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Ministers hold productive discussions on infrastructure

By ReNew Canada 08:59AM September 25, 2017

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The Government of Canada convened the second federal, provincial, and territorial meeting of ministers responsible for infrastructure. Federal minister of infrastructure and communities Amarjeet Sohi and Ontario minister of infrastructure Bob Chiarelli co-hosted the meeting.

The ministers began the conversation by sharing some of the initial results from Phase 1 of the Government of Canada’s Investing in Canada plan. Budget 2016 announced accelerated federal investments to provide short-term funding for the rehabilitation, repair, and modernization of existing infrastructure with three targeted streams of funding: public transit infrastructure, green infrastructure, and social infrastructure. By August 2017, Infrastructure Canada had approved over 3,100 projects under two funds: the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund and the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.

The meeting focused on sharing lessons learned from Phase 1 and discussions on how to move forward towards signing new bilateral agreements to help support economic, social, and environmental outcomes important for our communities, and for Canadians.

The ministers shared their views on future infrastructure investment approaches to better maximize outcomes in their jurisdictions. Ministers also agreed on the importance of flexibility to ensure federal infrastructure funding supports regional/local economic and social priorities. As part of the meeting, representatives of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities provided the municipal perspective on long term infrastructure funding.

“The first phase of the Investing in Canada plan is already at work in our communities—supporting vital repairs to our aging pipes and roads, helping communities improve social housing, and allowing transit organizations to replace or repair their fleet,” Sohi said. “We have been collaborating with provinces, territories, municipalities and other partners to design a long-term plan that offers them predictable and significant funding because we recognize that each region and every community is faced with unique infrastructure opportunities, challenges, and capacities.”

The Government of Canada will invest more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities:

  • $25.3 billion of this funding will support public transit projects, including $5 billion that will be available for investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank;
  • $21.9 billion of this funding will support green infrastructure projects, including $5 billion that will be available for investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank;
  • $21.9 billion of this funding will support social infrastructure in Canadian communities;
  • More than $10.1 billion of this funding will support trade and transportation projects, including $5 billion that will be available for investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank;
  • $2 billion of this funding will support infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities like facilities to support food security, local access roads and enhanced broadband connectivity. In addition, the $400 million Arctic Energy Fund will be delivered under this stream, to advance energy security in the territories; and
  • $4 billion of this funding will support infrastructure projects in Indigenous communities.

The ministers had productive discussions and Minister Sohi expressed confidence that the new agreements will be finalized in the coming months.

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