Federal Budget 2018 Ignores Economic Fundamentals

Ottawa (February 27, 2018) – While Federal Budget 2018 includes new initiatives to help build Canada’s skilled construction workforce, it’s troubling that the focus has shifted away from infrastructure investment and natural resource development, according to the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA).

“Given Canada’s infrastructure deficit and lagging natural resource sector, investing in these two pillars of our economy should be a priority, not an option,” said Paul de Jong, President of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada. “Without these needed investments, we question how any economic plan could succeed in bringing about greater prosperity for Canadians.”

Budget 2018 delays the allocation of $5.7 billion in infrastructure funding to 2019 and makes no mention of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which was supposed to start approving projects by the end of this year. The budget reflects an overall policy agenda that PCA believes is reason for concern, including:

• A fiscal framework built on budget deficits and long term debt;
• Unproven capacity and commitment to major project execution;
• Questionable commitment to small business.

PCA does welcome several new policy initiatives in the budget aimed at attracting underrepresented groups to the skilled trades, including women and Indigenous people, as well as the introduction of stronger compliance measures to protect temporary foreign workers. However, much more is required for long-term success.

“Our concern is that any short-term initiatives to build workforce capacity cannot be sustained when basic economic fundamentals are ignored,” added de Jong.

About the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)

With offices in BC, Alberta and Ontario, PCA is the voice of progressive unionized employers in Canada’s construction industry. Our member companies are responsible for 40 percent of energy and natural resource construction projects in British Columbia and Alberta and are leaders in infrastructure construction across Canada. PCA member companies employ more than 25,000 skilled construction workers in Canada, represented primarily by CLAC.

For further information, contact:
Danna O’Brien, Danna@obriencommunications.ca 416-500-0699