The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) is very pleased to see the federal government follow through on the second year of the infrastructure stimulus measures from the Economic Action Plan. “The federal government has recognized the importance of infrastructure and maintained its investment in development and renewal. The much needed spending announced last year provided stimulus to the Canadian economy through investments in infrastructure, college infrastructure, green technology, as well as new incentives to help in retraining Canada’s unemployed,” said Michael Atkinson, President of the Canadian Construction Association.
The infrastructure programs in Budget 2009 have been instrumental in the rise of employment in Canada’s construction industry since August. These important investments made by federal, provincial and municipal governments have not only been a necessary source of stimulus, but are long-overdue investments in the modernization of our nation’s infrastructure which will be critical to our future global competitiveness.
However, the industry is concerned with the impact an abrupt withdrawal of funding from these stimulus programs would have on construction employment and economic activity.
“We believe a tapered withdrawal of stimulus funding poses less of a threat to Canada’s economic recovery than the currently proposed deadline on these programs. Canada needs to continue to invest in its public infrastructure not simply because it stimulates the economy in the short term but because it is an investment in the very foundation of our Nation’s future that ensures Canada’s ability to remain competitive on the international stage, increase productivity, and to build upon our economic and social prosperity,” said Atkinson.
While CCA is pleased to see the Employment Insurance premiums frozen for 2010, we are concerned about the future impact significant increases in EI premiums will have on employment moving forward.
Canada’s construction industry employs close to 1.2 million men and women, and accounts for approximately six per cent of Canada’s annual GDP. It buys goods and services in every region of the country and in every sector of the economy. As such, any significant increase in construction activity produces thousands of spin-off jobs in other sectors — steel, engineering, forestry, autos, banking, and retail — which is why it remains the barometer of economic health.
The Canadian Construction Association is the voice of the national non-residential construction industry. It represents over 17,000 members in an integrated structure of some 70 local and provincial construction associations.