2023 Fall Economic Statement lacks details says CCA

two cranes operator with the skyline of toronto in the distance

The Government of Canada’s recent Fall Economic Statement points to positive change, but a lack of details makes the construction industry wary, according to the Canadian Construction Association (CCA).

The Fall Economic Statement focused on housing investment, but fell short in other areas, the CCA explained, including measures to strengthen Canada’s trade-enabling infrastructure. About two-thirds of Canada’s GDP is from trade, yet the Economic Statement remained silent on bolstering Canada’s trade network which pays for the social infrastructure we enjoy.

The CCA applauded the announcement to leverage the Canada Infrastructure Bank to support more housing, noting the move finally recognizes the fact that more homes cannot be built without the essential housing-enabling infrastructure to support it. The construction industry has repeatedly emphasized this need to all levels of government. As well, the association notes details on the necessary investments are missing.

“The industry is expecting to see a long-term, comprehensive infrastructure investment plan in the federal government’s 2024 Budget,” the CCA said in a news release.

The association also questioned the government’s approach to addressing the labour shortage in construction.

“The industry is encouraged that the federal government recognizes the workforce shortage yet a focus on internal labour mobility rather than more progressive policy changes to immigration are not the answer,” the CCA said in a news release.

“Free mobility within Canada is simply not an adequate solution to address the workforce shortage when collectively we do not have enough workers coast to coast. This is why the industry is calling on the government to help address the workforce shortage by overhauling immigration to attract labour from abroad.

Finally, the CCA noted the Economic Statement’s commitment to getting major projects built faster is positive. However, implementation will rely in part on the government’s willingness to review and modernize their procurement practices.

“This includes considering alternative delivery models and better balancing risk between owners and contractors,” the association said.

“The Canadian construction industry will continue to partner with government to build a strong foundation for a stronger Canada.”