The 2023 Fall Economic Statement, released near the end of November, focused heavily on necessary housing investment, but fell short in other important areas including measures to shore up Canada’s trade-enabling infrastructure. Approximately two-thirds of Canada’s GDP is from trade, yet the statement remained silent on bolstering Canada’s trade network which pays for the social infrastructure Saskatchewan enjoys.

The announcement to leverage the Canada Infrastructure Bank to support more housing may finally recognize the fact that more homes cannot be built without the essential housing-enabling infrastructure to support it – a position the industry has repeatedly emphasized to all orders of government. Details on these necessary investments are missing. The industry is expecting to see a long-term, comprehensive infrastructure investment plan in the federal government’s 2024 Budget.

The industry is encouraged that the federal government recognizes the workforce shortage yet a focus on internal labour mobility rather than more progressive policy changes to immigration are not the answer. Free mobility within Canada is simply not an adequate solution to address the workforce shortage when collectively Canada does not have enough workers coast to coast. This is why the industry is calling on the government to help address the workforce shortage by overhauling immigration to attract labour from abroad.

Finally, while the commitment to getting major projects built faster is positive, implementation will rely in part on the government’s willingness to review and modernize their procurement practices. This includes considering alternative delivery models and better balancing risk between owners and contractors.

The Canadian construction industry will continue to partner with government to build a strong foundation for a stronger Canada.