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Federal government’s infrastructure program lacks planning, Senate committee finds
February 28, 2017

The federal government has not developed a strategic plan for the billions of dollars it intends to spend on infrastructure investments, which will impede parliamentarians’ ability to provide effective oversight.

In its Fall Economic Statement 2016, the government announced plans to allocate $186 billion for infrastructure investments over the next 10 years.

The Senate Committee on National Finance has been studying the design and delivery of the government’s infrastructure commitment and on Tuesday senators released a report arguing for a more coordinated and transparent approach.

The government, for instance, now has infrastructure support programs delivered by 31 different government organizations, all with different priorities. The committee believes this is inefficient and makes it difficult for Parliament to follow the money.

The report makes six recommendations including:

  • That the government develop a long-term national infrastructure strategy with clear priorities, concrete targets and specific performance measures.
  • That Infrastructure Canada be designated the sole federal infrastructure funding department and that it be the sole point of contact through which applicants can access federal funding.
  • That the government include trade infrastructure in its list of priorities; trade infrastructure is critically important to Canada’s export-based economy but it is not mentioned as a priority in the federal budget.

The government has said its goals are to create well-paying jobs and to deliver sustained economic growth. These recommendations will help the government achieve its aims most effectively.

Senators Percy Mockler, Larry Smith and Anne C. Cools present the committee's recommendations on infrastructure spending.

Senators Mockler, Smith and Cools call on the government to define a clear strategy for directing $186 billion in infrastructure spending.