There is no debate that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted every Canadian industry one way or another. However, recent data has shown that while the construction sector has been able to rebound from the provincial lockdowns quickly, other industries, such as hospitality and tourism, haven’t. With the border between Canada and the United States still closed, and many planes still grounded, it will be months before the tourism industry is able to recover. The same goes for the hospitality industry, which can only improve when Canadians are once again comfortable visiting restaurants and bars.
The reality of which industry is faring better than others was highlighted in the federal government’s Economic and Fiscal Snapshot, which was tabled in early July by Minister of Finance Bill Morneau. The document clearly showed that the construction sector was nearing 100% pre-pandemic employment levels, while hospitality and tourism were still well below 50%. This reality has spurred conversations within the government about how the stimulus package will be constructed, including the possibility of taking away investments from infrastructure to support other industries.
As we know, though, investing in infrastructure is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy and support all Canadians and industries. In the short term, investing in infrastructure creates immediate economic activity and employment in the construction sector. Research shows that the return on investment of every dollar spent on public infrastructure is between $2.46 and $3.83.
Over the long term, it supports every Canadian who benefits from the infrastructure. According to the 2019 Canada Infrastructure Report Card, nearly 150,000 kilometers of roads are in poor or deplorable conditions, and more than 30% of public transit tracks will require investment in the next decade. Investments in roads, bridges, public transit, community centers, schools, trade corridors and more will spur economic activity and ensure economic growth over the long term. A new subway station will help a commuter get to work, a new school will support a child’s education, and a new bridge over the Canada-U.S. border will make trade more efficient.
In light of the discussions happening within government, Associated Equipment Distributors has begun speaking with other construction sector associations in Canada about forming a coalition. AED understands that the industry isn’t looking for a handout, but rather is looking to partner with federal and provincial governments to rebuild Canada’s economy. This coalition will allow the sector to have one voice to encourage federal and provincial governments to invest in infrastructure continuously. AED can only be as effective as its membership. We hope we can count on your support in making sure your local elected officials know that investing in infrastructure is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy.