Federal budget shifts focus from infrastructure, natural resources: PCA
Despite efforts to build Canada’s skilled construction workforce, Federal Budget 2018 does not prioritize infrastructure investment and natural resource development, according to the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA).
“Given Canada’s infrastructure deficit and lagging natural resource sector, investing in these two pillars of our economy should be a priority, not an option,” said Paul de Jong, president of PCA. “Without these needed investments, we question how any economic plan could succeed in bringing about greater prosperity for Canadians.”
Budget 2018 delays allocation of $5.7 billion in infrastructure funding to 2019 and does not mention the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which was to approve projects by the end of this year, stated PCA.
The association has also raised concerns about a fiscal framework built on budget deficits and long-term debt. Unproven capacity and commitment to major project execution and “questionable” commitment to small businesses were among other listed concerns.
“Our concern is that any short-term initiatives to build workforce capacity cannot be sustained when basic economic fundamentals are ignored,” said de Jong.
The association stated that it welcomes aspects of the policy aimed at attracting underrepresented groups to the skilled trades, including women and Indigenous people, as well as the introduction of stronger compliance measures to protect temporary foreign workers.