CCA Supportive of “stay the course” budget
February 18, 2014 by On-Site Magazine
The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) was encouraged by the continuing recognition in the Feb. 11 federal budget of the importance of infrastructure investment and prudent labour market development to Canada’s long-term economic prosperity.
“Sustained investment in infrastructure is critical to Canada’s long-term economic growth,” said Michael Atkinson, president of the Canadian Construction Association. “The additional federal commitments announced, together with the earlier announced 10-year $53 billion Building Canada Plan effective April 1, 2014, will help governments across Canada continue the process of infrastructure renewal and set Canada on the path to a more globally competitive economy.”
The budget announced an additional $1.3 billion over two years in strategic investments in public infrastructure and transportation services, including $470 million over two years for procurement and project delivery costs associated with the Windsor-Detroit International Crossing.
CCA was also pleased with the government’s focus on further measures to promote apprenticeship training and to assist in the implementation of the new Expression of Interest (EOI) economic immigration system.
Budget 2014 introduces a new interest-free Canada Apprentice Loans program for apprentices in Red Seal trades of up to $4,000 per training period to help defray costs associated with the technical training portion of their apprenticeships.
The new EOI system, expected to be based upon an existing Australian system, will likely see foreign-trained immigrants in high demand occupations given preference for permanent entry under existing economic immigration programs and will allow prospective applicants to pre-register on an online system that could also serve as an excellent recruitment tool for Canadian employers.
“The construction industry like many industries in Canada is facing significant skilled labour shortages that require both short and long-term solutions,” said Atkinson. “Incenting and assisting apprenticeship training speaks to the long-term, while adjusting immigration processes so that they are timelier and responsive to actual employer demands addresses both short and long-term needs.”