Canada’s political landscape has changed, but the priorities of equipment distributors remain the same. Federal, provincial and municipal governments of all stripes will need to work together to ensure infrastructure projects continue to be delivered. The new government will also have to work with international partners on trade and with the provinces to remove internal barriers to the flow of goods, services, and even skilled tradespeople that the heavy equipment sector relies on.
Throughout the federal election campaign, there was a growing sentiment that the parties needed to get tough on climate change. It was also clear that no matter who won, it would be important that Canada’s mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate change would drive economic growth. We anticipate a host of steps in the months ahead that will be driven by infrastructure. AED will be sending a message to newly elected MPs, cabinet ministers and senior civil servants in Ottawa to implement a national plan that grows the economy, they’ll also need to make it easier for small businesses like yours to operate.
One of the critical challenges of the years ahead will be the human resources demand placed on dealers. More federal money will be flowing to projects. Provinces and cities will be investing in urban transit infrastructure and the grids and systems that take advantage of cleaner forms of energy. All of this will put heightened demand on both new and used equipment, whether it is purchased or rented, and will also affect dealers’ staffing needs.
Dealers know that an ability to service equipment is vital to being able to rent or sell their stock, whether it’s attachments, front-end loaders, directional drills or large trucks. Ensuring the right workers with the right skills are in place to repair and fit equipment will be crucial to industrywide success over the coming years.
There is anticipation that the federal government and the provinces will be working on making labor mobility and certification easier, to allow for faster transitions as the business cycle heats up in different parts of the country. The provincial government in Ontario is expected to launch a significant skill development promotional campaign, with advertising that pushes more people to choose careers in the skilled trades, including all varieties of equipment technician.
Over the coming months, AED will position itself in Canada as a leading voice in the skilled trades development dialogue. We will take a business-centered approach and be a partner that governments at the federal and provincial levels can rely on. We will do so by providing input and insight into their plans to get more Canadians working in the trades that build this country.
We will also re-emphasize our pre-budget recommendations. Advocacy in Ottawa will focus on getting the federal government to follow Ontario’s lead in an awareness campaign for more careers in the skilled trades, including those for diesel service technicians. We will make a strong case for a thorough study of the benefits of 100% depreciation of new and used equipment to ensure Canada can keep pace with the U.S. on capital investment. Lastly, we will continue to advocate for predictable and consistent year-over-year funding for federal infrastructure projects. This year has shown precisely why four-year cycles tied to the party in power are not sufficient for businesses trying to make long-term decisions.