Like most countries around the world, Canada has a significant infrastructure deficit. Hospitals, highways, bridges, airports, ports, terminals and community infrastructure all suffer from a lack of maintenance, upgrades, and development. This collective, national gap is estimated to be as high as $570 billion. Although the exact scale of the challenge may be up for debate, the fact remains serious investment is needed in Canadian infrastructure.
However, governments are stepping up to the plate. At all levels in Canada, governments have prioritized infrastructure spending and multi-year plans are in place and moving forward. Together they aim to make cities more livable, to provide economic opportunities for remote communities, to access natural resources, to enable trade, and ultimately to make Canada more competitive, more connected, more economically integrated on the international stage.
Canada is leading the way on infrastructure. Unprecedented levels of investment are promised, and we are seeing an ambitious and growing list of projects in the pipeline.
But how can we invest smartly to ensure that the promised funds have the biggest possible impact? How do we prepare for a future of technological and environmental disruption?
To answer these questions, we need to look at the approach Canada is taking to prioritizing, planning, purchasing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructure.
Small changes in what and how we consider these issues can potentially have very large impacts and provide course corrections. New technologies can provide modest solutions and improvements or be totally game changing in approach. The spectrum is broad. Clearly, we need to take a step back and reconsider the way we have undertaken infrastructure development to date. There are numerous examples of where we are doing things well, but these must provide lessons to develop approaches elsewhere – in other projects, contexts, and jurisdictions.
If we spend time looking at how we do things and make smart changes; these substantial investments have the potential to transform Canada.
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The Infrastructure Lab provides a platform for the infrastructure community and engaged stakeholders to share their innovative approaches to infrastructure’s most complex and everyday challenges. The Infrastructure Lab partners with other organizations to explore the root causes of the challenges Canada faces and works to identify and promote clear and actionable solutions.
These challenges are rarely one dimensional. We engage all stakeholders and facets of these issues to ensure that we fully understand the nature of the challenges posed and that the associated solutions are actionable in the real world and in the local context. This can involve a combination of:
About Global Public Affairs:
The Infrastructure Lab was set up by Global Public Affairs to provide a collaborative platform to put forward solutions. Global Public Affairs is the largest independent public affairs firm in Canada. We have one of the most comprehensive footprints in the country and a broad international network. We work with infrastructure companies and associations to provide research, communications, government relations, stakeholder engagement, and issues management support.