The leaders of Canada’s cement and concrete industries issued a joint declaration calling on the federal government to prioritize construction and strategic infrastructure spending to help boost Canada’s economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The declaration is outlined in a letter to Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, as well as the deputy prime minister and several federal ministers. It is signed by executives from the Cement Association of Canada, St Marys Cement, Lafarge Canada, CRH Canada Group, Lehigh Hanson Materials Canada, Lehigh Hanson Northeast Region and McInnis Cement.
“A successful economic recovery will require a commitment to use time-sensitive infrastructure spending,” said Michael McSweeney, president and CEO of the Cement Association of Canada. “We have a very short construction season in Canada and municipalities have lost much of their financial capacity to fund important infrastructure projects this year. We need the federal government to help municipalities get local community infrastructure projects going to boost economic activity and public confidence.”
The industry’s “Building a Successful Economic Recovery in Canada” declaration was developed to help shape the federal government’s COVID-19 recovery plan. It highlights the weakened financial state of Canada’s municipalities and the need for the federal government to absorb a greater share of the cost of infrastructure projects in communities across Canada.
The seven-point declaration calls on the government to:
1. Put the construction sector at the core of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
2. Prioritize large-scale infrastructure projects.
3. De-risk provincial and municipal projects by ensuring federal dollars are first into projects.
4. Boost investment in municipal State of Good Repair (SOGR) projects.
5. Optimize existing infrastructure programs that already have approved projects and funding.
6. Accelerate the transfer of historic levels of funding under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan.
7. Invest in climate action and the continued decarbonization of energy-intensive industries such as cement.
In 2019, the building materials and construction industries contributed $157 billion in economic activity representing 7.9% of Canada’s overall GDP.
“The cement and concrete industry is responsible for the employment of over 158,000 Canadians and annual economic activity in excess of $76 billion,” added McSweeney. “Our products are local and are produced in virtually every community across the country. We are in a great position to give Canada’s economy an economic boost and help carry on the good work of building a more resilient country.”