The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released Building Better: Setting the 2017 Ontario Infrastructure Plan up for success, a report calling on the Ontario Government to implement key recommendations in its imminent Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP) that will help ensure accountable planning and building resilient, adaptable infrastructure for the future.
With relatively stagnant infrastructure investment since the 1970s, the province of Ontario currently faces a significant infrastructure gap, where it would need an estimated $19 billion to improve current infrastructure alone. The gap exists because governments have not invested in upholding original infrastructure and Ontario’s harsher climate has contributed to the deterioration of the province’s infrastructure.
“Ontario needs to invest in significant infrastructure spending to fill the current gap, and to ensure Ontario is equipped for the future; a future that has very different infrastructure needs from the past,” said Richard Koroscil, interim president and CEO at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “To succeed in the increasingly technology-driven economy, we must ensure that infrastructure dollars are spent on innovative and forward-looking projects that will grow Ontario’s capacity to do business and grow our economy.”
The Government’s LTIP is expected to be released this fall with stakeholders greatly anticipating its release. The OCC is contributing to the development of the LTIP by recommending that:
• While the Government has made significant infrastructure investments, it should bring fresh accountability methods around how infrastructure dollars are spent to ensure spending and planning are transparent;
• Governments of all levels should confront challenges of the 21st century by ensuring planning considers how we can build infrastructure that is resilient and adaptable and deals with variables such as climate change; and that,
• The Long-Term Infrastructure Plan must be strategic, robust, and based on long-term thinking.
“We commend the Government of Ontario for their impressive allotment of infrastructure funds; this investment in our province’s infrastructure has the potential to yield tremendous benefits for all Ontarians,” said Koroscil. “To ensure the Ontario government’s investments do not suffer the same fate as those of federal government, where significant funds have been committed but few projects identified, we hope the Government of Ontario will implement our recommendations, to better strengthen the province’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan.”
Research shows that investment in infrastructure, such as roads, transportation, communication, utilities and more, have resulted in lowered business costs and increased labour productivity. It is estimated that for every $1 billion in infrastructure spending, 16,700 jobs are supported for one year and the GDP sees a $1.14 billion increase.