Canada’s construction industry is demanding clarity from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on future investment in new road infrastructure after comments made in February by Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.

While Guilbeault explained that support to provinces for maintenance will continue, he also said existing road infrastructure “is perfectly adequate to respond to the needs we have.”

Canada is dealing with an acute housing crisis. The government is asking our industry to build 5.8 million new homes but is overlooking the investment needed to support these homes and communities.

A report by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimates that it will require $107,000 in public investments per new housing unit. This amounts to a total of $620 billion in public funding needed – an additional $375 billion beyond the current planned budget.

“These new communities need new roads. People need to be connected to their jobs, their schools, and their hospitals,” said Mary Van Buren, president of the Canadian Construction Association. “A growing population has growing demands. We not only need the road networks to support their movement; we also need to shore up our trade infrastructure, which includes roads, bridges and highways.”

Canada has been under-investing in trade-enabling infrastructure for 15 years, as evidenced by the drop from 10th to 32nd in terms of the World Economic Forum’s global trade infrastructure ranking. Without continued investment in critical infrastructure, as recommended by the National Supply Chain Task Force, including trade-enabling infrastructure, Canada will fail to harness trade with its international partners for its economic success.

Canada needs the federal government to partner with industry and work with municipal and provincial governments to build a strong foundation for a stronger country.

For more information, read CCA’s recommendations to government in advance of its 2024 Federal Budget.