the Summer Storm Clouds?

    There are some troubling indications that Canada may be losing ground, at least in the short-term, as a desired place to work and invest, particularly vis à vis the US.

    The Kinder Morgan project, which had passed all the regulatory requirements, was mired in politics, ultimately leading to the Government of Canada taking it over to ensure the steady flow of oil to tidewater.

    Trump’s unjustified tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum and Canada’s necessary retaliatory measures will impact the industry’s productivity - potentially delaying vital infrastructure projects and depriving communities of the related benefits.

    Finally, the tax situation in Canada, including the changes to small business owner rates - which the CCA lobbied against, is another example of negative pressure on entrepreneurialism.

    Taking a longer view, the future is still very bright.

    Investing in Canada’s infrastructure is critical for the continued development of the country and keeping pace with world-class economies.

    The Government of Canada’s Investing in Canada plan consists of $180B over 10 years.  We are very much supportive of this plan and advocated for it in our pre-budget submission.

    Phase I is largely done.  Infrastructure Canada has a great website where the progress of the spending can be tracked.

    There has been some slippage in the flow of funds for a variety of reasons: municipalities may not have been project ready; the tendering process may have taken longer than planned; the capacity of the industry is not available or is tied up with other projects. Unfortunately, this means that communities may not benefit as soon as hoped from the economic stimulus or the quality of life improvements that infrastructure investments provide.

    A more efficient system of getting infrastructure funding to projects would be helpful and CCA remains committed to working with the federal government and with provincial and local partnerships through our local associations.  The goal is to smooth out the boom and bust of funding, which creates higher costs, labour shortages during the boom, and limited opportunities for apprenticeship training during the busts.
    We made two proposals as part of our pre-budget submission, which have not yet been adopted. That said, we remain optimistic that we can work with the Government to improve this process over time.

    The Phase II framework agreements now in negotiation with the provinces include some aspects that are of concern to CCA: climate lens assessments and community employment benefits.

    The industry is very supportive of adopting innovative solutions, applying best practices in building and attracting a diverse and tech savvy workforce.  CCA’s vision is to “build a better Canada.”  In our five-year strategic plan, we have stated our commitment to driving real economic impact in Canada and becoming an employer of choice.
    CCA will continue to reach out to government, our partner associations and community groups to identify positive ways to advance opportunities for all Canadians who are motivated, trained and available to work in construction.

    Together, we can make construction a career of choice and Canada a great place to work and invest.

    Mary Van Buren

    Canadian Construction Association