Ontario Construction News staff writer
The federal budget released Mar. 28 fell short of creating the right conditions to secure economic growth and stability through concrete action on workforce capacity building, fair procurement, and trade-enabling infrastructure investment, says the Canadian Construction Association (CCA).
“The government needs to create a more supportive environment to alleviate the labour choke points that risk crippling Canada’s economic growth,” says Mary Van Buren, CCA president. “This includes changing an outdated immigration point system and working with provinces to ensure better skills matching.”
Canada’s construction industry is ready to become a leader in the transition to a net-zero economy and is optimistic about the promised investments in green building and innovation, including the clean technologies and clean hydrogen tax credits, Van Buren said. However, “the restrictive labour conditions attached to these incentives effectively discriminate against an important segment of the Canadian workforce and, in particular, small and medium-sized companies.
“Equally concerning is that these restrictions were announced without proper consultation of industry stakeholders.”
The construction industry is also frustrated and disappointed by the lack of movement on the national infrastructure assessment, an initiative that was announced in Budget 2021. A long-term infrastructure plan is needed to address aging infrastructure, develop a trade corridor that strengthens supply chains, and build a steady pipeline of skilled and talented workers.
CCA concludes that budget 2023 “fails to recognize that the construction industry is a key player in achieving Canada’s net-zero targets, providing rewarding employment opportunities and building the infrastructure that Canadians rely on every day.”
For more information read CCA’s pre-budget submission.