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Infrastructure investment, training programs key to continued growth

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March 28, 2013 by Ontario General Contractors

The Ontario General Contractors Association is pleased to see the federal government’s continued investment in infrastructure and commitment to improve labour market training across the country, as revealed in the recent federal budget.

“OGCA has always been a strong proponent of sustained and planned investment in Canada’s vital infrastructure,” says OGCA president Clive Thurston. “It is critical to Ontario’s long-term economic growth. The investments announced in the federal budget will help governments across Ontario continue the process of infrastructure renewal and help reduce the growing infrastructure deficit.”

The federal budget document committed $70 billion for infrastructure construction over the next 10 years. This includes $47 billion for the new Building Canada Plan, $7 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure construction on First Nations lands and $10 billion to improve federal buildings and infrastructure assets. Combined, these investments will help ensure fluidity and predictability, while guaranteeing the progress of the past seven years is not undermined by funding gaps created between programs.

OGCA was also pleased with the government’s focus on improve labour market training. Canada’s construction industry will need to attract hundreds of thousands of new workers by 2020 in order to keep pace with retirements and increased demand.

“Ontario alone is facing a huge skilled-labour shortage, with an estimated 100,000 new tradespeople needed in the next 10 years,” notes Thurston. “With construction demand and industry retirements expected to rise throughout the decade, there is no time to waste. We need appropriate training programs and employer incentives put place sooner rather than later.”

OGCA was also pleased to see measures designed to reduce the overall tax burden on small business, as well as support for the promotion of Canadian Free Trade Zones, border facilitation initiatives and support for the harmonization of apprenticeship standards across Canada. While the extension of the accelerated capital cost allowance for new investments in machinery and equipment is positive, OGCA is disappointed that these measures were not extended to include heavy mobile equipment and machinery key to the construction sector.