OTTAWA, Dec. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - One of the most critical challenges facing
Canada is invisible. It's the steady deterioration of the public
infrastructure - roads, water mains, sewers, bridges - that allow
people to do business and live well. Confronting the major costs
facing governments at all levels will test the foresight and
cooperation of political leaders and officials.
"Nobody cuts a ribbon when a new sewer pipe is installed. It's just not
a dramatic moment," said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the
Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "But, thousands of Canadians idling in
their cars because of traffic congestion, or bridge delays, can tell us
what investments in infrastructure can mean in quality of life and
In a report released today, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce argues that Canada needs a long-term,
predictable, flexible and strategic infrastructure investment strategy.
This strategy must include targeted investments in Canada's major
economic hubs, gateways and public transit systems.
There is an indisputable strong link between investment in the core
public infrastructure of roads, transit and utilities and productivity
performance in all sectors of the Canadian economy. Equally clear are
the consequences of underinvestment.
"The success and competitiveness of Canadian business depends on modern
and efficient infrastructure," said Beatty. "Fortunately, we are
starting to see renewed attention to the vital importance of our core
public infrastructure. The challenge the nation faces now is to ensure
current infrastructure investment levels are not viewed as a one-off
contribution to recession fighting but rather as the start of a new
sustained level of investment."
For the past two years, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has listed
inadequate investment in our public infrastructure as one of the top 10 barriers to Canadian competitiveness. Bringing infrastructure in Canada back to the level needed to support
prosperity will not be easy. It will require an ongoing commitment by
all levels of government and active engagement with private sector
stakeholders. We have to change the dialogue from "catch-up"
investments or "economic recovery" to investing in our competitiveness
as a country.
"A strategic vision, along with a public dialogue that explains the
importance of effective infrastructure to economic growth, will set the
stage for public acceptance of the need for these higher levels of
investment," concluded Beatty.
Our partners agree:
"The chronic under-investment in Canada's water systems, roads and
transportation systems, electrical grid and other public infrastructure
has dire repercussions for our quality of life, our economy and our national competitiveness," said Michael Bernstein,
President and Chief Executive Officer, Capstone Infrastructure Corporation. "Canada urgently needs a long-term infrastructure investment strategy
to prevent further decay and to prioritize and plan for the future.
This report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce presents concrete steps
to improve how we manage, fund and deliver the critical infrastructure
Canadians depend on."
"The need to rebuild and properly maintain our critical public
infrastructure is not an option." said Michael Atkinson, president of
the Canadian Construction Association, "It is an absolute necessity if Canada wants to ensure its future
economic prosperity, its competitive standing in an increasingly
competitive global marketplace, and to retain its admired quality of
life. CCA supports many of the recommendations made in this report, and
we look forward to working with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and
other likeminded stakeholders to ensure that adequate and sustained
infrastructure funding is a key public policy priority for all levels
of government in Canada."
"As the world's only manufacturer of planes and train focused on
creating the most advanced mobility solutions, we see a clear linkage
between public infrastructure and productivity," says Pierre Pyun,
Vice-President of Government Affairs for Bombardier Inc. "Modern and efficient infrastructure is critical to economic
competitiveness, sustainability and quality of life. We therefore
support the recommendations offered by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
in its recently published report, The Foundation of a Competitive Canada: The Need for Strategic
Infrastructure Investment, for it offers a compelling roadmap for the first steps towards
effective infrastructure investment in Canada."
"All levels of government have a responsibility to support long-term
investments in public infrastructure," says Kim Allen, FEC, P.Eng.,
Chief Executive Officer of Engineers Canada. "Owners must be encouraged to build and maintain infrastructure in
ways that enable them to withstand whatever challenges users, the
climate or time can throw at them."
"Marine pilots conduct commercial vessels in and out of the country's
ports and on the waters vital to Canadian shipping. We have a first
hand appreciation of the key role that public infrastructure plays in
facilitating growth and we believe that sustained investment is
essential to maintain a safe marine transportation system and a
competitive economy. We appreciate the leadership of the Canadian
Chamber of Commerce on this issue and welcome its initiative to bring
in-depth focus to it" said Simon Pelletier, President of the Canadian Marine Pilots' Association.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between
business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and
decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families
across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and
boards of trade, representing some 200,000 businesses of all sizes in
all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are
available at Chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.
SOURCE: Canadian Chamber of Commerce
For further information:
Émilie S. Potvin
Director, Public Affairs & Media Relations
Office: 613.238.4000 (231)