The Canadian Construction Association has submitted its recommendations for the federal government’s National Infrastructure Assessment, highlighting the need for Ottawa to concentrate on long-term strategies and investment in infrastructure.
The submission notes that only carefully planned investment programs that transcend political terms of office and aspirations will return to government treasuries – and the national interest at large – the kind of benefits that are possible.
The submission is one of many coming from business, industry and public policy think-tanks that stress Canada’s opportunities – and perils – in planning for nation-building infrastructure investments.
The CCA report makes three important, thematic recommendations:
- Canada must develop a long-term vision guided by an independent, apolitical, Canadian Strategic Infrastructure Council. Such agencies exist in other jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom
- The funding allocation model must change from intense scrutiny of one-off projects identified by provinces, municipalities, or Indigenous communities, to a robust, longer-term asset management plan. Instead, the federal government should be guided by the objectives established by the independent Council and the outcomes identified in these asset plans, and reserve its focus on details for national projects; and
- Adopt a collaborative and agile approach to public procurement, which will accelerate the benefits to be gained from infrastructure investment
The CCA submission also notes:
- The federal government should fund provincial and municipal asset plans – not individual projects – in line with the Council’s developed vision and objectives;
- To ensure accountability, there should be a parallel transparent review process (a) between the Council and the federal government, and (b) between the federal government and provinces/municipalities; and
- For federal government owned and directed initiatives, new collaborative models should be researched and explored. For example, not just relying on low-cost bid, or P3s