Daily Commercial News
Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna made it clear during a recent address to engineers that the government will be using a tightly focused policy lens when it spends on infrastructure in future.
McKenna told members of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada (ACEC) during its annual general meeting, held virtually on Oct. 27, that every dollar spent on infrastructure must target such goals as fighting climate change and boosting inclusivity.
“We need to make sure every dollar spent has multiple benefits,” she said. “It’s about jobs in the short term and economic growth in the long term. It’s about tackling climate change and a more resilient future. And it is also about inclusivity, and that is an area where we need your support.”
McKenna urged engineers to “think hard” as they designed projects: “How do we get those multiple benefits? How do we get women not only into consulting engineering but also into construction, and broaden the diversity? There are huge opportunities for jobs.”
The Ottawa MP outlined the three pillars of federal government infrastructure spending: the 12-year, $180-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan (ICIP) is said to be directly intended to put sustainability at the forefront of project planning; the COVID-19 Resilience stream provides $3 billion in accelerated ICIP funding; and the new $10-billion Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) Growth Plan also contains a notable focus on green infrastructure.
The COVID resilience stream, McKenna admitted, would be slow off the mark in terms of providing immediate stimulus because the government is still working to secure revised ICIP agreements with some provinces and territories.
McKenna referred to a recent study indicating that every $10 billion spent on infrastructure creates 75,000 jobs.