Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the Upcoming Federal Budget

Carlo Dade, Director, Trade & Investment Centre, Canada West Foundation and John Law, Senior Fellow, Canada West Foundation, President, Lawmark International
October 2022

Summary Rationale & Recommendations 

Canada’s prospects for sustained economic growth, post-pandemic job creation, diversified foreign trade into the Indo-Pacific region and increased government revenues are all heavily dependent upon the competitiveness of our trade-based economy which is enabled by the country’s transportation infrastructure. Annually, Canada’s ports, roads, railways, airports and waterways facilitate the movement of products and services in and out of the country that account for 65 per cent of Canada’s national income.

This economic return from investing in transportation infrastructure effectively pays for other categories of infrastructure including healthcare, social and green infrastructure. It is not a question of one asset case competing for attention and resources against others. In the case of trade infrastructure, which move products and people to markets, it is the case of one asset class enabling the sustainable funding of other types of infrastructure. To realize these benefits, and to initiate a reversal of the decade-long trend that has seen Canada’s transportation infrastructure fall from a top 10 world ranking to 32nd, the Canada West Foundation respectfully proposes two recommendations for Budget 2023.

Recommendation 01 

  • That in Budget 2023 government announce a commitment to produce a National Infrastructure Plan by spring 2024.
  • That creation of this National Infrastructure Plan builds on the federal government’s current work on a National Infrastructure Assessment while building upon international best practice. 
  • That Budget 2023 provide multi-year financial support to formally implement the National Infrastructure Assessment and create a National Infrastructure Plan as part of the process.
  • That the Plan and Assessment incorporate key recommendations from the federal government’s recent National Supply Chain Task Force Report. 

Recommendation 02 

  • That the government proportionally increase funding for trade infrastructure, defined as the assets and systems that move factors of production, goods, people, money and information for international and domestic trade, in the National Trade Corridor Fund (NTCF) to begin to match federal funding levels already provided to other infrastructure classes. 
  • That the government immediately increase to $10 billion, from the current level of $2 billion, the National Trade Corridor Fund (NTCF) in order to accommodate a new round of trade-enhancing infrastructure investments. This will signal a move toward eventual proportionality with the $20B of incremental new funding provided in the government’s first term for each of social, green and transit infrastructure.

Read the submission