While yesterday’s budget announcement included new cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (the department will lose $89 million in 2013-14), the federal government is promising long-term funding for infrastructure through its new Building Canada plan.
New infrastructure investments, revealed Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, will focus on projects that stimulate economic growth, and are designed to capitalize on innovative approaches, such as public-private partnerships (P3s).
The new Building Canada plan includes over $53 billion in investments, including over $47 billion in new funding over 10 years, starting in 2014–15. The funding will be delivered through three key funds:
- The Community Improvement Fund, consisting of the Gas Tax Fund and the incremental Goods and Services Tax Rebate for Municipalities, will provide over $32 billion to municipalities for projects such as roads, public transit and recreational facilities, and other community infrastructure. Gas Tax Fund payments will be indexed at 2 per cent per year starting in 2014–15, with increases to be applied in $100-million increments.
- The new Building Canada Fund will provide $14 billion to support major economic projects of national, regional and local significance across the country.
- The renewed P3 Canada Fund will provide $1.25 billion to continue to support innovative ways to build infrastructure projects faster and provide better value for Canadian taxpayers through public-private partnerships.
An additional $6 billion will be provided to provinces, territories and municipalities under current infrastructure programs in 2014–15 and beyond. In addition, the Government will make significant investments in First Nations infrastructure and in federal infrastructure assets. Overall federal infrastructure funding will total $70 billion over 10 years. This will ensure that Canada’s public infrastructure is world-class and a contributor to job creation, economic growth and productivity for years to come.
Karen Leibovici, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, says that the organization is pleased that the government has chosen to move communities forward even as it meets immediate fiscal challenges.
“We are particularly pleased with the government’s decision to review the effectiveness of its infrastructure plan within five years,” said Leibovici in a release. “This will be an opportunity to take stock of how effectively the plan addresses key infrastructure gaps, notably in public transit and wastewater treatment.