Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced the 2014 federal budget in Parliament on Tuesday. He later described the budget as “boring” while appearing before the press, referring to a lack of “flashy spending.”
Budget 2014 focuses on two key themes: jobs and the economy, especially skills development, infrastructure, and manufacturing, and balancing the budget for 2015-2016.
Crucial to the infrastructure sector, the budget will emphasize Ottawa’s commitment to major infrastructure projects, such as bridges, transit, and sewers. The Building Canada plan, which expires this year, will be renewed in 2015 in accordance with last year’s budget. The government will commit $210 million to the fund in 2015 and 2016, and $780 million in 2017.
Included in the budget are a number of water-related proposals and projects.
In the wake of violent flooding in Calgary and Toronto during summer 2013, “Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to provide $200 million over five years, starting in 2015-16, to better protect Canadians and their homes through a National Disaster Mitigation Program,” reads the budget. “This program will support investments in structural mitigation measures, such as infrastructure to control floods that can reduce the impact of severe natural disasters.”
The budget also touches on Canada’s lack of residential flood insurance coverage. “The Government will consult with the insurance industry, provinces and territories, and other stakeholders to explore options for a national approach to residential flood insurance in Canada and insurance issues arising from natural disasters more generally.”
Funds have also been allocated for First Nations communities. Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes $323.4 million over two years for the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan, in addition to disaster mitigation and emergency management programming on reserves, which will help to protect water infrastructure in First Nations communities.