Creating a vision for Canada’s infrastructure: Trade, communities and green

Close to 75 industry experts, from all sectors, firm sizes, and geographic regions across Canada, participated in a workshop facilitated by CCA president Mary Van Buren to further refine the priorities for infrastructure investment.

The workshop was the next step in advancing the development of a long-term vision for infrastructure and was held at CCA’s Annual Conference on March 9, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The report below, which summarizes the discussions, represents the opinions of our members who were in attendance.

Three important themes emerged on where Canada should prioritize its infrastructure investment. Participants concluded that investment strategies need to be aligned with the goal of strengthening Canada as the best place to work, invest and live by:

  1. Being an efficient, trusted domestic and global trading partner.
  2. Better integrating and connecting working and living communities.
  3. Being world leaders in the green economy.

Our economic future will hinge on enhancing trade-enabling infrastructure like transportation, telecommunications, and energy corridors. We need to ensure that our infrastructure investments are forward-looking in terms of addressing the need for resilience in the face of a changing climate and a long-term vision on international economy and trade.

As discussed in our response to the National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA), there are many competing and inherently political priorities (e.g., immediate vs long-term; hospitals vs bridges, East vs West, resource economy or green economy, developing a Western Trade Corridor or investing in mass transit in the Greater Toronto Area). Having an apolitical, independent advisory group would help ensure an appropriate level of scrutiny and oversight leading to evidence-based decision making.

Seven key findings are highlighted in the federal government’s Building Pathways to 2050: Moving Forward on the NIA, several of which align directly with our recommendations; including accelerating the flow of much needed infrastructure investment to communities and a national vision for the future guided by evidence-based and independent expert advice through the development of an independent, apolitical advisory council.

Canada’s economic recovery depends on its infrastructure. We need to ensure that our infrastructure investments address both our immediate and future needs. Building with resilience in the face of climate risks and enhancing our trade-enabling infrastructure will benefit all Canadians and position us for long-term growth.